Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years. In fact, you may be surprised to know that Queen Victoria was one example of the countless people throughout history who took advantage of the health benefits and pain relieving qualities of the cannabis plant.
However, the past 30 years has seen an increasing number of anecdotal reports on the positive effect of cannabis use for chronic pain. Coupled with this increase is an increase in the amount of research conducted into its qualities by the medical research community.
Researchers have discovered a strong relationship between cannabis and the endocannabinoid system, which is the system in the human body that regulates pain. This discovery has opened up a world of scientific possibility when it comes to the potential use of cannabis as a future pain medication.
Cannabinoids, which are the chemicals found in cannabis, appear to be components of a neural circuit which may play a role in modulating pain. This supports earlier observations, and provides some rationale for the potential clinical use of cannabis and related medicines.
One study recently found that cannabis use was prevalent among a sample group of chronic non-cancer pain patients, and the reported positive effects of cannabis for a wide range of subjective symptoms.
While surveys such as this may provide basic information of the current prevalence and patterns of medicinal cannabis use, controlled clinical trials and long term surveillance studies are needed to deepen the current understanding of the scientific community in relation to cannabis and its possible therapeutic role in modern medicine. We also need to better understand the possible risks and side effects of cannabis use for chronic pain.
It is hoped that research in the future will successfully provide this deeper understanding, and inform the possible development of a future cannabis-based non-cancer pain medication.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.