Pain is a signal to your nervous system that something may be wrong. It can be a tingle, sting, burn or ache. It can be sharp or dull. There are two types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain lets you know that you may have been injured or have a problem you need to take care of. Acute pain typically goes away with treatment of the root of the problem. Chronic pain is different. It usually lasts more than 12 weeks and can last for months or even years. It may be there because of an infection, cancer or an injury, or in some cases there may be no clear cause. Chronic pain isn’t always curable but treatments can help. In this blog, we’re going to focus on medical cannabis as a treatment and how and why it works.
Chronic pain can be an extremely impairing condition. For people who live with chronic pain on a daily basis, it can alter their mood, overall health and well-being. Back pain is one of most common types of chronic pain. Because chronic pain is so debilitating, there can be other problems associated with it such as sleeplessness, diminished appetite, depression, irritability and fatigue.
Medical cannabis is shown to reduce chronic pain and inflammation when used alone and in conjunction with other traditional treatments. Clinical research shows that medical cannabis is a more effective and safer alternative than opioid medications that frequently result in abuse and addiction.
The reasons that medical cannabis benefits chronic pain as well as many different illnesses and medical conditions, is the fact that some of the active pharmacological components of the cannabis plant imitate an internal chemical harm reduction system in the human body that keeps our health in balance. This is called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Three main components of the ECS are: Cannabinoid receptors, Endocannabinoids and Metabolic enzymes. Cannabinoid receptors transmit information to any changing conditions and kick start the appropriate cellular response. Endocannabinoids are chemicals our body produces. These endocannabinoids keep our biological functions in balance such as our immune system, pain, sleep, appetite and more. When something gets out of balance, endocannabinoids get to work to fix the imbalance. Metabolic enzymes break down endocannabinoids after they are used. Cannabinoids appear to bind to the receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system, which supplements the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, thereby improving the physiological response. These cannabinoids help the body manage crises and restore itself after trauma when the body’s endocannabinoids are not able to restore balance alone.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid found in high concentrations in cannabis plants that would be considered medicinal or recreational quality. THC is the cannabinoid that produces the psychoactive effect associated with cannabis.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid found in high concentrations in cannabis plants that would be considered medicinal or hemp quality. Cannabis high in CBD does not produce an intoxicating effect, which means it’s unattractive for recreational consumers. Because of its medicinal qualities CBD remains in high demand among medicinal users.
These combinations of cannabinoids provide many benefits to the body with the correct combination. These include stimulating bone growth, easing pain and nausea, protecting damaged brain cells, killing certain kinds of cancer cells, preventing seizure, protecting the brain from damaging effects of Alzheimer’s, controlling muscle spasms, killing viruses and bacteria. THC and CBD show a powerful effect when used together. Patients tend to report more symptom relief when these cannabinoids are taken together. Also, CBD appears to temper the intoxicating effects of THC so patients can enjoy its therapeutic qualities without the more pronounced psychological effects.
While medical cannabis can benefit a variety of illnesses and diseases, it’s important to note the complexity of the plant. There’s hundreds of different strains which means finding the right dosage and components is important in order for you to maximize the health benefits.
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