Medical Marijuana Reduces Severe Chronic Pain: Effectiveness and Side Effects

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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


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


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


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)

Cardiovascular disease

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.

5 Answers

What strength do I need for Osteoarthritisis have it everywhere.Its bad in both knees ,my back and one ankle/ heal. It doesnt help me so far. Maybe I need a lot stronger caps. How long does it take to work.????
Have you tried NSAIDs, like ibuprofen? They're first choice for arthritis pain.

What medical marijuana are you using now? Dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) and nabilone (Cesamet)are the FDA approved drug, they're on prescription, usually used to relieve the nausea and vomitting after chemotherapy.
NSAID is the first-line treatment for pain in the osteoarthritis, such as ibuprofen, and celebrex.
I am in end stage kidney disease ( with my only kidney) and I’ve been told by my kidney specialist that I cannot EVER take NSAIDs as their is a huge risk of shutting down my only kidney.  I’m stating this because I’m afraid that some people ,who have kidney disease,  will inadvertently take NSAIDs without first talking to their doctor. This could be a very fatal mistake. Actually, in 2009, that’s how I lost my left kidney. I took Ibuprofen after doing some cleaning and I spent 5 weeks in the hospital on dialysis , fighting to get my kidney function going again. I’m willing to try like the MJane drops that go under your tongue but I am not well versed in what kind will give me the most pain relief for my chronic conditions. Anyone have any ideas?
Hi, shar, I am sorry for your experience. NSAID is harmful to the kidneys in only some people. It is something like allergy. Some people have allergy while others do not. In fact, NASID has been used by many people to control pain, and only a very small percentage get kidney injury. Acetaminophen is typically the safest painkiller available for use by kidney disease patients but should still be used under supervision by a doctor. Overuse of paracetamol can lead to liver failure.
Bull crap, ostoarthritis in your whole body needs more than ibuprophen/asprinsnd on top of that in higher doses diffently causes A lot ofgastrointestinal problems.thats what has happened to me. Don't think otc drugs work on everybody. If have Elhers Danlos syndrome which us a genetic disorder that cripples the body over time. Yeah right !
I thank you for your question. I didn't know that Advil would hurt your kidneys!I will stop from now. I have Scoliosis that is severe. Now what? Cindy
My doctor has me on Tramadol and Tylenol for my arthritis pain. I use to take ibuprofens and nsaids until I developed a GIST (Gastrointestinal Stromel Tumor) on my stomach. I also smoke marijuana with THC but considering going to edibles. I’ve been told to stay way from Advil as well.
Severe scoliosis can be partially corrected by spinal fusion, which is an orthopedic surgery at your back aimed to correct the scoliosis by fuse some of the vertebarea.
Tramadol is like Advil too. On that line. It thins the blood just like ibuprofen. I use to take it. I looked a spoted dog with all the bruising. Pain management doesn't want you to take any addictive but OCD are just as bad for our bodies. I had 5 vertebareas all at once. They fused them with 2long rods. Then Scoliosis set in. I was wondering if this new marijuana with no THC really would help me. I don't want to be cut again. It Hurts and recovery is Long!! Would any one tell me about this marijuana please. It's for pain and what is the cost?
Look up terpines, every strain of cannabis has there own blend and concentration of terpines this is what tells you the effect of the individual strain.
Thank you for the information.
Advil and Aleve cause Leaky Gut Syndrome, and that brings a lot of health issues. My Dr. found after ruling out all other possibilities that when I take daily full doses of Aleve and Advil I get generalized Edema, as much as 14 lbs in fluid retention in a week, I mention this to inform others who may have not linked this condition with Aleve and Advil. I also don’t say this occurs with everyone, it maybe a allergic reaction, who knows, but whether OTC or prescription, all drugs have side effects.Just because there OTC doesn’t mean the side effects are less.
WOW. That is happening to me right now. I had a an Intrathecal Pain Pump Implanted. As a precursor to the implant I withdrew from the Opiates that I had been taken for pain due to compression fracture in 3 vertebra . This happened over a 2 year time frame. Now the implant is in and the quantity of opiates has been reduced 95%. The 5% that enters through the pump goes directly to the injury.
So, long story short, I take OTC meds for issues that 7 years of opiates had covered up. And I have bloated and swelled with water retention like crazy. I have had wellness checkups and all of the normal tests for my age (mid 50's). This is the first thing I have heard that makes any sense. My knees have begun to HURT and swell. My ankles and feet swell constantly. I take begun taking Aleve and Ibuprofen daily for the last 3-4  months mainly because the pain pump does not block the pain 100%.

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According to researchers from University of Massachusetts, cannabis-related poison control calls involving the commonwealth's children and teenagers doubled after medical marijuana became legal in Massachusetts.

The researchers reviewed the data of Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention at Boston Children's Hospital from 2009 through 2016, four years before and four years after medical marijuana was legalized.

