Does Weed Help With Pain? Relief & Benefits
This post is part of our Best Dispensaries in Arizona series, brought to you by Cannabist.
Chronic pain is so widespread that it affects nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States. That means a vast population of our country’s people are currently suffering from some sort of pain. Due to its complex nature, chronic pain requires treatment that is also multifaceted, and traditional painkillers have proven they just won’t cut it anymore.
Not only are prescription pain medications highly addictive, but they are also not sustainable and often come with a boatload of adverse short-term and long-term side effects. Reports from 2019 show that an estimated 10 million people misuse prescription opioids, preventable opioid deaths increased by 41% in 2020, and an additional 18% in 2021. The opioid epidemic has been responsible for far too many fatalities, and it’s time to look to alternative, less risky methods for pain remission.
Using cannabis as a means of relieving pain is not only safer than most prescription pain medications on the market, but also offers other positive effects for the user. Weed can even serve as a form of relapse-prevention for former sufferers of drug addiction and abuse by decreasing stress-induced cravings, anxious thoughts, impulsive behavior–all of which can lead to a relapse.
Table of Contents
- How Does Marijuana Help With Pain
- Potential Benefits Of Using Marijuana For Pain
- What Is The Difference Between THC And CBD For Pain Relief?
- What Are The Different Methods Of Using Marijuana For Pain?
- How To Find The Right Strain And Dosage For Pain
- How To Purchase Marijuana
- Key Takeaways On Weed And Pain
How Does Marijuana Help With Pain
Inflammation and resulting pain can be caused by a number of things–from pathogens and infections to tweaking a muscle during exercise, lack of stretching pre- or post-workout, or more serious physical conditions. Whether you’re in pain due to a rough night out on the town, a soccer match you gave your all, a painstaking gym session, or simply because you slept wrong, it’s important to get the help you need to restore your physical body back to proper health.
Does weed help with pain? Does marijuana help with inflammation? Heck, yes to the double power! Cannabis possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can minimize swelling and inflammation in the body, reducing overall sensations of physical pain.
But how does marijuana help with pain?
Cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory agents. The endocannabinoid system within the body works to regulate specific functions like pain sensation. The THC in cannabis interacts with the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors–CB1 and CB2–to lessen pain signals. In other words, temporary pain relief occurs when compounds in cannabis bind with the body’s endocannabinoid system!
Furthermore, research shows that sufferers of chronic migraines experience fewer instances of migraines as a result of incorporating cannabis for pain relief. Medical cannabis can also assist with chronic pain incurred from health conditions like spasticity, Parkinson’s disease, and arthritis.
Potential Benefits Of Using Marijuana For Pain
Does weed help with pain? Fortunately, using marijuana for pain garners great results. CBD has been used to treat pain for centuries, originating in Chinese medicine, and modern research demonstrates that the compounds in marijuana–such as THC and CBD–can not only alleviate pain, but can treat chronic pain caused by damaged nerves, otherwise known as neuropathic pain.
Now that we’ve established that you can harness the powerful properties of cannabis for pain relief, the question now becomes–which strain? Is indica or sativa better for pain?
Indica for pain, according to many research studies, is the preferred strain to manage it. The reason being that indica products can promote sleep and offer sedative effects, which makes it easier to relax. Indica can also help ease non-migraine headaches. Indica is also fabulous for neuropathy, spasticity, and joint pain.
That being said, sativa for pain reduction is the move if you are hoping to improve your energy levels and boost your mood. Those experiencing pain that still want to be productive and revitalized should opt for sativa strains.
All in all, weed is an extraordinary alternative to conventional pain medication, and can support victims of chronic pain and opioid abuse. One study concluded that over 80% percent of cannabis users who had used opioids in the last 6 months found cannabis to be more effective than opioids for pain, and also more powerful independently than in tandem with an opioid.
Now that we’ve tackled your burning question–”Does weed help with pain?”–let’s go over the differences between THC and CBD to gain better clarity on the compounds within cannabis.
What Is The Difference Between THC And CBD For Pain Relief?
