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Pain Management and Cannabis

Pain Management and Cannabis

Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

Doctors are always trying to develop new pain management approaches to help patients suffering from chronic pain. Patients who have severe chronic pain, such as those with fibromyalgia, have a hard time finding relief. They tend to rely on loads of doctor’s prescriptions for any kind of pain reduction, but medications don’t always provide the respite they’re seeking, and they often come with a host of unpleasant side effects.

Pain management and chronic conditions

People who have chronic pain conditions often live with debilitating pain 24/7. While they’re disorders are not always well-understood, physicians validate the pain involved. Unfortunately, there have not yet been widespread answers or really effective means of alleviating their suffering.

Some of the tactics doctors recommend are non-prescription or prescription drugs, such as morphine and Fentanyl. They also advocate different kinds of therapy and psychological treatments. While these usually offer some kind of relief, many patients are not satisfied with the results. They’re also tired of running from one treatment to the next, and from one doctor’s office to another’s.

The main problem is that there isn’t any cure. Even more so, the condition of “chronic pain” encompasses a whole host of misunderstood ailments. Doctors prescribe medications in the hopes of relieving some of the pain, but the patients go on to experience more pain. Soon a cycle develops where only more medication can alleviate more pain.

How cannabis helps

Cannabis, or legal marijuana, has been causing a bit of controversy recently. But research shows that cannabis can help a variety of ailments, including chronic pain conditions.

Two recent studies confirmed each other’s findings about cannabis and fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition where people feel musculoskeletal pain all over their bodies. They often feel other symptoms as well, such as tiredness and depression. Many fibromyalgia sufferers take a cocktail of medicines every day.

The first study, published in the Journal of rheumatology in 2018, followed twenty-six patients over eleven months who were taking cannabis for pain management. At the end of the period, about half of the participants had ceased taking any other medication. They also reported very low side effects.

The second study, published in Pain Research and Treatment, also in 2018, was more wide-ranging. It evaluated responses from 383 people who have fibromyalgia. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said that they take some form of cannabis for pain management. Of those, ninety-four percent claimed that the cannabis was effective and that it helped eliminate some of their pain, and that it also reduced depression and anxiety.

Only twelve percent of respondents said there were negative side effects, as opposed to ninety-four percent stating that they had experienced adverse side effects from other pain management medications. Of the side effects mentioned from cannabis, most were mild. Almost eighty-five percent of cannabis users had completely stopped or taking or decreased the amount of other forms of pain relief medication.

The other side

While anecdotal evidence, in addition to research from many studies, points to cannabis as safe and overwhelmingly effective, doctors and physicians are still on the fence about whether or not it’s a good thing. We don’t know the long-term effects of legal marijuana, and some researchers say that there may be ramifications beyond the pain management.

In the meantime, cannabis is legally available in thirty states for medical use, including New Jersey. It is legal for recreational use in ten states.

At the Alameda Center, we care about our patients and offer pain management programs to ease the suffering and aid in recovery. Our doctors, nurses and staff work with each patient and create the right program to alleviate pain with the most current methods.