South African Research Team Says Cannabis is ‘Very Promising’ as an Opioid Replacement
by Bethan Rose
A study on cannabis for medical conditions found that chronic pain was at the top of the list as the most common reason for cannabis consumption. The study found that 62.2% of 641,176 registered cannabis patients were using cannabis to alleviate their chronic pain. The same study also found that the numbers do not accurately represent the cannabis community since there are many more using cannabis for medical conditions but aren’t registered as cannabis patients. Cannabis has long been known to help alleviate chronic pain and improve quality of life but which strains offer the most benefits for chronic pain? Let’s find out.
The following strains are popular with medical marijuana patients and cannabis users who seek plant medicine for relieving chronic pain symptoms.
Note that some of these strains are CBD-dominant. CBD is popular for its anti-inflammatory effects and the promotion of relaxation. To learn more about how CBD helps with pain and medical conditions, read our CBD guide here.
Chronic pain is a condition characterized by pain lasting at least 3 months but can remain for longer. Chronic pain often presents as a result of a condition or illness and can significantly decrease quality of life. Chronic pain symptoms include joint pain, muscle aches, burning pain, fatigue, sleep problems, loss of stamina and flexibility as well as mood issues including depression, anxiety, and irritability.
Cannabis has been used to alleviate pain for many, many years now and that’s due to the fact that it’s more effective and less risky than many pharmaceutical medications. The sad reality is that individuals suffering from chronic pain usually rely on pharmaceuticals in order to maintain a resemblance of functional and quality living and what’s worse is that pain management pharmaceuticals are at high risk of leading to addiction. Fortunately, cannabis offers better benefits at less cost to the wallet and health.
Cannabis is able to alleviate chronic pain because of the plant’s cannabinoids’ unique ability to bind with the receptors of our endocannabinoid system located throughout the body. The peripheral nerves which locate pain in the body contain an abundance of receptors for cannabinoids and the cannabis plant cannabinoids (such as CBD, CBG, and THC) blocks experienced pain and can even reduce inflammation in the source of the pain. Simply put, cannabis can alleviate chronic pain due to: (1) the endocannabinoid receptors interaction with cannabis, (2) blocking the pain receptors, (3) addressing the source of pain as well as (4) alleviating symptoms of chronic pain which thus improves the quality of life without the risk of addiction nor adverse side effects such as nausea.
Pain is the body’s alarm system which signals that something is wrong. This is why chronic pain is often the result of an underlying condition, trauma, or illness. Conditions often accompanied by chronic pain include:
When deciding on what cannabis to purchase, it is important to seek out the correct cannabinoid profile in order to get the best for your money. Purchasing the cannabis bud (the flower) will be optimal because it allows you to benefit from the terpenes and all the cannabinoids. When you consume the buds, you are getting the full-spectrum, which boosts the benefits due to what is known as the entourage effect. When you purchase cannabis products you lose out on certain cannabinoids and terpenes due to the extraction process involved in making the products-however they will still be helpful and beneficial. Your cannabis chosen for consumption will need to contain at least tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in order to receive optimum relief. The THC is intoxicating but is vital for pain management alongside CBD. If you do not want to be intoxicated by the THC, you can find strains that are low in THC and higher in CBD but the strain should still contain both. CBD and THC will assist with the experienced pain, appetite stimulation and reducing inflammation while THC will boost your mood and CBD will assist with improving sleep, reducing nausea as well as alleviating stress and anxiety.
Terpenes and cannabinoids share the fact that they’re compounds and are beneficial, however, the terpenes are aromatic. Terpenes are responsible for the scent and contribute to the color of the cannabis plant, but they also contribute their own benefits. Most cannabis oils and tinctures may not contain terpenes despite their benefits. So, when considering cannabis for your chronic pain, it is important to consider cannabis with terpenes. Here is a quick overview of the major terpenes and their basic benefits.
|Myrcene||Musky and Earthy||Reduces inflammation and chronic pain.|
|Limonene||Citrus||Improves overall mood as well as alleviates stress and anxiety.|
|Linalool||Floral and Spicy||Reduces inflammation and relieves depression.|
|Caryophyllene||Spicy and Peppery||Reduces inflammation as well as alleviating stress and anxiety.|
|Pinene||Pinewood||Acts as an anti-inflammatory and boosts memory.|
|Humulene||Spicy, Woody, and Earthy||Acts as an anti-inflammatory, alleviates pain, and is antibacterial.|
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