My back is killing me…
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, weed and a slew of other names, has a long history of being used for its helpful therapeutic benefits. One area where cannabis has shown promise is in back pain relief and muscle spasms.
Let’s talk back pain relief…
But before we dive into the specifics, let’s first clear up some common misconceptions about cannabis. Contrary to popular belief (and false media reporting), cannabis is not just a recreational “drug” used to get “high.” While the psychoactive compound ingredient THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) does produce a feeling of euphoria, it is just one of many compounds found in cannabis. In fact, the plant contains over 100 different cannabinoids, each with their own potential therapeutic effects. You can’t say that can you, Tylenol.
So, what makes cannabis a potential treatment for back pain? Well, it turns out that our bodies have a natural system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that helps regulate a wide range of functions, including pain perception. ECS is made up of tiny receptors found throughout our body, including the brain and spinal cord. When cannabinoids, such as those found in cannabis, bind to these receptors, they can help modulate pain signals and reduce inflammation which is the general cause of our pain.
There are a few unique ways marijuana may help with back pain relief:
Reducing inflammation: Cannabis contains compounds known as cannabinoids that may help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a common cause of back pain, so reducing inflammation can help with back pain relief. This is the basic effect of a “pain” killer prescribed or sold over the counter yet cannabis holds none of the addictive compounds as the opiates.
Modulating pain signals: Our bodies have a natural system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that helps regulate pain perception. Cannabis may help modulate pain signals by binding to receptors in the ECS. More about this above…
Improving sleep: Chronic pain can often disrupt sleep, and poor sleep can make pain worse. Cannabis helps to improve sleep, which can in turn help reduce pain.
We should all be thankful to the scientists…
There have been a number of studies that suggest cannabis may be effective in reducing chronic back pain and other muscle pains. For example, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Pain (crazy journal title, huh?) found that cannabis was closely associated with huge reductions in chronic lower back pain. Another study, published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, found that cannabis was very effective in reducing chronic back pain in a majority of patients with semi regular use.
Other things they found in the studies:
Chronic pain: Cannabis has shown promise in the treatment of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, cancer-related pain, and chronic neck & joint pain.
Multiple sclerosis: Cannabis may help reduce muscle spasms and spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis. This is something on constant study as the finding for this could potentially help millions of folks.
Epilepsy: Some studies have shown that cannabis may be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in certain types of epilepsy. These studies are taking cannabis use to a whole new level as well.
Crohn’s disease: Cannabis may help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Cannabis may help reduce anxiety and improve sleep in people with PTSD. It has been found to greatly reverse sudden feelings of despair and worry in many patients.
Ah, the fine print…
Take note that more research is needed to fully understand all of the potential benefits of using cannabis for back pain. We find that the best research is done on the personal level. Through proper use and keeping your own notes on the benefits of your cannabis intake you can easily decide what works best for your back or muscle aches. Suncrafted Cannabis’s Middleboro Dispensary is here to help also when you need us. While a great many of our patients find relief from cannabis use, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution and may not work for everyone. Additionally, like any medication, there can be potential side effects to consider so it’s important for you to talk with your doctor and weigh out the pros and cons. Given, that there are so many ways to use cannabis for back pain relief we’re sure you can find a solution once you come to a personal decision.