Cannabis and the Management of Chronic Pain

This review will provide the reader with the foundational basic and clinical science linking the endocannabinoid system and the phytocannabinoids with their potentially therapeutic role in the management of chronic pain.

Abstract

The endocannabinoid system is involved in a host of homeostatic and physiologic functions, including modulation of pain and inflammation. The specific roles of currently identified endocannabinoids that act as ligands at endogenous cannabinoid receptors within the central nervous system (primarily but not exclusively CB 1 receptors) and in the periphery (primarily but not exclusively CB 2 receptors) are only partially elucidated, but they do exert an influence on nociception. Exogenous plant-based cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) and chemically related compounds, like the terpenes, commonly found in many foods, have been found to exert significant analgesic effects in various chronic pain conditions. Currently, the use of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol is limited by its psychoactive effects and predominant delivery route (smoking), as well as regulatory or legal constraints. However, other phytocannabinoids in combination, especially cannabidiol and β-caryophyllene, delivered by the oral route appear to be promising candidates for the treatment of chronic pain due to their high safety and low adverse effects profiles. This review will provide the reader with the foundational basic and clinical science linking the endocannabinoid system and the phytocannabinoids with their potentially therapeutic role in the management of chronic pain.

Authors: PG Fine, MJ Rosenfeld

Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal (2013) 4:1

Clinical Trials, Studies and Publications (click to access):

The endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids, and pain.

Medical Marijuana: Safe and Effective Alternative Treatment for Cramps

Cramps are uncomfortable and unpleasant. There is medication to ease the pain, but pharmaceutical medications have negative side effects that are sometimes just as bad. Medical marijuana is a great safe and effective alternative to treat cramps without the nasty side effects.

Cramps Overview

Cramps are involuntary spasms in muscles, causing the muscle to not relax. These spasms cause pain and discomfort. Menstrual cramps often occur before or during menstruation in many women. As the uterine wall breaks down, a new one is formed. This causes the muscles to contract and spasm, causing the cramps. The pain from cramps can range from mild to quite severe, requiring some kind of treatment to ease the pain.

Symptoms

Menstrual cramps cause pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen. Sometimes the pain will radiate to the lower back or thighs. The pain can range from a dull ache to sharp pains as the muscle spasms. Generally, symptoms occur a few days before menstruation and end soon after bleeding begins. Some women may also have headaches or nausea with their cramps.

Medical Marijuana for Cramps

Medical marijuana is a great treatment for cramps. Not only is it effective but it is also safe. It does not cause the unpleasant side effects that are associated with pharmaceuticals. Many of the symptoms associated with cramps are exactly what medical marijuana helps to relieve.

  • Decreases nausea that may be caused by severe cramps
  • Relaxes muscles and stops spasms, which cause cramps
  • Overall pain reliever to decrease pain caused by cramps

The pharmaceutical drugs can also stop some of the pain associated with cramps; however, they can also cause unpleasant and dangerous side effects that might be just as bad as or worse than the cramps. Common side effects from pharmaceuticals are:

  • Nausea
  • High doses can damage the liver
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches

Cramps cause pain and tenderness. There are medications that can help with cramps, but they have bad side effects that may cause more problems. Medicinal marijuana is a safe and effective way to treat cramps and doesn’t have the negative side effects that come with pharmaceutical drugs.