Chronic pain can be caused by a multitude of medical conditions. From rheumatoid arthritis to endometriosis to Crohn’s disease, the list is endless. Unfortunately, the number of people suffering from chronic pain in the United States appears to be on the rise. It’s estimated that approximately 1 in 5 American adults suffer from a chronic pain condition.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that researchers are making persistent and determined efforts to find a solution to this rising public health concern.
This is especially true when you consider the fact that many chronic pain conditions are unresponsive to current pain relief drugs, or that the side effects of these drugs are too severe for patients to endure.
Because of problems with the current treatment of pain, many patients and some providers have begun to re-examine the potential role for cannabis or cannabinoids (the chemicals found in cannabis) in treating chronic pain.
Due to the fact that no synthetic cannabinoids have yet been approved for treatment of chronic pain conditions in the United States, the most available form of cannabinoids for most patients is cannabis.
One recent study examined the use of medical cannabis as a pain relief treatment for patients with chronic pain, and the effect that this had on the patients’ need to rely on opiods for the same. This study did yield some significant findings.
Perhaps most interestingly of all, it reported that patients with lower pain centralization levels noted the best improvements in quality of life, as well as the largest reductions in opioid usage.
Overall, since the initiation of medical cannabis use, chronic pain patients reported significant decreases in medication side effects. This led to a vast improvement in their daily functioning, decreases in the total number of medications being taken, and a general benefit to their quality of life.
Reported reduction in opioid use and decreased medication side effects were significantly correlated, indicating a potential health benefit of replacing opioids with cannabis. These results are very encouraging for those in pursuit of a new treatment for chronic pain.
More research into the use of cannabis for chronic pain is ongoing, the results of which will add to our current understanding of the drug. However, in the meantime researchers remain cautiously optimistic that cannabis could be the future of chronic pain treatment in America.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.