We have all experienced pain in our lives. Pain even today remains the most common symptoms people seeking medical help for. Medical fraternity is still struggling to design an effective treatment for pain.
Currently two main treatments are available for pain which include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioid prescription medications.
NSAIDs are generally known to be effective at reducing pain caused by inflammation, however, prolonged use of NSAIDs is observed to leading to harmful side effects; increased risks of heart attacks and strokes is one of the many known side effects. On the other side, opioid drugs are one of the highly addictive drugs, and their abuse has generally been observed to be fatal.
Cannabis is fast emerging as a preferred choice for relieving pain not only among the medical fraternity, but among the people who use cannabis for recreation and medical purposes. Cannabis is far less addictive than opioids. Overdose on cannabis is not fatal in the way overdose on opioid is known to be.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most famous compounds in cannabis. CBD is known for its relaxing effects, while THC is known for giving people a ‘high’ euphoric feeling.
In studies, THC has shown to relieve central and neuropathic pain, as well as pain experienced from cancer, AIDS, and fibromyalgia. Meanwhile, CBD, however, it has also shown to impact serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate levels, known to modulate mood and communication between nerve cells. That means that it reduces the perception of pain rather than just reducing the physical cause of it. CBD is suited for those whose pain is primarily due to inflammation and those who wish to go about their day with regular mental functions.
Additionally, it has been found that peripheral nerves that detect pain sensations contain abundant receptors for cannabinoids. In the experiments conducted on animals, THC and CBD and other cannabinoids in Cannabis reported to block peripheral nerve pain. Other studies also suggested that cannabinoids suppress pain through different mechanisms. This is also true of opioids. It is being argued that marijuana-based medicines combined with opiates can be used to boost their pain-relieving power while limiting their side effects.
Basic experiments on pain management led to show that cannabinoids have shown considerable promise. But because of the ethical and logistical difficulties of conducting pain experiments on human volunteers, marijuana’s potential to relieve pain has yet to be conclusively confirmed in the clinic.