We can consider ourselves very lucky in Canada to have federally regulated medical cannabis. Other countries are still fighting for their right to use the plant as they see fit, despite the fact that study after study shows that both THC and CBD, the 2 most common compounds found in cannabis, ease pain and inflammation. Research shows that cannabis interacts with your pain-signalling cells, changing the way your nerves function.
Given that physicians typically use opiates for acute pain like that following surgery with mixed results, and that these opiates do not translate to long time use for chronic pain without running into some major negative implications, cannabis is a viable healthy alternative when used judiciously. Since studies suggest that opiates and cannabinoids reduce pain through different mechanisms, some suggest that cannabis based medicine combined with prescribed opiates can boost pain-relieving power while limiting the side effects.
How much do you need? Research shows that as little as 3 draws on the vaporizer a day helps with chronic pain.
There are many different types of pain; wounds, muscle pain, back pain, cramps and spasms all fall under the category musculoskeletal injuries. Cannabis ingestion as well as topicals can be useful in helping to alleviate this pain. If you are making your own topicals at home, remember to decarboxylate the plant first by heating it to a certain temperature before you add it to a cream or lotion. (The Magical Butter Machine is the perfect tool for this (see The Cannabis Show Episode 005). The infused topical will relieve pain, inflammation and muscle tightness in a localized area. Try ingesting/applying strains like Super Sour Diesel, Blue Dream or Afghan Kush (with the appetite suppressant terpene Humulene) or White Widow (with pain fighting Linalool, Myrcene and Pinene).
Neuropathic pain is typically caused by tissue damage and damage to the central nervous system. It’s when the nerves themselves sustain injury. It is often experienced as a burning sensation invoked by even the gentlest touch. It does not usually respond to narcotic painkillers. Patients who have fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis or who have been in car accidents often have this type of pain. THC and CBD can relieve inflammation in the brain and regulate pain signals released by your cells. Terpenes that are particularly neuroprotective include Pinene (found in Jack Herer), and Caryophyllene (Chemdawg, Rockstar, Sour Diesel), and Geraniol (Headband, OG Shark, Master Kush).
Anything ending with ‘itis’ indicates inflammation and, as we know, cannabis is a strong anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is one of the most common sources of pain. Studies show that CBD is up to 4 times more effective than codeine at relieving inflammatory pain. Try Cannatonic, Blue Dream, or OG Kush.
Cancer causes pain in a variety of ways, including inflammation, nerve injury, and the invasion of bone and other sensitive tissue by growing tumours. Clinical studies with cannabis on cancer patients with chronic pain show great effectiveness, as it acts on the body in different ways than opiates do. Since THC acts as an antiemetic (helps with nausea and vomiting) as well as an appetite stimulator, it is increasingly a go to for cancer patients seeking relief.
Chronic pain often leads to depression and stress. To combat these try Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies or Strawberry Cough.
Natural Health Services is here to help you navigate through finding a Health Canada regulated Licensed Producer who can provide you with the strains you need to help alleviate your pain, allowing you to lead a fuller more productive life.
As always, feel free to email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us Wednesday evenings for Cannabis 101, from 6:30 to 8 pm live at our Calgary and Edmonton locations (alternating locations every week). If you can’t be there in person, listen LIVE at that time online at www.naturalhealthservices.ca/events where you may type in your questions.