Why Cannabis Is A Better Choice Than Opioids When Dealing With Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain can be a menace that can make your life like hell and those who cope with it understand how annoying it can be. It not only affects their physical activities but such people become subjected to stress and depression; most of the times. While there are several types of medications to let such people deal with chronic pain, most of these come with side effects. The commonly prescribed drugs such as opioids have toxic effects and studies have revealed their impact on health. Thousands of people die every year from an overdose, from opioids, worldwide; prompting chronic pain victims to look for healthier and safer alternatives. According to the findings of some studies, using Cannabis can be a viable alternative in this regard.

Why Using Opioid for Treating Chronic Pain is not Viable

A majority of people start using opioids to treat some kind of pain. The opioids are able to mitigate pain initially, but over time, your body develops resistance to these medications – forcing you to use the medications in higher doses. Prescription opioids can suppress breathing and heart rate which can have serious consequences in the users.

Nuances of Cannabis Usage to Treat Chronic Pain

A number of studies conducted on the efficacy of using cannabis products to treat chronic pain in people have shown a positive result and not many severe side effects have been observed. Whether you inhale weed or eat cannabis edibles, the benefits are obvious. San Francisco General Hospital’s Chief of Hematology and professor, Dr. Donald Abrams supports usage of weed to treat victims of chronic pain.

Of the studies that find cannabis suitable for use in treating cases of chronic pain, one carried out in the University of Michigan in 2016 deserves special mention.  As per the revelations of this study:

  1. Cannabis usage produces fewer side effects compared to most other medications.
  2. Its usage helps enhance the quality of life.
  3. It reduces the need to rely solely on opioids to treat chronic pain.

Dr. Daniel Clauw, University of Michigan Medical School’s professor of pain management and a researcher of this study pointed out how opioid overdose can enhance the risk of death.

The medical experts advise patients of chronic pain to use Cannabis in low doses first, and based on reaction, adjust the dosage in the future. Canada’s Marijuana for Trauma’s head physician Dr. Michael Hart is a believer in this theory. Patients typically find better results in the Indica strains with elevated THC quotient than the hybrid and sativa variants. Sometimes, the same weed strain can be effective in low doses for pain management but in higher doses, it may produce opposite effects, on the same person.

Things you Need to Keep in Mind

While using weed can help people in coping with chronic pain, a few things have to be kept in mind. These are:

  • Using Cannabis for pain reduction and management can require some time. It is not necessarily a magic bullet solution to treat chronic pain. Each cannabis strain has a distinct percentage of CBD and THC and that has a direct impact on the users. Some strains may show better results in pain management and reduction than the others.
  • How the weed strains are consumed by a person also affects pain management capabilities. Some people find smoking is the best way, while for others, taking weed edibles work well. However, one risk factor remains with weed edibles. The Edible marijuana products transform into metabolite post intake that can be more toxic in nature than the parent THC ingredient.
  • You also need to experiment with the dosage of cannabis for a reduction in pain. Some users may find relief from pain by taking small doses of weed, while for others, larger doses may bring in the desired result.
  • Those users who are already using opioids for chronic pain management should be more careful about using Cannabis for the same purpose. Using weed randomly is not advisable and they should seek medical guidance.
  • People with certain health conditions or ailments should not intake weed to manage or reduce pain. People with substance use disorder past, significant cardiopulmonary disease and mental illness in the family, should evade intake of weed.

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