People are always looking for new ways to manage chronic and long-term pain. Sometimes, doctors will prescribe opioids such as oxycodone and fentanyl, potentially addictive drugs. On the other hand, some people are turning to the unconventional cannabinoids (derived from the marijuana plant). While the effectiveness of these drugs in pain management is still questionable, this alternative is still popular among patients. So, why are people turning to this alternative form of medication to alleviate their chronic pain? Let’s take a closer look.
Do Cannabinoids Alleviate Pain?
For scientists, the fact is fairly clear: marijuana and marijuana-derived products do not alleviate chronic pain (excluding the effects of cancer treatment). However, additional research has indicated that the euphoria induced by marijuana provides an escape or distraction from excruciating pain. Furthermore, a study involving 440 test subjects confirmed that people who consume marijuana induce a higher threshold for pain, ultimately building a person’s resistance to agonizing sensations. In other words, marijuana is an analgesic instead of a suppressant.
Most Common Cannabinoid Strains for Pain Management
Overall, the three types of marijuana plants are Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and hybrids, but groups of people claim that certain types may serve as better pain analgesics over others. Based on a recent survey conducted in 2014, users claimed that the indica species promoted stronger feelings of relaxation and sedation, while the sativa strain induced powerful boosts of energy.
Furthermore, these test subjects concluded that indica was superior for pain management. Typically, people will use it to alleviate:
- Headaches (excluding migraines)
- Nerve pain (neuropathy)
- Join pain
Since the study was limited to a small group of people, certain variables must be taken into consideration. These users did not consume marijuana in a controlled area, meaning the quantities and dosage of the drug could be affected by the dynamic environments.
Nevertheless, medical marijuana is still a questionable drug in the healthcare community, as its mind-altering chemical THC is potentially addictive.
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