It turned out that calls for single-substance cannabis exposure increased 140%, nearly 80% of the calls came from healthcare facilities. Over a quarter of the cases were unintentional, with 19.4% of calls involving children from infancy through age 4.

However, the proportion of teens using marijuana is about the same, which means teens may not be aware of the potentially potent effects of edibles and concentrated extracts.

It is suggested to strengthen regulations to prevent unintentional exposure among young children and teens, with particular attention to edible cannabis products and concentrated extracts.
Indica is the best for pain, Sativa actually makes pain feel worse, I don’t know if the pain gets worse or it’s perceived to feel worse. I have experienced pain in many different forms for different health problems. I found vaping for me gets best results than edibles , lotions ,etc. I have gotten best results from CBD when it contains a little THC and other cannabinoids. The problem though with CBD is that it because legal before proper research from FDA was preformed, as is done with other drugs. So now there is no government regulation of quality, manufacturing or anything in production and sale of CBD products, causing a flood of CBD products manufactured around the world. The charge is expensive as CBD’s of high quality which initially came to market in states where marijuana was legalized but a majority of the products sold at convenience stores or online are junk and with no FDA regulation, it’s up to you to do your research. The pot stores are your best bet as all there products are checked and overseen by state regulations. This does not assure the level of quality of canabioids being sold is a proper dosage to help with medical conditions.
can you get high from cbd? to my knowledge it is simply pressed oil from industrial hemp. but ive seen people mentioned getting high from it.
Most of people answering do not have correct information about NSAID and Tylenol. Regular use of Tylenol can and has destroyed the livers. Leaving only a transplant for treatment. That's why they were made to lower maximum dosage. NSAIDs also is very hard on your liver. Every drug you take goes through your liver. It's like your bodies filter. However many drugs are eliminated through your urine. That's how it effect your kidneys. When they don't work correctly you can't eliminate the drug. Therefore the drug increases with each dose in the body because it's not eliminated. Now weed, pot whatever you call it was used for tuberculosis patients when they were sent to asylums for treatment. The ones that used it had a higher success rate of recovery because they would eat and were stronger to fight the illness. People with muscle problems would use it and within 30seconds the muscles start relaxing. It works for anxiety disorder and depression. There are strains that works on many different types of pain. It works on many many many illnesses. But you get those who have never used it saying it don't work and on and on. The pharmaceutical companies are the ones fighting this. They can't make it a pill because they can't pull out all the different substances within the different strains. Many people would not need their opiates or they would be greatly reduced. Psych meds would decrease. And so on. The pharmaceutical companies pay big bucks to try to keep it from being leagalized. And as far as getting high you can still function quite well. I would greatly drive with someone who smoked over a drunk driver. Those that aren't motivated smoking wouldn't be motivated anyway. A study was done on a drivers response time, who had smoked, to different situations and there was no delay or it was very minimal on their response time. It is not a gait way drug. Those people would turn into junkies anyway. The government years ago wanted a study done on pot to prove it was bad for people Before the depression. When it came back with many many many benefits and they couldn't find much negativity with usage, the government order that it could never be studied again. So the movie  propaganda refer madness was made. Those that are really messed up with smoking pot are also high on something else. The pharmaceutical companies would lose millions and the drug trafficking would be gone concerning pot. The states would make good money to fix roads and bridges and so on. We don't need all the chemicals in pills that are needing another pill to stop ill effects from first pill. Every pill you take potentially causes harm soom where else in your body.  There's a web site that tells you what strains are good for what problems you have. You do not hallucinate smoking pot. But yet they say it. Talk to people who smoke for medical or recreational. No different than a drink at the end of the day to relax.
Some people find it hard to pee after getting high and that causes UTIs. Is that true? That's what I learned from a TV series.
Well said, thank you.

Stage 4 Breast Cancer Bone Mets
Drop Mic! I'll have to share this with some of my peeps. I was on pain meds  for 10 years, including high doses of fentanyl. It got bad. I'm on disability now. Taking those meds actually caused me to over do it so therefore injuring myself severely over time. The meds began having a rebound effect and became pain inducing. I've spent the last few years 'detoxing' which included max doses of Tylenol & Ibuprofen AND medical MJ. I had some type of allergic reaction to a bug bite and ended up in the hospital for three days because my liver is shot from OTC meds. My enzymes have always been normal till now. Gotta see a specialist tomorrow... with my vape pen and a good hybrid fully-loaded cartridge! THC & CBD has been the one true medicine hero in my story. I am a lifetime smoker. I've NEVER heard of ANYONE overdose...over-do...sure. But weed checks you or you fall asleep. Now I order the strength, strain and use it for symptoms I experience which vary i.e. for pain , sleep, depression, anxiety, tremors, or even something tailored to treat 3 or more symptoms at the same time. I even grew my own Blue Dream organic, indoors in Alaska. It wad a great Christmas experience. I learned a lot and have researched this medicine and have complete faith that MJ is here to stay!
Didn't mean to type Christmas in my comment. Have no clue how it snuck in. LoL. Aye aye aye!
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