Updated on November 26, 2021. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Shatha Atiya.
“Everything is going to be alright. Maybe not today, but eventually.” — A common chronic pain saying. But, how many times was the pain so bad that these words meant nothing to you? Or did you finally accept that constant pain would be your new normal? Have you lost hope in living a pain-free and fulfilling life? Has physical therapy and traditional medicine failed you? How much money have you spent seeking relief? Visits to pain centers and pain clinics? Taking all kinds of drugs each promising to be the answer? But in the end, you experienced unfavorable side-effects? Well, it’s time to seize ‘eventually’. Medicinal marijuana has been tried, tested, and proven to give patients the lasting relief that they deserve.
Read on to learn about medical marijuana treatment options and see testimonials from patients who experienced a change in their lives after using medical cannabis to treat their chronic pain. Perhaps this is your moment to end your pain and live a cheerful life once more.
What is chronic pain?
We all experience pain from time to time, however sometimes the pain lingers on long after it should have dissipated and it becomes chronic instead. Chronic pain persists well beyond the normal recovery period and is usually a symptom of an underlying health condition. So, in simple terms, it’s pain that continues over a long period of time. This may be weeks, months, or years. In fact, chronic pain may linger even after treatment. Sometimes this pain can be experienced in episodes or may be a constant problem. Because of the unrelenting nature of chronic pain, those affected often experience a cutback in the quality of their lives. So what causes pain to become chronic in the first place?
Causes of chronic pain
There are many reasons for chronic pain. For instance, lifestyle habits, traumatic injury, or illness. Some types of chronic pain may be a combination of several factors at the same time. For example, lower back pain can be caused by poor posture, being overweight, or an underlying medical condition, all at the same time. Regardless of the origin, medical marijuana is an effective treatment when it comes to diminishing severe pain. But, before we dive into the specifics let’s take a look at the main causes.
Physical injury often happens after an accident, like when you sprain a muscle or it can result from overexertion. In many instances, chronic pain develops when there is significant damage to the nerves. So, even after the physical injury is healed, you may continue to experience that pain. Owing to the extent of the damage, the nerves continue to send pain signals to the brain long after the physical recovery. The solution? Using pain medication that suppresses these pain receptors and stops them from sending these signals, and of course plenty of rest.
Medical conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and cancer can cause long-lasting severe pain. In the case of cancer, for example, chemotherapy treatment causes patients to experience awful side effects. Among them chronic pain. What makes things worse is that sometimes patients choose to stop their treatment altogether when the pain becomes unbearable. The consequence of that decision is often fatal, however. The good news is that medical marijuana can be used in sync with their therapy to reduce the side effects of the medication and disease.
Types of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be split into two broad categories:
- Neuropathic pain: this is when there is damage to the nerves.
- Nociceptive pain: this is when the nociceptors in your nervous system malfunction and repeatedly send pain messages even after the injury heals.
Most patients experience this kind of pain as a burning sensation and affected areas are often very sensitive to touch. It is caused when a disease damages the somatosensory nervous system.
Causes of neuropathic pain
Neuropathic pain is often a result of serious medical conditions. For example, multiple sclerosis, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and HIV-related neuropathies. Additionally, neuropathic pain may be caused by the side effects of cancer treatments. For instance, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, radiation injury, or surgery.
This pain persists long after the normal healing period after surgery. Additionally, it extends for more than three months after surgery and was absent before the surgical procedure. Yet, post-surgical pain is different from phantom pain. Whereas phantom pain comes from a missing or recently removed organ, post-surgical pain exists after surgery and not an amputation. Generally, post-surgical pain happens when there is a surgical injury to a major peripheral nerve.
A migraine might cause a severe throbbing or pulsing sensation usually on one side of the head. The pain can be so intense that it intrudes on your daily activities. The causes of migraines are not fully understood since a variety of factors have to be considered. For example, genetics, and environmental factors.
Common migraine triggers:
- Hormonal fluctuations in women: Changes in estrogen levels especially during menstrual periods, pregnancy, and menopause have been known to set off migraines. Additionally, hormonal medicines such as contraceptives may also increase the frequency of migraines in women.
- Stress: Stressful situations in life are often connected with migraines. Therefore, stress-relieving techniques may significantly reduce the regularity and intensity of migraines.
- Sleep changes: Adequate sleep is essential for stress reduction and overall health. Thus, little or no sleep may bring about migraines. In the case of insomnia, migraines may be extremely frequent.
