Many medical experts are taking the time to look deeper into the benefits of cannabis. With plenty of studies and research in the field, marijuana has been labeled as a great way to maintain our health.
The Mystery behind Cannabis
Cannabis represents a plant containing over 85 relevant cannabinoids or compounds found in ‘weed’.
The human body is able to produce some cannabinoids on its own, due to the work of the digestive and nervous system. Through so-called endocannabinoid receptors found in both systems, our body can largely monitor processes like sleep, emotion, appetite, and agility.
Another group of compounds found in cannabis is Terpenes, whose job is to eliminate body pains.
These compounds are rich in anti-inflammatory qualities and act as natural analgesics. For many reasons, cannabis has been considered dangerous, with the biggest focus remaining on its psychoactivity. The feeling of high is a result of the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol content found in cannabis. While THC represents a form of cannabinoid, it is important to know that not all cannabinoids are psychoactive, meaning they only offer health-related properties.
The second compound found in cannabis is Cannabidiol, or CBD. As it is used therapeutically, this cannabinoid derives from plants low in THC content.
How Does Cannabis Treat Pain?
It all begins with our nervous system. The peripheral nerves are in charge of absorbing the effects of cannabinoids. As soon as CBD reaches the bloodstream, it lingers onto the nerve receptors and blocks pain signals sent by the brain.
Another compound which helps in pain relief is beta-caryophyllene. This represents a non-psychoactive cannabinoid which prevents inflammation in the body and manages the pain. Beta-caryophyllene is found in many foods, like cinnamon, oregano, black pepper, and basil.
How Safe is Cannabis?
The University of Michigan conducted a study which examined the medical benefits of cannabis and found:
‘Patients using medical marijuana to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional prescription pain medications…[patients] also reported fewer side effects from their medications and a 45-percent improvement in the quality of life since using cannabis to manage pain…We are learning that the higher the dose of opioids people are taking, the higher the risk of death from overdose… patients in this study rated cannabis to be equally effective [as opioids] for those with different pain severity.’
Ultimately, the study presented results and showed a 25% decrease in OD cases. What is more, so far there has not been a reported overdose due to using medical marijuana.
What is the Difference between Cannabis and Opioids?
Many institutions, like the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, worked hard on finding alternatives to addictive opioids. Unlike cannabis, opioids are highly addictive and threatening to our health.
‘Opioid use and addiction has become an epidemic in the United States due to doctors over-prescribing opioid medications to treat chronic pain…’emerging data indicate that drugs that target the endocannabinoid system might produce analgesia with fewer side effects compared to opioids,’” states United Press International.
As far as the benefits of marijuana are concerned, it has been proven that ibuprofen, for instance, is far more dangerous to use than cannabis. A study by the Université de Montreal included around 215 participants looking to relieve pain through cannabis.
‘Medical cannabis use over one year was associated with improvements in pain, function, quality of life and cognitive function.’
How Medical Cannabis Helps with Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a health condition manifesting itself through musculoskeletal pain. The condition can also lead to fatigue, memory issues, and mood swings. Typically, the treatment of fibromyalgia includes lots of painkillers and antidepressants. However, this specific neurological disorder can be easily treated with medical cannabis.
In a 2014 study, the National Pain Foundations stated that up to 62% of patients with fibromyalgia have found cannabis successful in treating it, while 33% founding helpful to some extent. Aside from fibromyalgia, other studies found cannabis successful in treating diabetic neuropathy and multiple sclerosis.
What is a Cannabis Patch?
There are many ways to use medical cannabis. While vaping and smoking are among the most popular methods, a cannabis patch is especially recommended. This is because a cannabis patch can enable the body to absorb cannabis benefits baster into the skin. Depending on the type of pain, these patches can be applied on the skin, injected or indigested.
Back in 2016, Cannabis Science in California was the first to release the ‘pain patch’ for medical purposes. With its release, the institution also released the following statement, ‘…the patch provides a controlled release of the medication into the patient, usually through either a porous membrane covering a reservoir of medication or through body heat melting thin layers of medication embedded in the adhesive which will be containing high potency cannabinoid (CBD) extract that slowly enters into the bloodstream and then penetrates the central nervous system.’
Aside from the medical cannabis patches, other effective forms of treatment are also developed, such as transdermal medical cannabis patches and pens. Today, these are available in some states in the USA, like Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.