On Tuesday July 9, Hawaii decriminalized marijuana, making it the 26th state to decriminalize or legalize the drug.
Medical marijuana has been decriminalized in more than half of the state in the US, though it’s still illegal at federal level.
Ever wondered why more and more states decriminalize marijuana or medical marijuana? You should ask those who are suffering chronic pain. Research has shown that marijuana performs better than OTC drugs on pain relief.
The new law in Hawaii allows people to possess up to 3 grams of cannabis with no danger of jail time but $130 fine. Repeat offenses and possession of larger amounts can still result in more severe sentences.
This is good news for people who suffer from severe chronic pain and cannot get help with OTC treatments. It offers them a new alternative for the pain that influences their normal life.
How cannabis relieves different types of pain?
Pain can be triggered by a variety of reasons. But generally, there are three categories of pain.
Nociceptive pain results from tissue damage. It usually happens when you get injured because the immune cells release some proteins and chemicals, which can lead to pains, to repair the damage.
Neuropathic pain is a common kind of pain which affects 7-10% of the population and can result from forceful injury, pinching, stabbing or disease that damages nerves. Chemotherapy is also a common cause of neuropathic pain because it destructs different types of cells in the body.
Central pain emerged as a catch-all term for types of pain that arise from dysfunction to the nervous system. Central pain usually arises in the absence of any known cause, which makes it particularly hard to treat.
Why cannabis works
The reason medical marijuana works is due to two substances it contains for pain relieving: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (YHC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC can make you high, while CBD doesn’t have mind-altering effects.
Medical marijuana can be taken by smoking the leaves, taking a pill or liquid, or having it baked with foods. Dosage, side effects, and the way to use vary with the way of taking.
The chemicals can connect with specific parts of cells called receptors to reduce the pain. However, detailed process of how the drug affects isn’t clear yet.
You can’t use medical marijuana freely as you want. Diseases you can use it to treat include Alzheimer’s, ALS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, seizures, hepatitis C, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and severe nausea.
What are the side effects?
The side effects of cannabis include
Lung disease (when smoked)
Injuries while working or driving high
Long-term effects on the brain
While cannabis is moderately effective for chronic pain, it cannot help with pain like sunburn or post-surgery, and may even make it worse.
For some people, cannabis actually increases their sensitivity to acute pain, according to experts.