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Cannabis and Chronic Pain

Woman rubbing neck in pain at her computer

Throughout the U.S., more than 50 million adults suffer from chronic pain. Injuries, conditions, and disorders are all potential factors of why someone might experience some form of it. Headaches, arthritis, and lower back pain are just a few examples. If you can relate with this condition, medicinal cannabis may be right for you. Here’s a little more background on chronic pain and what role cannabis plays in pain management. 

What is Chronic Pain?

Healthline defines chronic pain as pain that lasts at least 12 weeks. It can feel like a burn or ache, and occur at any time without warning. The likely cause is nerve damage, which prolongs the sensation of pain. Another reason could be an underlying health condition. According to the CDC, chronic pain “has been linked to restrictions in mobility and daily activities, dependence on opioids, anxiety and depression, and poor perceived health or reduced quality of life.”

How to Manage Chronic Pain

There are a few options available for managing chronic pain and prescription opioids might be the first thing that comes to mind. These powerful drugs, however, are highly addictive and their use requires careful monitoring. Harvard Medical School lists cold and heat, exercise, weight loss, physical and occupational therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and others as alternatives to opioids.

Medicinal Cannabis and Pain Management

Healthline also recently found that “more than 62 percent of people who use medical marijuana do so to treat chronic pain.” Pain is a common condition that is treatable through medicinal cannabis. This is thanks to its main two main cannabinoids, THC and CBD. The human body’s endocannabinoid system accepts these through CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors, specifically, have been shown to modulate acute pain.

Treating Nausea from Opioids

It’s possible that opioids become unavoidable for treating chronic pain. Fortunately, medicinal cannabis can still be used at the same time for treating pesky side effects like nausea. According to, “medicinal cannabis can be an ideal treatment for severe nausea.” Their research shows that cannabinoids have been able to provide relief from nausea since 1975. More specifically, types of THC and CBD have antiemetic properties.

Transiting from Opioids to Medicinal Cannabis

The medical world is trying to end the opioid epidemic, but there are still alarming numbers when it comes to overdose and death. The CDC recently constructed guidelines so that “patients have access to safer, more effective chronic pain treatment while reducing the risk of opioid use disorder, overdose, and death.” So what’s a patient to do when they no longer have access to opioids but still suffer from chronic pain? As their pain levels start to decrease, they can make a transition from taking opioids to solely using medicinal cannabis.

North Dispensaries: Coming Soon

The next thought for those suffering from chronic pain should be which strains of medicinal cannabis work the best for them. That’s a question North Dispensaries looks forward to answering when our locations in Jefferson County open. Stay tuned by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Still don’t have your Missouri medical marijuana card? Here’s how you can apply.

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