If you’ve ever met someone—or you are someone—who lives with chronic pain, you have some idea of its impact. Pain encroaches on every area of your life, from the ability to engage in physical activities like working out to dealing with tasks at work or even day-to-day duties like cooking and cleaning.
Although there are many traditional pharmaceutical treatment options for pain, most of them come with major side effects that are equally difficult to live with. Luckily, cannabis may help reduce chronic pain associated with a number of common health conditions.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Though there are different types of chronic pain, in general it’s any type of pain that persists for prolonged periods of time. The two main types of pain are:
- Nociceptive pain: This type of pain is sharp and aching. It can result from cancer, but not always. It most often affects the muscles, joints and bones.
- Neuropathic pain: This pain happens when there’s nerve damage. It can be connected to conditions such as infections, autoimmune issues and alcoholism; it’s a burning and numbing type of pain.
Following are six painful health conditions that marijuana has been found to help with:
1. Cannabis Can Help Ease Arthritis Pain & Inflammation
Arthritis symptoms include joint stiffness, chronic pain and inflammation. And these symptoms can also lead to fatigue and anxiety. The cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant have anti-inflammatory properties, and certain strains can help induce sleep and relaxation, thereby helping improve most arthritis symptoms.
One of the primary marijuana cannabinoids is cannabidiol (CBD) which holds great therapeutic potential for relieving arthritis-related pain without harmful side effects. But for folks who are on board with a psychoactive experience, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known as a great pain reliever and mood uplifter, two things that could certainly help arthritis sufferers.
If you’re thinking about treating arthritis with cannabis, a good strain to start with is Girl Scout Cookies. This strain has a high THC content that delivers full body pain relief and a slight head high for relaxation. Girl Scout Cookies tastes earthy and sweet, and sometimes does actually smell like cookies.
2. Cannabis Goes Mainstream in Treating Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disorder where the body’s immune system attacks neurons to cause damage to the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. This leads to a progressive slowdown of cognitive functions, muscle spasms and constant pain. Cannabis, and specifically THC, has been shown to ease pain, reduce seizures and aid digestion.
The science behind cannabis for MS has even caught the eye of the pharmaceutical industry. One company developed a cannabis-derived drug called Sativex to help ease spasticity.
For multiple sclerosis treatment, we recommend the cannabis strain Super Sour Diesel. This is a hybrid cannabis strain that usually contains CBD and THC. As it typically has a high THC content, cannabis newbies should proceed with caution. Start with a low dose and wait a while before partaking again to avoid feeling paranoid or higher than you want to feel. Keep in mind that THC can help relax the body and can provide mental relief, too.
3. Marijuana Eases Many Cancer-Related Symptoms
Though some studies have shown cannabinoids are able to affect cell growth and even death in animals, the jury’s still out on whether they can successfully kill off cancerous cells and tumours in humans.
But marijuana has been shown to ease cancer-related symptoms that are usually a result of treatments like chemotherapy. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, weight loss, pain and insomnia.
For cancer patients, a marijuana strain that may provide relief is ACDC. With sweet citrus undertones, ACDC is a high-CBD strain, so it can bring pain relief and reduce nausea without the psychoactive effects of THC. It’s popular and well known for helping lower chronic pain levels via its anti-inflammatory properties. Equal ratios of CBD and THC make this a good balancing strain for pain and depression relief.
4. A Combination of THC & CBD Is Ideal to Help Ease Back Pain
THC and CBD have different effects, but harnessing each cannabinoid’s strengths together can effectively treat back pain. THC is psychoactive and can relax the whole body, stimulate appetite and boost mood. Meanwhile, CBD is non-psychoactive and prized for its anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and anti-seizure properties. Smoking cannabis, eating marijuana edibles and even using CBD-infused topical creams are all useful for treating chronic back pain.
If you’re looking for a back pain treatment, try a cannabis strain like Harlequin. This strain has a relatively high CBD content, so can impart pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. But there’s THC in the mix for whole body relief. The great thing about Harlequin is that there’s not too much THC, so consumers can feel some psychoactive effects without it being too heavy hitting.
This also means Harlequin can be taken in the daytime if you aren’t too sensitive to THC. It’s a great choice if you need back pain relief, but still need to be productive during the day. You may even be able to do some gentle exercising, important for keeping your back loose and limber.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Cannabis Strains Are Good Picks for Fibromyalgia Patients
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder marked by long-term pain throughout the body. Stiffness, headaches, IBS and fatigue are common, accompanying symptoms. It’s thought that marijuana is so effective in treating fibromyalgia, because it helps the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) modulate pain management and pain responses. Studies have shown that cannabis is also effective in dealing with chronic pain and other symptoms by reducing stiffness and encouraging relaxation—key for fibromyalgia patients.
If you want to try treating fibromyalgia with cannabis, start experimenting with Blue Dream. Sleeplessness and inflammation, which are common symptoms of fibromyalgia, are both issues that Blue Dream is said to take care of, according to consumers. The strain mixes relaxing terpenes, uplifting THC and cannabigerol (CBG), a cannabinoid shown to combat inflammation, depression and muscle tension.
6. Marijuana Can Alleviate the Many Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) experience chronic pain in the lower abdomen and belly. Pain can range from cramping and constant irritation to sharp stabs throughout the day. It disturbs sleeping patterns and causes extreme bloating, which often worsens after eating. THC has been found to activate the body’s cannabinoid receptors to protect the GI tract, gut, liver and pancreas, reducing chronic pain and related symptoms like inflammation.
For IBS sufferers, we recommend the cannabis strain Cannatonic. It’s a high-CBD strain, so can target IBS-related inflammation. It also features subtle euphoric effects, so you can expect relaxation and improved mood coupled with the ability to focus and get things done during the day.
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