This is a type of chronic pain that occurs when blood vessels in your face press on the roots of the trigeminal nerve. As a result, the nerve transmits pain signals experienced as stabbing pains. Patients suffering from trigeminal neuralgia often experience severe pain when doing simple activities. For example, brushing their teeth, eating, smiling, or even putting on make-up. This condition mainly occurs in women over 50.
Causes of Trigeminal neuralgia
- Aging may play a role.
- Multiple sclerosis damages the myelin sheath protecting the nerves and may cause trigeminal neuralgia.
- A tumor compressing the trigeminal nerve.
- Also, surgical injuries, a stroke or facial trauma may be contributing factors.
Chronic pain is a common occurrence among cancer patients. But, the pain can be brought down to tolerable levels.
Causes of cancer pain:
- Cancer itself: This pain occurs when a tumor presses against nerves, bones, or organs. For example, spinal cord compression occurs when the tumor spreads to the spinal cord and begins squeezing on the nerves.
- Surgical pain: Surgery is a common method of treatment for cancers that grow as solid tumors. Thus pain can be expected after a surgical procedure.
- Phantom pain: Phantom pain is the outcome of a surgery that involves the removal of a part of the body. For instance, you might experience pain or discomfort after a mastectomy from the removed breast.
- Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment: These treatment procedures cause immense pain to the patients. And, if not managed, patients often quit on their treatment. However, this should not be the case as it is manageable.
- Testing procedures: various cancer tests for diagnosis or to see how the patient responds to treatment may lead to a lot of pain.
Arthritis is a prevalent cause of chronic pain and disability. The disease causes inflammation and causes damage to joints thus making the patient suffer from excruciating pain. Even so, this pain can be handled and patients do not need to feel the full effect of the negative impact of this disease.
Severe neck pain
Severe neck pain may stem from a serious injury. For example, a car or diving accident. Furthermore, osteoarthritis may also contribute to neck pain. If the pain from your neck causes numbness, stiffness, or spreads down to your arm or legs it’s important to consult your doctor.
Common causes of neck pain
- Bad posture.
- Herniated discs in your neck vertebrae.
- Injuries and medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and meningitis.
- Smoking cigarettes may also cause neck pain.
- Carrying heavy bags over your shoulders.
Chronic lower back pain
If the stabbing sensation or the dull ache in your lower back region lasts for more than three months, it’s chronic and you should see a doctor. At times lower back aches arise from muscle sprains or sciatica. A muscle sprain occurs when you perform heavy lifting or vigorous exercise. But, for sciatica, the discs meant to protect the space between your vertebrae (intervertebral disc) may bulge or break. As a result, these discs push on a nerve; often the sciatic nerve. The outcome is severe pain running from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down one leg.
Common causes of lower back pain:
Job: If your job involves heavy lifting or pushing. Then, you are at risk of developing lower back pain since there is a lot of pressure on your spine. However, people who work on their desks may also develop lower back pain if they sit long hours without proper lumbar support and they begin to slouch.
Bags: Perhaps the most unlikely reason for lower back pain since most people carry their bags over their shoulders. Even so, the upper body is supported by your lower back. Therefore carrying a heavy bag may increase the pressure on your spine, especially if you carry it on one shoulder. Eventually, this may cause lower back pain.
Posture: Don’t slouch! It’s that easy. Having good lumbar support when seated is essential to have great posture and prevent back pain.
Intense workouts: Overdoing it in the gym or during sports activities will definitely cause unnecessary back pain. Especially after long periods of inactivity. So it’s best to take it easy in the gym as you gradually get stronger before doing more intense workouts.
Herniated disks: The intervertebral disks between your spine may rupture or bulge due to aging or injury. Thus, causing a lot of pressure on your spinal nerve roots. This is a source of intense pain and treatment is required to alleviate it.
Chronic medical conditions: Several serious medical conditions may inflame your spinal nerves causing intense pain. For example, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
This occurs when a herniated disc applies pressure on the sciatic nerve. The pain usually starts from your lower back, then through your bum, and finally down to the back of your leg. The pain is often on one side of the body.
Common causes of Sciatica:
Age: As we age, changes in the spine such as herniated disks and bone spurs may cause sciatica.
Obesity: Excess body weight causes a lot of pressure on your lower back. As a result, the ‘cushions’ between your vertebrae bulge or break. Consequently, applying pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Sedentary lifestyle: Inactivity or sitting for long periods of time also increases the chances of developing sciatica since improper form or posture leads to tension in your back.
