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Chronic pain stems from pain derived from either inflammation or nerve damage, or both.
Neuropathic pain is pain caused by nerves that have been damaged. This type of pain is common in injuries to the back – such as herniated discs. Pain from Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is a debilitating chronic condition that comes from overuse, older age, or injury.
Cannabis lacks the side effects of more traditional pharmaceuticals. This makes it an excellent alternative for patients who cannot take pills or receive injections. With cannabis products, there is also little risk of dependency or overdose. The components of marijuana that pain studies focus on are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC closely resembles the cannabinoid chemicals that are already found within the body. THC stimulates the brain’s cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2 – which, in turn, activates the brain’s reward system. This results in the reduction of pain levels. However, THC is a psychoactive compound and is what produces a “high” once it binds to cannabinoid receptors.
On the other hand, CBD does not cause a “high” even though it also interacts with pain receptors in the brain. CBD can deliver anti-inflammatory effects and reduce pain by acting on several different biological processes within the body. CBD targets the α3 glycine receptors, which are essential for nociceptive regulation at the spinal level. CBD has been shown to work as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic.
The ancient Chinese used cannabis for its anti-inflammatory properties to combat rheumatism back in 2737 BC. Medical marijuana and CBD may be implemented as a companion or standalone treatment when resolving pain and restoring a patient’s health.
POSITIVE REPORTS AND STUDIES REGARDING CANNABIS TREATMENTS
Studies show that CBD increases the body’s levels of anandamide – a chemical associated with regulating pain in the body.
Additionally, a recent study found that CBD reduces inflammation in the brain. The study also found that CBD may be able to reduce the number of immune cells that build up in the spinal column – thereby also resulting in a reduction of inflammation, and therefore pain.
A poll conducted by the Arthritis Foundation has found that 80% of their respondents were currently using CBD or had in the past. Of those patients using it, improved physical function, sleep and well-being were reported as well as improvement in pain and stiffness.
The type of product best suited for pain relief depends on the type of pain being experienced and the condition. Chronic pain conditions such as but not limited to fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis are included within Florida’s legal guidelines for qualifying patients.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CANNABIS...
Dr. Michelle Weiner of SWCA offers Cannabis treatments across South Florida and via Telemedicine
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