It is ‘National Pain Awareness Week’ in Canada, so we are going to dive into the different types of pain and how medical cannabis can help.
There are three sub-types of chronic pain. Those with reactive pain know the cause, the pain is predictable and is aggravated by certain activities. Hotline pain is unpredictable sometimes moving around and can be a combination of painful sensations. The final type is autonomic pain, which can be triggered by an individual’s stress levels. In some cases, causing other symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, IBS and irritable bladder.
For those who experience chronic illness, chronic pain can be indefinite. Managing both requires a combination of treatments, living a healthy lifestyle, counselling and physical therapy. Staying positive and committed to a treatment plan is crucial. Educating those closest to you about the condition, about what your limitations are and asking for help can be beneficial also.
A common treatment for patients with chronic pain is prescribed opioids, but using opioids is not a good long-term solution, because of the high rates of dependency. Alternative medicine and self-management have been shown to be a successful treatment option for others with this condition.
Medical cannabis is one of the more common self-management options available to treat chronic pain. Using medical cannabis can help alleviate physical symptoms as well as manage any secondary conditions, like depression and anxiety. A Canadian study from 2015, shows there was a measurable benefit to patients with few negative impacts experienced by using medical cannabis, among those studied.
In 2016, opioid deaths in Canada climbed to 2,800 people, 586 from Alberta—no deaths from cannabis. A University of Michigan March 2016 study, shows 64 per cent lower opioid use in patients with chronic pain who used medical cannabis. Dr. Donald Abrams, from San Francisco General Hospital, is quoted as saying, “Given the safety profile of cannabis compared to opioids, cannabis appears to be far safer.”
Using medical cannabis products that have THC and CBD together is the most beneficial, whether it is inhaled or ingested. When used together, cannabinoids create what is called the ‘Entourage Effect, contributing to the overall medicinal effectiveness of the plant. Although some individuals still prefer using CBD-only products, for their non-psychoactive effects.
With legalization in Canada approaching next summer, we expect further medical studies will begin, opening the door for doctors and patients alike to confidently use this remarkable plant.
If you have questions about how medical cannabis can help your chronic pain, please contact us.