Pain is one of the leading reasons Americans turn to alternative health approaches.

Did you know an estimated 25.3 million American adults (11.2%) have pain every day, nearly 40 million adults (17.6%) experience severe levels of pain, and an estimated 126 million adults (55.7%) reported some type of pain in the 3 months?

So, chances are pretty good you've experienced pain in your life. Some pains go away fairly quickly, and some linger.

Lingering pain, pain persisting for longer than 12 weeks, is considered 'chronic pain.'

For many patients, chronic pain stems from a primary condition, such as diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and many others. It can also encompass such areas as physical, pathological, neurobiological, psychological, and social pain.

Studies have been showing that cannabis – with its neuroprotective and neuro-generative properties – can be a real solution here.

Let’s take a look at why cannabis is a healthier pain management solution.

Cannabis as an alternative to opioid painkillers

"Nearly all the opiate painkillers physicians prescribe 'are just as addictive as heroin,' Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director."

The most common treatment for chronic pain suggested by doctors in America is opioid painkiller prescriptions.

In May 2016, Federal health officials directly stated the opioid epidemic in America is a 'doctor-driven' crisis and discouraged doctors from prescribing opiates.

The crisis began in 1996, when OxyContin came on the market. Doctors began overprescribing this type of high strength painkiller, with the end result being many patients began life long battles with opioid addiction, leading to all types of health problems, including liver damage, brain damage, or even death from overdose.

Because of these debilitating side-effects, people want healthy alternatives.  

Cannabis has been found to be an effective form of treatment for chronic pain, and unlike opioid painkillers, it doesn't harm internal organs or cause the debilitating side-effects opioid painkillers do.

The science is clear - cannabis works

‘The Unspoken Wellness Benefits of Cannabis,' Cannabis Health Summit 2016 talk by Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harborside Health Center.

 A 2016 study by The Hebrew University in Israel reveals cannabis can be very effective at treating chronic pain.

176 participants, who had been previously unresponsive to conventional medicines and treatments, inhaled a monthly amount of 20 grams of cannabis for a six-month period.

At the end of the six-months, 66% of the participants ‘experienced improvement in their pain symptom scores after cannabis therapy, and most reported "robust" improvements in their quality of life.'

In addition to the relief in pain and improved quality of life, patients also reduced their consumption of opioid painkillers by 44 percent!

And recently, The University of Michigan studied 185 chronic pain patients and discovered a 64% reduction in painkiller use after increasing their cannabis consumption. Patients also reported a 45% improvement in quality of life since using cannabis to manage pain.

What methods of cannabis consumption are best for treating chronic pain?

Always favor organic or naturally-grown cannabis. Growers often use powerful and toxic pesticides that get absorbed into the plant. You don’t want those toxins in your body. 

There are many different ways to consume cannabis.

The 'best method' is the method that provides the most relief to the patient.

Cannabis' effectiveness at treating chronic pain depends on the person, and the condition. Chronic knee pain from a sports injury may need to be treated differently than chronic pain related to diabetes.

The most common form of consumption is smoking cannabis.

Smoking cannabis, or smoking anything for that matter, is not as healthy as other forms of consumption. Vaporizing provides a much healthier alternative, while still providing a similar medicinal experience for the patient.

Cannabis edibles are also a great alternative to inhaling cannabis. Eating cannabis can provide a much stronger effect than inhaling cannabis, so you will want to make sure to be careful when determining the right dose.

Topicals, soaking salts, and trans-dermal patches are great for treating chronic pain with cannabis. These products provide the wellness benefits without the 'high' of cannabis.

I personally suffer from chronic pain related to arthritis and plantar fasciitis in my feet. On some days, using a quality cannabis topical rub is the only thing that helps me walk.

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When starting to experiment with cannabis, the initial difficulty will be determining what form of cannabis consumption is best for your particular condition(s) along with determining what type and dose of cannabis works best for you.

You will need to experiment with different forms and dosage levels to see which provide the most relief and comfort for you.

Remember, you can always consume more cannabis, but consuming too much initially can result in an unpleasant experience, so start low and go slow!

What form of cannabis do you prefer when treating chronic pain?

What form of cannabis do you prefer when treating chronic pain?

smoking
11%
vaporizing
7%
eating edibles
20%
topical rubs
10%
soaking salts
3%
transdermal patches
3%
a combination of multiple forms
39%
other
7%