Do you suffer from chronic pain? Florida medical marijuana patients who suffer from discomfort due to a variety of causes have discovered MMJ offers relief from nerve, muscle, bone, and other types of pain. Many people find that using Indica-heavy strains such as 9# Hammer helps their symptoms and gives them the opportunity to enjoy a better quality of life. If you experience pain on a daily basis and would like to try medical marijuana, take our quick eligibility survey to see if you pre-qualify to become a patient. A Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor will be able to discuss your conditions and help you decide on the best routes, doses, and timing intervals for you. 

Chronic pain often begins as the result of illness or injury. While the cause is often something patients or doctors can identify, there are times we suffer pain for unknown (idiopathic) reasons, and in some cases the cause is never discovered. This condition differs from short-term or acute pain in one significant aspect – while acute pain goes away after the injury or illness that causes it is resolved, chronic pain keeps going. If you break a bone or have surgery, you may be uncomfortable for 3-6 months until your body mends. On the other hand, chronic pain continues past this time frame, and may never totally resolve. Symptoms of chronic pain may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Limited mobility
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear 
  • Anger (1)

According to a CDC report released in 2018, approximately 20% of American adults, or 50 million people, suffer from chronic pain. Of this number, about 8% or 19.6 million adults suffer from high-impact chronic pain, “…defined as chronic pain that limited life or work activities on most days or every day during the past 6 months.” (2) Over time, chronic pain can cause changes in the nervous system; in these cases, it is no longer merely the consequence of another illness, but becomes a diagnosis and condition of its own. Unfortunately, if a physician cannot identify the origin of the pain, or if it continues past its expected time limit, patients are denied effective pain management strategies because of the current atmosphere regarding long-term opioid use as well as the patient’s own fear of addiction or overdose. (3) It is interesting to note that veterinary students receive better pain management training than those who are studying to become physicians. Based on this lack of understanding and education, many physicians end up downplaying or denying the existence of chronic pain conditions, even to the point of accusing their patients of faking or exaggerating their symptoms in an attempt to obtain more pain medication. Because chronic pain is an invisible disability, people who suffer with it are frequently denied appropriate and adequate treatment options. (4) 

The following well-known conditions can cause or contribute to chronic pain:

  • Back and neck problems
  • Arthritis and other joint conditions
  • Celiac disease
  • Lupus and other autoimmune disorders like MS, Huntington’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • GI conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • Migraines and other types of headaches
  • Infectious diseases like meningitis, shingles, and tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease
  • Peripheral or diabetic neuropathy (5)

In addition to the causes listed above, even things like childbirth or a broken bone can lead to chronic pain. There are also patients experiencing this problem who are never diagnosed with a definitive illness, injury, or other condition. These patients have what is known as idiopathic pain, or pain of an unknown origin. They may be the most frequently under-diagnosed and can often be refused treatment of any kind because there is no way to diagnose the cause of their pain. 

 

How Medical Marijuana Helps

Let’s take a look at 9# Hammer, a popular strain of marijuana among chronic pain sufferers. This strain is an Indica-dominant (80% Indica/20% Sativa) hybrid strain created by crossing Goo Berry, Hells OG, and Jack the Ripper. 9# Hammer boasts a 17%-21% THC level. It begins with an uplifting and cerebral high, followed by a sense of relaxation and sedation that may lead to a deep and peaceful sleep. (6,7,8)

THC and CBD binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the human endocannabinoid system, affecting pain in the following ways:

  • Decreases inflammation and swelling
  • Alters how the brain and body perceives and reacts to painful stimulus
  • Increases the pain threshold, or the level of pain that causes serious discomfort
  • Causes the body to release more endorphins, or feel-good hormones
  • Helps prescription medications like morphine or codeine work more effectively, even to the point of helping patients need less opioids for their pain
  • Can help reduce the negative side effects of opioids
  • Stimulates the appetite
  • Decreases nausea and vomiting
  • Eases anxiety
  • Relieves depression
  • Helps with sleep
  • Relieves muscle spasms
  • Improves overall mood
  • Has a relaxing effect (9)

In addition to the powerful effects of THC, 9# Hammer also contains three potent terpenes that help contribute to pain relief. 

Myrcene is the most common terpene found in the marijuana plant. Its scent is spicy and earthy with a hint of cloves. In addition to having its own individual properties it is a precursor to other terpenes much as CBG-A is to CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. Its actions on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) are similar to cannabinoids. Myrcene produces sedation and relaxation, acts as a mood elevator, helps decrease the frequency and severity of muscle spasms, and decreases pain and inflammation. In addition, it helps regulate other terpenes and cannabinoids like CBD moderates the psychoactive properties of THC. However, unlike CBD, myrcene helps enhance the psychoactive effects of THC as well as increasing its medicinal abilities. (10)

Pinene, a pine-scented terpene common to many strains of marijuana, has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help ease the pain caused by MS, cancer, and arthritis by helping decrease the swelling associated with these conditions. (11)

Caryophyllene has a spicy or peppery smell. This terpene has the distinction of being the only known terpene able to directly bind with CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. It demonstrates a powerful ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent. In addition, it works to help decrease pain, anxiety and depression as well as helping to calm the digestive system, particularly the gut. This can aid in decreasing anxiety, which also affects how the body reacts to and perceives pain. Its ability to act on CB2 receptors also helps it moderate the psychoactive effects of THC. (12)

 

The 9# Hammer strain has been reported by many MMJ patients to be helpful for chronic pain. In addition to helping decrease pain, its sedating properties help patients sleep better and experience less anxiety. However, it is important to remember that not all patients respond the same way to specific strains or varieties of marijuana. Talk to one of our Florida Medical Marijuana Doctors if you have any questions or concerns about how best to use medical marijuana to treat your specific health problems. 

 

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/12051-acute-vs-chronic-pain
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6736a2.htm
  3. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/18/giving-chronic-pain-a-medical-platform-of-its-own/
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/chronic-pain-the-invisible-disability-2017042811360
  5. https://www.pain-health.com/conditions/chronic-pain/common-conditions-cause-chronic-pain
  6. https://www.maggiesfarmmarijuana.com/flower-types/9poundhammer/
  7. https://www.leafly.com/strains/9-pound-hammer
  8. https://www.allbud.com/marijuana-strains/indica-dominant-hybrid/9-pound-hammer
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3728280/
  10. https://strainprint.ca/community/cannabis-terpenes-myrcene/
  11. https://www.verdesfoundation.org/terpenes/pinene/
  12. https://apothecarium.com/blog/nevada/2018/3/17/terpenes-the-essentials-caryophyllene