Occupation: Jobs involving a lot of heavy lifting tend to cause a lot of strain on your back. Furthermore, driving over long periods of time may also be a risk factor. However, there is no conclusive evidence of this.
Diabetes: People with diabetes are exposed to significant nerve damage.
Severe injury from an accident: An accident may cause damage to your spine and the injury may touch on the sciatic nerve.
Chronic knee pain
This type of pain is common across all age groups. Knee pain may be a result of injuries such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. But, medical conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout may also cause knee pain.
Possible causes of knee pain
- Obesity puts a lot of weight on knee joints.
- Lack of muscle flexibility and strength. Strong muscles help stabilize and protect joints while muscle flexibility provides a full range of motion.
- Certain sports or occupations such as construction and farming.
- Previous injury on the knees.
Abdominal pain may be caused by non-medical conditions. For example, indigestion, constipation, or menstrual cramps in women. But, chronic abdominal pain may be a symptom of a serious health condition. For instance, irritable bowel syndrome, or Crohn’s disease.
Chronic pelvic pain like most pains discussed may be a symptom of an underlying debilitating medical condition or a condition in its own right.
Causes of chronic pelvic pain
- Medical conditions include endometriosis, musculoskeletal problems, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian remnant, fibroids, irritable bowel syndrome, and interstitial cystitis.
- Also, psychological factors such as depression, chronic stress, or a history of sexual abuse escalate the risk of chronic pelvic pain.
Some pain or discomfort is normal during menstrual periods. But, unbearable pain may be an indication of dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is a medical condition that causes extreme pain and cramping during menstruation. Moreover, painful menstrual periods may be caused by underlying medical conditions such as fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, and endometriosis.
The effects of chronic pain on your mental health
Enduring chronic pain is not only a physical problem but also a psychological burden. Your family will often be worried about you and feel helpless because they don’t know how they could help improve your condition. In truth, battling constant pain can take a toll on your mental health. Some of the psychological effects of chronic pain include:
Persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest, and low self-esteem are common when you’re dealing with chronic pain. Additionally, pain may make you withdraw from your usual activities. Consequently, bringing feelings of loneliness.
Anxiety can crop up when you’re in constant worry about your persistent aches and a possible serious medical condition. Furthermore, you become fearful and are always thinking of possible scenarios ahead (often bad ones).
The constant pain or the unwanted side effects of prescriptions drugs may keep you up at night. Given that sleep is essential for health and prosperity, the right medication should not only support one part of your life while taking away the other. Instead, the right medication should provide balance and relief.
Chronic pain may make you more irritable and frustrated. Moreover, you might find yourself even more resentful if you’re dealing with chronic pain and other serious medical conditions at the same time.
Opioids are common drugs prescribed for chronic pain. But, the more you use them for pain relief, the more you build a tolerance for the drug. As a result, you end up taking more of these drugs to get the same effect. And, over time, this may snowball into a full-blown addiction. Alarmingly, a 2015 CDC report revealed that 3 out of 5 overdose deaths involved opioid use.
Dealing with severe and persistent pain takes up a lot of physical and mental effort. As a result, you’re are left fatigued. Furthermore, severe medical conditions and prescription drugs may also bring about fatigue.
Chronic pain accompanied by depression and anxiety often makes you lose your appetite due to stress. Furthermore, some painkillers may cause nausea and reduced appetite.
Treating Chronic Pain
Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for chronic pain
Over-the-counter drugs for pain or painkillers, include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, Tylenol, aspirin, and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Both acetaminophen and NSAIDs mitigate pain caused by muscle aches and stiffness. NSAIDs reduce pain by limiting the production of prostaglandins which are substances in our bodies that cause pain while acetaminophens work on the part of the brain that receives pain messages.
Topical pain relievers applied to sore muscles are also available as OTC drugs. They come in various forms such as lotions, creams, and sprays. Examples of topical pain relievers include Capzasin-P, Aspercreme, and BenGay.
Prescription pain medications include corticosteroids, opioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, some NSAIDs, and lidocaine patches.
Corticosteroids reduce inflammation to relieve pain. Often, they are given in pill form or injections that target the affected joint. Mostly when treating arthritis.
Nonetheless, corticosteroids have serious side effects. For instance, weight gain and salt retention, peptic ulcer disease, mood changes, insomnia, weakened immunity, thinning of bones and skin, and high blood sugar. To reduce these risks, they are prescribed in the lowest dose possible and for a short period of time.
