Chronic Pain/Muscle Pain

Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts more than 12 weeks, often for months or even years. Chronic pain can arise as a side-effect from all sorts of conditions, as well as being a side-effect of treating those conditions (e.g. chemotherapy).

Muscle aches and pains are sometimes called “myalgia”, and are often caused by overexertion, injury or high amounts of tension in one particular muscle of the body. However, conditions like fibromyalgia, thyroid problems (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism), low levels of potassium (hypokalemia, which is also common in athletes who don’t replenish their minerals), flu or bacterial infections, use of drugs such as statins or angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and autoimmune conditions such as lupus may cause muscle pain.

SSRIs have in recent times proven themselves to be effective painkillers, due to alterations in the 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HT) found in chronic pain sufferers. Sadly, benzodiazepines and highly addictive opioids have often also been prescribed, leading to what many call the “opioid epidemic”, with opioid overdose quadrupling between 1999 and 2015. Costs of up to $78.5 billion are estimated when accounting for health care, lost productivity, criminal justice and substance abuse costs arising from the over-prescription of opioid painkillers.

Value of Medical Marijuana

Cannabis has been touted as a potential alternative to prescription opioids. Several surveys and studies have reported that cannabis may decrease pain of various types. Many patients have also stated a preference for cannabis over opioids. States with legalized cannabis show a decrease in opioid analgesic overdose mortality. The evidence suggesting that cannabis could be an effective painkiller and work as an adjunct to SSRIs is intriguing, to say the least, and a robust, country-wide medical marijuana program could well help reduce the personal, social and economic costs that addiction to prescription opioid-, barbiturate- and benzodiazepine- based painkillers bring with them.

Figuring out what types of cannabis and cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles work for specific people could well prove to be a breakthrough in pain management medications, and has the potential to greatly reduce the risk of death for thousands of patients every year.

Positives

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Negatives

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Treatments

According to our study, indica strains were used to replace painkillers, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, anxiolytics and anticonvulsants (all of which are medications that may control pain) more than any other type of cannabis – 37.88% of those surveyed used indica strains to replace these types of medications.

50.8% (2172)) of patients reported using cannabis to stop or reduce their need for painkillers. Using cannabis in place of painkillers is by far the most popular use for medical marijuana, according to our study. 69.8% of patients surveyed reported using medical marijuana to help beat or reduce pain. This is perhaps unsurprising, as opioids are often prescribed for physical pain of all types. Pain, like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and headaches, are also all common side-effects of other illnesses and medications, so it is not surprising that these turn out to be the sorts of health problems most people use medical marijuana for.

Linalool has not only anti-inflammatory properties, but analgesic properties as well, as it seems to exert an effect on opioid receptors. Both THC and CBD are allosteric modulators at mu- and delta- opioid receptors, which gives us a clue as to why cannabis is useful in combating pain.

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