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Chronic pain’s a big problem in our country, in the United States and around the world. It can lead to loss of functional work opportunities. It can lead to depression. It can, people take long acting, long term medicines that can potentially cause lethality if used in a high dose, could cause constipation, that cause itching, that cause hypogonadism. All of these problems are from the use of opioids which are derived from the opium poppy which are mainstays in the treatment of chronic pain.
The problems with chronic pain are that it’s disabling and also that the treatments for it can also come with a whole host of very difficult severe to mild side effects. But it turns out that marijuana also is effective in numerous chronic pain syndromes, has been shown in actual clinical studies, controlled trials, especially nerve-type chronic pain syndromes where you have damage to a nerve or some type of situation going on where a nerve-type pain is going out of control and going on for more than three months. And it turns out that if you smoke cannabis, in clinical studies, compared to a placebo cannabis, you can get greater than 30 to 40 percent reduction of pain in a large percentage of those subjects compared to placebo. That’s been shown over and over.
And then in the basic studies where they use animals and try to, like, develop models for pain, every model that you develop for pain in those models, cannabis or cannabinoids relieves pain. So it’s really a natural or well-established pain relieving compound. In some cases, you might be able to reduce. If you use cannabis or marijuana in your pain treatment you can reduce the risk of other treatments that may be more toxic. In some cases you can go off of all other treatments. I’ve seen patients like that.
I’ve written up some review articles like in the Clinical Journal of Pain called Cannabinergic Pain Medicine as a whole field of subfield in pain itself relies on the system in the body that’s called the cannabinoid system that actually helps to send pain signals up and down in the body and actually helps our natural pain, one of our natural pain suppressing systems. And also, these different compounds called cannabinoids in cannabis that have been shown to relieve pain. It’s itself a whole field in pain.
So in clinical journals of pain it turns out that there is actually articles about the use of cannabinoids, which are the chemicals in cannabis, as its own treatment system for pain because the system in the body that the cannabinoids interact with is itself involved in our pain pathways.
So there is a huge interest in literature in the world of pain treatment which relies on all the science that we have accumulated with how cannabis works in the body.