Opioids are narcotic prescriptions. Some examples of pain-relieving opioids include morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and codeine. Unlike corticosteroids, opioids don’t cause bleeding in the stomach. Even so, they can be extremely addictive and fatal in the event of an overdose. Especially when used to treat chronic pain.
Common reactions to opioid use include drowsiness, nausea, constipation, itching, breathing problems, and addiction.
Antidepressants are used to treat pain and emotional conditions by adjusting the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Some antidepressants (tricyclics) are especially effective for treating neuropathic pain. Chronic pain conditions treated by low-dose antidepressants include migraines and menstrual pain.
Patients taking antidepressants might experience blurry vision, constipation, difficulty urinating, dry mouth, fatigue, loss of sexual desire, and nausea.
Anticonvulsants are usually used to treat seizures. But, they can also be used as pain medication. The specific way these drugs relieve pain is unclear but it’s assumed that they diminish the response of nerves responsible for pain. Examples of anticonvulsants include gabapentin and pregabalin. Common side effects include dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
How medical marijuana can treat chronic pain
The science behind cannabis and chronic pain
You have an endocannabinoid system in your body that plays a role in pain control. Additionally, cannabinoid receptors found in your endocannabinoid system determine the effects cannabinoids have on you. There are two cannabinoid receptors in the human body, cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2).
CB1 receptors are mainly found in your central nervous system and affect your individual pain experience. These receptors also play a role in the signaling of pain to the brain through the spinal cord. Physiologically, CB1 receptors can affect your emotions, memory, executive functioning, and your brain’s reward system. CB1 is the receptor mostly responsible for the psychotropic effects of cannabis.
CB2 receptors play an important role in pain via their role in the body’s immune response due to their anti-inflammatory effects, although they also have pain-relieving properties.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the dominant cannabinoids found in marijuana. Cannabis is used to treat pain because of how the active components THC and CBD act on CB1 and CB2 receptors.
THC acts on both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and it also stimulates the brain’s cannabinoid receptors. This activates the brain reward system and reduces the pain levels. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis. It binds to cannabinoid receptors and produces an elevated state of mind, known as the ‘high’. This binding also inhibits neurons engaged by pain.
CBD reacts with pain receptors in the brain to exert pain-relieving anti-inflammatory effects.
THC results in pain relief, nausea relief, and that high feeling.
CBD alleviates pain, inflammation, as well as anxiety, and is non-psychoactive.
The effect of marijuana on chronic pain
A recent study conducted by Kevin F. Boehnke, Saurav Gangopathyay, Daniel J. Clauw, and Rebecca L. Haffajee sought to analyze the reasons for medical marijuana use. The result of the study revealed that 64.5% of patients (in 2016) took cannabis to relieve chronic pain. Additionally, of all patient-reported qualifying conditions, 84.6% had either considerable or conclusive evidence of therapeutic effect.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed the 2016 National Health Interview Survey data. An estimated 20.4% of adults in the U.S. had chronic pain. This translated to over 50 million adults who suffering from chronic pain in 2016, and the number continues to grow.
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs found that among 65% of patients taking cannabis for chronic pain, around 80% of them found it exceedingly helpful. As a result, 82% were able to reduce, halt or stop taking OTC painkillers, while 88% stopped taking opioids altogether.
Medical marijuana vs. OTC & prescription drugs
Physical therapy is an effective method of pain treatment. Additionally, patients usually feel better and get stronger during treatment. Physical therapists usually look for the source of the pain and recommend certain targeted exercises that provide relief. Despite the immense benefits that physical therapy offers there are some downsides. For example, it may be ineffective for back and neck pain, many weekly appointments must be kept, treatment sessions are lengthy, and the cost of treatment is very high.
Various studies have come to the conclusion that acupuncture is actually a very effective treatment for various types of chronic pain. For example, musculoskeletal pain, migraines, osteoarthritis pain, chronic back, and neck pain. Additionally, acupuncture may also prevent migraines. Furthermore, the relieving effects of acupuncture last over time. Unlike most methods mentioned earlier, acupuncture is a relatively low-risk method of treatment. And the only downsides may include soreness, minor bleeding, and bruising where the needles were inserted. Other risks include dizziness, fainting, local internal bleeding, convulsions, hepatitis B, nerve damage, and increased pain. But, these are rare occurrences.
