What to Know About Cannabis Oil for Pain Management
Chronic pain patients have found relief through CBD oil. Find out how and the compelling benefits of cannabis oil for pain management over pharmaceuticals.
Keyword(s): cannabis oil for pain
The United States is moving closer to total medical cannabis legalization.
With West Virginia becoming the 29th state to legalize it, it is clear that medical cannabis is becoming part of the future of medicine.
As the stigma surrounding cannabis begins to lessen, more and more researchers are taking its medical benefits seriously.
As cannabis also becomes more accessible to researchers, we have a thorough understanding of the many ways it can be used medically.
One major area of interest? The many uses of cannabis oil for pain management.
Manage Your Pain With Marijuana
Pain management is the main reason that people seek out medical marijuana.
Traditionally, many people might associate cannabis use with recreational smoking. There are a number of benefits that come with using cannabis oil for pain instead.
In this article, we will run through the basics about cannabis oil and how it can be used medically. We’ll talk about the main chemicals in cannabis oil and how they affect the body to reduce pain and inflammation. Then, we’ll get into the benefits and the many painful side effects of diseases it can be effective in treating.
So if you want to get the real story on cannabis oil for pain management, read on.
The Lowdown On Cannabis Oil
Cannabis oil is a thick, viscous liquid. It is extracted from the flowers of the plant, while it is the buds that are generally smoked. The oil resulting from this extraction is more concentrated and potent than marijuana for smoking.
It is this distillation process that makes cannabis oil for pain management such a real possibility. It allows manufacturers to create a consistent product. It can target the chemical composition to maximize the pain relief benefits.
This all comes down to the two main chemicals in cannabis, THC and CBD.
CBD and Cannabis Oil for Pain Relief
Cannabis oil is also used recreationally. However, this oil is often different than that intended for medical purposes. To understand the difference between medical and recreational cannabis, you need to understand the difference between THC and CBD.
THC is tetrahydrocannabinol’s catchy nickname. THC is what creates the effects that most recreational users enjoy. THC provides the mind-altering effects of marijuana, including the “high.” In very high doses, it can also cause hallucinations.
Cannabidiol or “CBD,” on the other hand, doesn’t have the same psychological or intoxicating effects. Mainly, it doesn’t create the same feelings of intense euphoria or sluggishness. CBD can still reduce inflation, pain, and anxiety.
THC also contributes to pain reduction. However, because of its intoxicating effects, most medical researchers see CBD as the better option. CBD is known to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC.
This means that cannabis oils high in CBD are much easier for new users. The same goes for those who may be unable to consume cannabis in other forms because of the effects of THC. These oils will still contain THC.
However, the high amount of CBD means the intoxicating effects are minimal.
So while recreational users may be looking for THC, the real value of using cannabis oil for pain management is that you can create a much higher concentration of pain-reducing CBD. Plus, you can use strains that are higher in CBD.
But how does CBD actually help with pain? It all comes down to the body’s endocannabinoid system.
How Cannabis Oil Helps Reduce Pain
Cannabis oil is useful for pain management. This is because of the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Importantly for pain reduction, this system is partially responsible for pain and inflammation.
This system releases endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. Basically, these are chemicals in the brain which carry instructions telling your cells throughout your body what to do. They help your body respond to negative stimuli, soothing pain and inflammation.
Endocannabinoids are a subcategory of a type of chemical called cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are naturally produced by the body. Other cannabinoids are produced by other sources such as plants like cannabis.
The brain naturally ramps up the production of endocannabinoids in response to stimuli, such as an injury. However, the body isn’t generally able to create the cannabinoids necessary to manage serious or chronic pain.
In these situations, increasing the cannabinoids present in the body can help manage pain. When a person consumes cannabis, it basically helps with the body’s natural pain management system.
Benefits of Cannabis Oil
Cannabis oil obviously isn’t the only way that cannabis can be used for medical benefit. However, there are a number of benefits that come with using cannabis oil for pain relief rather than other forms of ingesting it.
Easy to Consume
Not everybody wants to take up smoking, even if it means they can manage their chronic pain. Luckily, cannabis oil provides other options.
Cannabis oil can be consumed many different ways.
It can be taken simply like as medicine, ingested orally. This method is great for rapid pain relief, as patients tend to feel the effects much more quickly than with methods like edibles or teas. It can also be taken orally as a tincture or pill.
Perhaps a more enjoyable way of consuming cannabis oil is through edibles.
Edibles, such as brownies, can be made with oil. Using edibles infused with cannabis oil for pain relief means the effects take more time to be felt. However, they also tend to last much longer than cannabis consumed through other methods.
Oil can also be used with a vaporizer. This method provides the feeling and convenience of smoking without the negative effects smoking can have on the lungs and throat.
Finally, it can also be made into a cream or gel and absorbed through the skin.
This allows patients to target the pain release specifically to the source of the pain. With this method, very little THC or CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream. This means patients don’t feel any of the psychological effects.
