According to pharmaceutical industry data, pain is a $13.2 billion market. Millions of people around the world suffer every day from chronic often the cause of lost wages. In the U.S., it’s estimated that over 140 million days are lost to work because of back pain. The annual totals of both direct and indirect costs for chronic pain in the U.S. are estimated to be as high as $294.5 billion per year.
This means the costs of health care for patients with chronic pain might exceed the combined costs of treating patients with coronary artery disease, cancer, and AIDS.
In many instances, cannabis has been shown to not only decrease the side effects that result from taking opioids and other medications but also improve the quality of life for many patients. It’s very important to note, however, that you should never change your treatment regimen unless you are closely supervised by a physician. Drastic changes could have potentially damaging effects. Have a long, detailed discussion with your doctor to make sure he or she agrees that you would benefit from using medical cannabis for pain.
Medical marijuana is an affordable, natural alternative that lacks the side effects found in the medicines traditionally used to treat chronic pain. In 1975, researchers found that THC was an effective pain reliever for cancer patients and found that it lacked the significant or toxic side effects found in traditional medicines. Since then, countless other studies have shown that marijuana safely and effectively treats various types of chronic pain with little to no side effects or risk of dependency.
Americans from all walks of life and social classes have been badly impacted by the current opioid epidemic. According to one study, opioid prescriptions have risen 400 percent since 1999. On a daily basis, as many as 40 people have fatal reactions to prescription narcotic overdoses. Many chronic pain sufferers are looking for safer alternatives.
The legalization of medical marijuana/cannabis for chronic pain in many states has resulted in a pain-management revolution for many individuals. Using cannabis to treat pain means many chronic pain sufferers can significantly reduce their reliance on opioids.
About 11.2 percent of adults in the U.S. had suffered some degree of pain daily for at least three solid months.
Nearly 17.6 percent, or almost 40 million, U.S. adults experienced severe pain.
People suffering severe pain were more disabled, used more health care and had worse general health than individuals with less severe pain. Considering these statistics, it’s clear that chronic pain is endemic in modern American life.
How Marijuana Is an Effective Treatment
Years worth of anecdotal evidence points to the efficacy of marijuana to treat chronic pain conditions. Nowadays, medical and scientific communities are catching up with what many marijuana advocates have known for years.
So, what do the studies say? According to a Harvard-led review of 28 studies of cannabinoids to treat medical and pain issues published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the use of marijuana for chronic pain is supported by quality evidence.
Of the studies reviewed, all six generalized chronic pain studies found a substantial improvement through using cannabis.
Furthermore, a study from the University of Michigan from March 2016 and published in the Journal of Pain showed that marijuana:
Improved quality of life.
Reduced opioid usage by an average of 64 percent.
Decreased side effects of other medications.
Your body creates its own cannabis-like chemicals that affect various processes like inflammation and pain. It’s thought that cannabis works well to treat chronic discomfort due to these natural cannabinoid receptors we all have within our bodies, although more research needs to be done to ascertain exactly how marijuana works to relieve pain.
What Symptoms of Chronic Pain Can Marijuana Treat?
General non-specific chronic pain — for example, cancer pain or chronic neuropathic pain
Low back pain
Irritable bowel syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Central nervous system issues
Accident and injury-related pain
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