There is more and more evidence for the positive effects of cannabinoids as effective medicine to treat many cases of chronic pain and other conditions. Medical marijuana, as a chronic pain management tool, can reduce patients’ pain and improve quality of life, without the same serious side effects associated with use of some pharmaceutical pain relievers.
Chronic pain treatment and management are challenging for patients and doctors, however medical marijuana may be able to provide chronic pain relief where many traditional chronic pain medications fall short. Cannabinoids have well-documented pain suppressing properties that make medical marijuana an effective medicine to treat many cases of chronic pain syndrome. In scientific studies, most medical marijuana patients experience pain relief.
The scientific rationale for the use of cannabinoids for pain is clear, as throughout the nervous system, endogenous (naturally occuring) cannabinoids act as “circuit breakers.” They bind to specific receptors in the body, where they block the release of neurotransmitters. Because their receptors are widespread, cannabinoids, whether endogenous, plant-derived, or synthetic, regulate neurotransmission in many circuits, including in pain-producing pathways. To the extent that neuropathic pain stems from abnormal neuronal activity, it makes sense that cannabinoid receptor (CB) agonists should be analgesic, and their effectiveness has been shown in several studies through various administration methods.
The active ingredients that are most well know are delta9-tetrohydrocannabinol (delta9-THC, or simply THC) and the non-psychoactive cannabidiol, CBD. Prescription cannabinoids have been on the market for decades, starting in 1985 when the US Federal Drug Administration approved a purified THC preparation for the treatment of nausea.