All of these options means that patients can generally find a method that works for them. It makes it easy and comfortable to take.
It also makes it more accessible for everyone, including those with asthma or respiratory illnesses and children with leukemia.
Dosage Can be Controlled
With a scientifically-guided refinery process for creating the oil, the amounts of THC and CBD can be closely controlled.
This means that the dosage can be controlled when consuming the oil. It is easier for patients to be sure about the amount that they are taking and what effects to expect. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of using their medication.
This is especially true for cannabis oil in pill form. Doctors can prescribe a very specific dosage.
What Conditions Can Cannabis Oil Be Used For?
Because the endocannabinoid system controls so much of the body’s functioning, cannabis oil can be used to help with a wide range of conditions. As research continues, more and more uses are being explored.
The following are some of the most common and important uses of cannabis oil for pain management.
Chronic pain is a serious condition that affects over 100 million Americans. The causes are often difficult to understand, which makes treatment even harder.
Since the cannabinoids produced by CBD work in sync with the body’s natural pain inflammation management, cannabis can be an effective treatment for chronic pain.
Patients suffering from chronic pain can use cannabis as part of their treatment plan to keep their pain under control.
Cancer and Chemotherapy
CBD can be effective in helping those fighting cancer manage pain and other symptoms. Chemotherapy is a difficult, often painful treatment and cannabis oil can help manage the negative effects.
A major side effect of chemotherapy is pain. It also causes mouth sores, nausea, and vomiting. CBD can help manage all of these side effects.
It may also inhibit tumor growth, though further study is needed to really understand these effects.
Arthritis causes chronic, incurable joint pain that worsens over time. It most commonly affects the hands, wrists, ankles, and feet. It can even affect organs.
There isn’t a cure for arthritis, but CBD-rich cannabis oil can do a lot to relieve the pain and reduce swelling. One study suggests that cannabis oil may be able to slow down or stop arthritis from getting worse.
It can also help other joint and bone conditions, such as osteoporosis.
The endocannabinoid system we talked about before controls more than just pain. It also appears to help with other parts of the immune system as well, including muscle spasms.
This is why CBD is being studied as a treatment for conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Helping reduce the spasming can make the condition more manageable.
Plus, cannabis oil for pain caused by multiple sclerosis is also helpful. This pain can be debilitating. One study concluded cannabinoids are an effective treatment for MS-related pain.
These are the better studied and understood uses for CBD and cannabis oil for pain treatment. However, the more this subject is researched, the more uses will likely be discovered.
But why would patients choose cannabis oil for pain they’re experiencing instead of more mainstream pain management methods?
A Safer Alternative to Opioids
Many of the current pain management options for patients with cancer, chronic pain, arthritis, and MS include opioids.
Opioids are commonly prescribed for many different types of pain, from codeine to relieve pain from dental work to morphine after a major surgery.
Opioids are prescribed so often because they really are effective in reducing or even completely blocking pain. But they come with the very real potential to become addictive.
People generally expect a prescription to be safe. However, taking opioids, especially strong ones, always carries the potential for addiction and dependence.
Even patients who would not describe themselves as dependent on their opioid prescription will experience some sort of withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them.
The risk for addiction is higher when patients are required to take opioids for a long period of time.
The use becomes a habit, and your body grows more used to the opioid. That puts people with diseases such as chronic pain, cancer, MS, and arthritis as an even higher risk of addiction.
Cannabis oil is not addictive, and patients using it for pain are unlikely to develop a dependence. It also doesn’t carry any risk of lethal overdose. Opioid overdoses, on the other hand, caused 52,404 deaths in 2015 alone.
Cannabis oil isn’t necessarily a replacement for all opioids, especially when extremely powerful pain relief is needed. But it can be a much safer alternative, especially when patients need relief over long periods of time.
Cannabis Oil For Pain: The Takeaway
Using cannabis oil for pain management is a field of research that is only going to grow.
As activists and lobbyists continue to work towards legalization across the states, more researchers will be able to study CBD more broadly.
The research on how cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system is incredibly exciting for the world of pain relief. The studies on the uses of cannabis for pain relief. These studies show that everything from cancer to arthritis have used cannabis as an effective pain treatment.
We can only wait and wonder what uses will be discovered next.
And while cannabis can be taken in many forms, the oil has two particular advantages. First, it makes it much easier to consume. Second, it makes the dosage easy to control and predict, just as with any medicine.
The use of cannabis oil for pain relief will enable millions of Americans to manage their chronic conditions in a much safer way than through opioid prescriptions. Without the risk of overdose and addiction, medical cannabis oil can make pain treatment safer.
It truly is an exciting time for those who already understand the benefits of medical cannabis oil. We can’t wait to see where researchers take us next!
Do you still have questions about cannabis oil?
Or looking to know more about legalization within your state?
Contact us today to find out more.