This is a rare treatment for chronic pain and is often the last resort when all other methods have failed. Moreover, surgery is only an option if there’s a specific source of chronic pain, and any viable surgical procedure will depend on the cause of the pain. For instance, a surgeon may do a discectomy for chronic sciatica. This involves the surgeon removing a section of the herniated disc in order to ease the pressure off the sciatic nerve. Given the delicate nature of the surgery, there are many downsides to this treatment method. First, it is very costly, secondly, surgery may fail to achieve the desired effect of pain relief, and the procedure is very risky.
Pain clinics and centers
Pain management clinics specialize in diagnosing and dealing with chronic pain. These institutions use medical, physical, behavioral, and psychological techniques during the treatment process. Pain clinics equip patients with skills and techniques to manage chronic pain and enable them to be more productive at work. The great advantage is that pain clinics put more focus on the person rather than the pain. As a result, recovery happens on all fronts. They track your progress and a good pain program involves your family to help you achieve your goals. Given that pain clinics incorporate various methods of pain therapies, it is one of the best options for treating chronic pain. But, the high costs and time-consuming nature of the therapy are the major downsides of this method of treatment.
Medical Marijuana Options
Medical marijuana strains come from 2 main species of the cannabis plant:
- Cannabis Sativa
- Cannabis Indica
But, there is also a hybrid version of marijuana which is a cross between Indica and Sativa.
In regards to the best strain for chronic pain, an online survey conducted online was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2014. The survey revealed that Indica strains were preferred for pain management, sleep, and sedation while Sativa strains improved mood and energy.
There are many ways to consume marijuana. The form of medical marijuana you take may depend on personal preference, your cannabis doctor’s advice, and the types of medical marijuana available to you. For instance, states like Minnesota prohibit the smoking of raw cannabis flower or bud, while in Hawaii CBD products are prohibited.
Related: Smoking vs. Edibles – Which Marijuana Medication is the Best for You?
Here are the common methods of taking marijuana and their effectiveness:
This is where you burn the weed and smoke it directly. It could be from a blunt, pre-rolled joints, or vaping. The effects are usually felt after 2 minutes. And, peak after 30 minutes. So, it’s one of the best methods if you need instant relief. Also, vaping causes you to absorb more active compounds of marijuana than smoking a joint.
This involves eating or swallowing cannabis. Edibles are a common ingestible and are sold in many marijuana dispensaries in various interesting forms. For example, CBD gummies, weed cookies, infused chocolate, capsules, and mints. But, uptake is slower and less predictable. And, effects can be stronger and longer-lasting than other methods. Not the best option for those seeking immediate relief.
Can be taken through the mouth or at the base of the tongue. They get absorbed into the bloodstream really fast. So, you feel the effects almost immediately. Also, tinctures are very easy to measure and dose, and is therefore considered the best way for exact dosing.
These are best used to reduce localized pain and inflammation. They come in many forms such as creams, lotions, and sprays. If you have joint pain, apply the topical to the problematic part for relieving effects. Moreover, you won’t get high from using topicals.
For dosing, it’s important to consider your weight, type of pain, and daily habits. Additionally, consider the THC and CBD ratio. Above all, consult with your doctor for guidance on the proper dosage and strains to subdue your pain.
Despite there being limited scientific research on the effectiveness of medical marijuana in the treatment of chronic pain. The preliminary scientific research, data, and consumer testimonials do make it a strong contender for the best option for treating severe pain, especially when other treatments have failed. It’s evident that many patients have turned to medical marijuana to ease their suffering while at the same time minimizing the cost of their treatment. Be it the financial cost or the cost to their health. Perhaps medical marijuana will indeed end your suffering and enable you to thrive, not just survive.
Speak to a medical marijuana doctor
Treating chronic pain with medical marijuana isn’t about guesswork. For the best results, it’s important that you speak to an experienced medical marijuana doctor about your needs, in order to modify the treatment to meet your individual goals. Despite the stigma around cannabis, communication between you and your medical provider is important for a successful treatment regimen. If you find it hard to speak to your primary caregiver, you could always sign up with QuickMedCards to speak to a marijuana doctor. Not only are they knowledgeable and experienced in marijuana therapy but also very compassionate. They make sure they understand your chronic pain and recommend the best forms of treatment. Additionally, they also follow up on your progress and tweak your regimen to ensure your treatment works.