So how does THC help with pain, exactly? The differences between using THC and CBD for pain relief are the psychoactive properties of THC. The psychoactive compound of THC binds to cannabinoid receptors to produce an elevated state of mind–the euphoric high that you won’t find with CBD. THC helps improve sleep and lessens anxiety, as well as enhances one’s quality of life. For those who are presently on opioids, cannabis’ sedative properties can help decrease cravings caused by stress, as well as promote relaxation. It should be noted that cannabis can cause drowsiness, and in some cases mild hallucinations, which people with chronic pain might not want to experience as part of treatment.
CBD, on the other hand, can target the activity of endocannabinoid receptors to interact with neurotransmitters in order to ease inflamed areas of the body. You can consume CBD edibles or apply CBD creams and lotions that offer pain relief, without giving you a buzz, which is great for those with chronic pain who need immediate and constant relief but don’t want to feel high. CBD can relieve nerve pain and pain associated with inflammation, namely rheumatic diseases like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as general joint pain.
What Are The Different Methods Of Using Marijuana For Pain?
There are different methods of using marijuana for pain including smoking fresh flower via a joint, bong, or other smoking device, inhaling concentrates from a vape, and edibles. Cannabis oil and tinctures can be taken orally or dropped into your favorite beverage or on top of your favorite snack. For those who prefer not to ingest or consume cannabis, you can apply salves, balms, creams and topicals that contain THC and CBD to the body. Transdermal patches that contain cannabinoids are another option for fast acting relief if you are experiencing pain.
Of course, smoking provides more immediate relief for pain, muscle soreness, and injuries, relative to edibles, which come on more gradually. What method works best for you depends on your personal preference, age, genetics, race, underlying conditions, as well as how high your pain scale is, how severe your symptoms are, and what symptoms you are experiencing.
How To Find The Right Strain And Dosage For Pain
In order to find the right strain and dosage and product for your pain, you’ll want to consider getting a medical marijuana card. A medical professional can then assess your pain tolerance and current issues and provide an accurate dosage and strain for your particular needs. The budtenders at dispensaries can also be super helpful in guiding you to the right strains, products, and smoking methods for your individual issues.
How To Purchase Marijuana
If you’re experiencing physical pain–whether it be from a recent injury, a leg day at the gym, or strenuous hike–run, don’t walk, to purchase weed from Cannabist in Tempe, Arizona. Well, if you’re in severe pain, you might not be able to run, but you can order online ahead of time and pick up in store at your earliest convenience.
This Dispensary in Tempe is carefully curated to showcase all the best products on the market at favorable price points. They offer tasty, fast-acting gummies from brands like Hedy, pre-rolls from Triple Seven, vapes from Amber, and cold brew from Aloha Tyme Machine. In other words, whatever you need, they got it, and there are budtenders eager to assist you in finding the right products to help cure your pain.
Key Takeaways On Weed And Pain
Now that we know the question “does weed help with pain” is a yes, what do you say we recap what we’ve learned about weed and pain relief?
- Cannabis is considered to be an effective–and less risky–alternative to highly addictive opioid treatment for chronic pain
- THC and CBD can serve as substance misuse treatment for drugs like opioids and heroin
- Cannabis stimulates the brain’s cannabinoid receptors and diminishes levels of suffering from pain and inflammation
- Cannabis can improve several symptoms related to pain such as sleep troubles, muscle stiffness, inflammation, as well as enhance general quality of life
- CBD does not contain psychoactive properties like THC, but can still provide pain relief
- A medical professional and a budtender at your local dispensary can help further assist in guiding you to the appropriate smoking method and product for your specific pain and discomforts.
Should you experience pain–short-term or long-term–just know that taking opioids isn’t the only option to facilitate your recovery–nor is it the safest. It is important to seek advice from a medical professional to provide you with a proper diagnosis and steps to address your symptoms adequately. Cannabis has several amazing benefits that can improve your quality of life and make the journey to recovery from injury or conditions associated with pain a much more seamless and pleasurable process.
Now what are you waiting for? The dispensary awaits!
Media credits: Images of weed and pain concepts in this article are copyright of LaJolla.com.