Why Cannabis?Patients who’ve turned to medical cannabis frequently cite the difficulty of finding effective relief from prescription drugs as a primary reason for seeking an alternative. Furthermore, even when effective, many medications carry devastating side-effects and troubling risks that undermine holistic wellness. As we discussed previously in the blog:
…the risk of developing dependency, the prevalence of debilitating side effects, and especially the threat of a fatal overdose are concerns our patients communicate to us every day in explaining why they’ve chosen cannabis as an alternative. Sadly, the limited options available for treating serious chronic pain have often forced patients to choose between living with unbearable symptoms, or adopting a regimen of medications whose side effects disrupt their ability to perform basic tasks and enjoy their lives. Many have discovered that medical cannabis provides a middle ground, in which pain can be reduced while maintaining a mental and physical state that allows them to be comfortable, alert, and productive.The analgesic properties of cannabis are believed to result from multiple functions, including its anti-inflammatory effects, mitigation of neurotransmission, and activation of the endocannabinoid system within the body. While our understanding of how and why it works is the subject of continuing scientific inquiry, evidence of its efficacy in pain management is considerable. As Leafly reports:
In a comprehensive, Harvard-led systematic review of 28 studies examining the efficacy of exo-cannabinoids (e.g. synthetic formulations or cannabinoids from the plant) to treat various pain and medical issues, the author concluded, “Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high quality evidence.” Of the studies reviewed, six out of six general chronic pain studies and five out of five neuropathic pain studies found a significant improvement in symptoms among patients. Notably, while most of the studies were limited to synthetic preparations of cannabinoids, three of the five neuropathic pain studies investigated “smoked” cannabis, while two examined an oral spray preparation.Based on our experience working each day with patients who experience chronic pain from a broad range of injuries and conditions, it comes as no surprise that science is beginning to substantiate the benefits we’ve observed.