It’s no secret that cannabis works in relaxing the body and mind. But when it comes to cannabis use to treat chronic pain, the results aren’t as well-known. In spite of cannabis being a natural substance, you need to understand how it can help with your chronic pain before using it.
How Cannabis Works in Chronic Pain Relief
Consuming cannabis in its various forms allows its two main components, Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to hijack and influence your body’s Endocannabinoid (EC) system, which is responsible for regulating your mood, appetite, and pain. Although CBD and THC share near-identical chemical structures, they vary enough to connect to different receptors in the body and cause different effects.
THC molecules bind to the CB1 receptors in your body in place of Anandamide—a chemical produced through physical activity. When it binds to the receptors in your EC system—or nerve cells, THC can significantly reduce sensations of pain. With it, comes the feeling of being high. CBD, on the other hand, interacts with the receptors in your nerve cells and prevents them from responding properly or in time to outside stimuli, including pain.
So far, it’s been found that medical cannabis works in relieving multiple causes of pain and side effects, such as:
- Chronic pain
- Chemotherapy side effects
- Migraines and headaches
- Muscle pain
- Pain caused by nerve damage
Using Cannabis for Medical and Recreational Purposes
The main difference between using cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is the ratio of CBD to THC. For medical use, cannabis often has a higher ratio of CBD compared to THC, allowing you to reap the benefits whilst minimizing the effects of the psychoactive ingredient, THC. When it comes to recreational cannabis, THC percentages are often higher.
But whether you’re using cannabis for medical or recreational purposes, it’s important to understand that it’s still a drug. It can interfere with other medications or have negative side effects depending on preexisting conditions. That’s why it’s important to be transparent with your healthcare provider about using cannabis.
Getting the Right Strain of Cannabis
There are many ways you can consume cannabis to help with pain relief. Medical cannabis can be topical, so you can apply it to the affected area in the form of oils, lotions, creams, and balms. Cannabis topicals are non-psychoactive, meaning they don’t make you high. You can also use cannabis vapes and cannabis-infused drinks and edibles for internal pain relief and almost immediate effects. Also, pay attention to what strain of cannabis you’re consuming. For pain relief, aim for strains with a suitable ratio of CBD to THC, such as:
- Blue Berry
- Northern Lights
- Afghan Kush
- Cataract Kush
Using cannabis to relieve pain for the first time can be overwhelming, especially with the numerous options available. After consulting with your doctor, visit the nearest cannabis dispensary and get yourself familiar with local and imported strains of cannabis, along with consumption methods. With some trial and error, you should land on the perfect strain and consumption method in no time.