Get your medical marijuana card
To access medical cannabis legally you need a medical marijuana (MMJ) card from a state where medical marijuana has been legalized. To date, 38 U.S states and Washington DC have legalized medical marijuana. At QuickMedCards, we offer the cheapest, fastest and most professional service for patients seeking to register for their respective state medical marijuana programs. Currently, we are operational in 17 states and we offer telemedicine consultations for new applications and renewals in 14 of them. The other 3 states need an in-person appointment. We are operational in:
- Maine (Telemedicine)
- New York (Telemedicine)
- Oklahoma (Telemedicine)
- Maryland (Telemedicine)
- Arizona (In-person)
- Minnesota (Telemedicine)
- Virginia (Telemedicine)
- Pennsylvania (Telemedicine)
- New Mexico (In-person for the first appointment, telemedicine for the following appointments)
- New Jersey (Telemedicine)
- Missouri (Telemedicine)
- Louisiana (Telemedicine)
- Iowa (Telemedicine)
- Hawaii (In-person for the first appointment, telemedicine for the following appointments)
- Delaware (Telemedicine)
- Arkansas (Telemedicine)
- Connecticut (Telemedicine)
- Ohio (Telemedicine)
- West Virginia (Coming soon)
Science and data may play a role in your decision making yet you may have your doubts. You might ask, “Will this work for me?” and “Did medical marijuana work for someone with my condition?” Naturally, we interviewed some patients and asked them whether medical marijuana helped ease their chronic pain. Certainly, not only will their answers provide you with some clarity but also some well-needed inspiration. Here are some first-hand experiences from Christopher, Amanda, and Jessica:
“It certainly can and in my case has. I was taking 30 milligrams of MS Contin (opioid medication) 3 times a day for over 8 years. With my family doctor’s supervision and recommendation, I started using medicinal cannabis for my chronic pain. Soon, I managed to cut my opiate use by two-thirds and 6 months later I got off the morphine completely. I’m also Type 2 diabetic, somehow I lost 40 lbs and got my A1C to 6.4. For me, medical marijuana has given me back my life. I’m still in pain nearly 24/7 but I was with the morphine too. With the MMJ it was possible to do things despite the pain whereas with the morphine I was pretty immobile.”
“I grew desperate to relieve my pain, which made it impossible to do much of anything. I even struggled with walking, working, and sleeping.
So earlier this spring, I started taking cannabis gummies containing 2 milligrams of medical marijuana between four and five evenings a week, shortly before bed. I live in Massachusetts, where medicinal and recreational cannabis is legal.
The most instant effect I’ve observed since taking medical marijuana is that I sleep much better. Yet, it’s a distinct kind of sleep than I’ve experienced compared to taking something like a muscle relaxant, which tends to knock me out cold and leaves me still feeling dazed and exhausted the next day; even if I sleep for 10 hours non-stop.
My sleeping patterns under the influence of medical weed seem more natural. When I wake up the next day, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated, rather than passive.”
“I started using medical marijuana after being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in my late fifties. After diagnosis, if something could go wrong, it usually did. Since I could not take most pain prescriptions (opioids) and the standard OTC or prescription non-opioid medications were ineffective. Too many bad side effects and allergic reactions.
Marijuana (flower, smoked) was a life-saver. Smoking pot decreased my pain, my bouts of insomnia, my daily nausea, and basically, helped me feel more normal. I did not feel particularly ‘high’. I felt calmer, less anxious, less depressed, and most importantly, it helped me feel more optimistic. And when you have breast cancer, you need all the help you can find to get through such a tough, life-altering time. For some of us, the after-effects of breast cancer treatment continue after treatment. Life is still quite difficult for me on every level because of what didn’t go right or created other health issues.
Since then, I have tried pot-based salves, gels, roll-ons, oils, butter, edibles, vapes, pipes/water pipes, and even CBD suppositories recently for wicked back pain (it beats another surgery). And more flower! Love me some good flower. And no constipation like with opioids, no stomach damage, no threat of fatal addiction, no vomiting, etc. I am so happy that I tried pot and it works for me.”
- Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis License Holders in the United States — National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
- Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults — United States, 2016 — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Why Do Most Patients Use Medical Marijuana? Chronic Pain — Healthline
- Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain — U.S. Pharmacist
- Chronic Pain Patients’ Perspective of Medical Cannabis — National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
- What are the best cannabis strains for chronic pain — Medical News Today
- The Empowered Pain Patient’s Guide to Medical Marijuana — Practical Pain Management
- Medical Marijuana — Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School
- Pain Medications — WebMD