What causes chronic pain?
Chronic pain is caused by a variety of reasons. Most pain is categorized as either nociceptive, caused by tissue damage or inflammation, or neuropathic, caused by nervous system damage or malfunction. Knowing the cause of the pain is important to finding the best course of treatment — since each type of pain has a different root cause, one treatment may be effective for some but not for others. Clinical trials have shown THC and CBD to both be effective at relieving chronic pain, both used on their own or combined with pharmaceuticals.
Treating chronic pain
When you’re living with chronic pain, it’s more than just sore muscles and achy joints. Millions of people live with debilitating chronic pain that affects every aspect of their lives, and many of them turn to potentially dangerous opioid-based pharmaceuticals for relief. These treatments are sometimes only partially effective, and worse, the medications themselves are highly addictive. More than 115 people a day in the US die from opioid overdoses, whether from prescribed painkillers like Oxycontin or illegal drugs like heroin. Fortunately, multiple studies have shown that cannabinoids can be used to treat chronic pain, and nearly one in five people living with chronic pain are turning to cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals.
Using cannabis for chronic pain
THC and CBD both have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which can immediately lessen nociceptive pain at the site of the injury or damage. Both compounds relieve neuropathic pain by working within the endocannabinoid system to increase our bodies’ natural pain-relieving responses and inhibit the flow of pain-creating signals to the brain and spinal cord.
CBD doubles down on the body’s natural responses to pain by increasing the flow of serotonin, which reduces stress and anxiety. The psychoactive effects of THC also relieve pain by creating a sense of euphoria – to put it simply, it makes you feel good, which makes you hurt less.
Whether your pain is caused by injury, illness, or something else, cannabis treatments provide a viable alternative to a lifetime of pharmaceuticals. Balancing THC and CBD can increase the effectiveness of opioids — thereby lowering the dosage — and even eliminate the need for them altogether. The best type of treatment depends on your body’s chemistry and the type of pain you’re experiencing, which is why it’s important to work with a physician to find the right cannabis products for you.