To combat the opioid addiction epidemic, the medical community is actively seeking out alternatives for treating chronic pain that are not only just as effective, but also much less addictive and with fewer negative side effects. Cannabis has long been put forward as an effective alternative and it has become very popular in certain areas. But what does cannabis actually do for you?
Studies show again and again that cannabis is effective as a pain reliever. However, the physical benefits of cannabis go beyond merely providing pain relief. Most notably, it can reduce nausea and vomiting, which makes it a promising option for cancer patients or as a companion treatment to counteract the effects of opioid pain relievers.
Studies have also demonstrated another side benefit of alleviating insomnia, and there is some indication that it can target malignant cancer cells. While much of the research still focuses on using cannabis in conjunction with opioids, researchers are optimistic about cannabis’s potential as a standalone, non-addictive treatment option for chronic pain.
Mental Health Benefits
Chronic pain and the conditions that cause them (i.e. cancer, AIDS) are also related to higher rates of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. This is because chronic pain can significantly diminish one’s quality of life, while certain conditions that cause the chronic pain can cause fear and uncertainty regarding the future.
One striking benefit of high-quality cannabis is that it doesn’t just treat the physical pain—it can also address the associated anxiety and depression. This is because in many individuals the chemical THC found in cannabis promotes a sense of well-being and alleviates anxiety.
More Experimentation Needed to Mitigate Side Effects
Currently, studies do show that using cannabis can carry some negative side effects. Such side effects include dizziness, headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, and even nausea. These side effects are considered mild and are admittedly much less severe than the side effects related to using opioids or using no pain relief at all.
Still, most who use treatment for chronic pain would prefer to avoid negative side effects entirely. Fortunately, the research is promising. Simply adjusting the dosage of THC or changing the way cannabis is used (i.e. vaping instead of smoking) can help to eliminate any minor side effects. Make sure that you consult with a doctor before making any adjustments to your dosage or method of consumption.
In short, the science behind using cannabis to treat chronic pain is promising. Not only can it treat pain, it can also alleviate symptoms of nausea and insomnia and promote mental well-being. Perhaps the best part is that the possible side effects are mild, with further research focusing on how to eliminate them entirely.