(888) 908-0143
English Spanish

Say Goodbye to Chronic Pain with CBD in Ohio

Medical marijuana is now being recommended to treat many ailments and health conditions in legal states across the country. One of the most common reasons people seek medical marijuana treatment is to find relief from severe, chronic pain. In this post, we will look at chronic pain, what it is, and what medical marijuana can do to help.

If you have any questions about Ohio medical marijuana and how it can improve your quality of life, speak with a DocMJ Patient Care Coordinator at (877) 899.3626. You can start the process of becoming a legal Ohio medical marijuana patient today by completing our online eligibility survey, followed by scheduling an in-person exam with one of our licensed Ohio MMJ doctors.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is pain that lasts generally longer than three months. This means that chronic pain can last for several years or more in some people. This can be triggered by an injury or traumatic event, but in many cases, the pain seems to begin out of nowhere. This can make diagnosis difficult and requires testing in many cases to find a direct cause.

Because of the varied reasons for chronic pain, classification has proven difficult. Recently, however, chronic pain has become more socially prevalent, and has pushed many physicians and researchers to call for stronger accounts, specifically in the DSM and ICD, two major encyclopedias of mental and physical conditions. While many different systems have been proposed, the most accepted recent method divides chronic pain into seven categories [1]:

  1. Chronic primary pain: Chronic primary pain is pain in 1 or more anatomic regions that persists or recurs for longer than 3 months and is associated with significant emotional distress or significant functional disability (interference with activities of daily life and participation in social roles) and that cannot be better explained by another chronic pain condition.
  2. Chronic cancer pain:  pain caused by the cancer itself (the primary tumor or metastases) and pain that is caused by the cancer treatment (surgical, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and others).
  3. Chronic postsurgical and posttraumatic pain: pain that develops after a surgical procedure or a tissue injury (involving any trauma, including burns) and persists for at least 3 months after surgery or tissue trauma.
  4. Chronic neuropathic pain:  pain caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system.
  5. Chronic headache or orofacial pain:  headaches or orofacial pains that occur on at least 50% of the days during at least 3 months.
  6. Chronic visceral pain: pain that originates from the internal organs of the head and neck region and the thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic cavities.
  7. Chronic musculoskeletal pain: persistent or recurrent pain that arises as part of a disease process directly affecting bone(s), joint(s), muscle(s), or related soft tissue(s).

Chronic pain may also be divided into nociceptive pain, neuropathic pain, and “other”, which is pain that seems to lack any physical cause. Nociceptive pain is the most common, and easily treated, pain. It is pain triggered by a harmful or potentially harmful stimulus. This may take the form of cutting, stubbing a toe, or touching a hot stove. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the body’s sensory systems, and is less receptive to medications, making it a prime target for new therapies.

Can Medical Marijuana Help Those with Chronic Pain?

According to the CDC, about twenty percent of adults in the US have some form of chronic pain, and about eight percent have high-impact chronic pain [2]. This means chronic pain is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits across the country, and a high priority for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, causing a rise in new research into medical marijuana as a prospective new drug.

This trend is not only happening in the US either. In Israel, pain specialists are becoming more comfortable with prescribing medical marijuana to their own patients. Of these specialists, sixty-three percent find it to be moderately to highly effective, and fifty six percent have found either mild or no side-effects [3]. These specialists also prefer to use medical marijuana over some non-marijuana-based analgesics, and the most common symptom the specialists prescribe marijuana for is neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic pain has become a common talking point in marijuana research and has been mentioned in articles outlining treatment in fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, and arthritis. Many times in these articles, cannabinoids are shown to help sooth neuropathic pain, and several mechanisms have been theorized. In particular cases, CBD/THC sprays have been shown to help neuropathic pain not originating in the spine or brain [4], low THC/CBD doses lower chronic pain in cancer patients [5], and CBD along with other cannabinoids reduce inflammation and neuropathic pain by targeting glycine receptors [6].

Other studies have suggested that rather than outright replacing traditional medications, marijuana can act in tandem with them, enhancing the positive effects and lessening the negative ones. For example, when adding marijuana to a patient’s opioid schedule, the rates of tolerance and dependency may decrease, and lowered doses become more effective [7].

While this research exciting, it is important to remember that marijuana also has side-effects, just like any other drug. Many of these are well known, and in the case of chronic pain, studies show that sleep problems may occur in those who use medical marijuana [8]. Other problems may include memory and mood changes, behavioral changes, and possible drug interactions, so it is always recommended to speak with a certified physician.

Which Strains of Marijuana are Best for Chronic Pain?

Based on previous research and patient feedback regarding neuropathic pain, medical marijuana high in CBD often works best for symptom relief, as opposed to high THC medical marijuana. Today, ACDC and Harlequin are especially popular among medical marijuana patients using this medicinal plant to combat pain. Some research shows that patients with migraines and headaches prefer hybrid and high-THC strains, in particular OG Shark [9]. Other examples include Redwood Kush and Dynamite. Of course, any strain high in THC will cause the user to experience psychoactive effects, so it is best to exercise caution no matter the amount.

Resources

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4450869/

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6736a2.htm

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6074811/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24420962

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28866904

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22585736

[7] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02791072.2012.684624

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28926791

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968020/