Chronic pain can be incredibly debilitating. It is an incapacitating condition that impacts the sufferer’s daily mood, overall health, and well-being.  

Sadly, many treatments that are conventionally prescribed to those suffering from a chronic condition are usually ineffective. Even worse, is that those suffering from chronic pain are commonly prescribed opioids which are potentially toxic and addictive. In 2016, there were 1,045 Australians aged 15-64 who died of opioid overdoses, according to a report by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW Sydney 

Medical cannabis comes as an alternative to traditional medication. 

It has been 4 years since the Australian government agreed to change legislation allowing doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to patients in Australia.  

In 2019, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) granted over 25,000 applicationsi from doctors to treat patients with medicinal cannabis, mostly in the form of oil like CBD. Out of those applications, nearly half were for chronic pain treatment.  

 

* https://cannabisdoctorsaustralia.com.au/

What is chronic pain? 

A wide range of conditions are considered as chronic pain, including: 

  1. Neck pain
  2. Nerve pain
  3. Arthritis
  4. Back pain
  5. Fibromyalgia

A chronic condition is not limited to the above. There are no restrictions imposed by the TGA on the conditions that a doctor can apply to access medical cannabis for their patient. The TGA states that they will consider any condition lasting longer than 3 months that hasn’t responded to conventional treatments. 

To date, the TGA has approved Special Access Scheme (SAS) applications including, but not limited to, the following conditions: 

  • Chronic pain 
  • Cancer pain 
  • Neuropathic pain 
  • Palliative care 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Dementia 
  • Autism 
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Spasticity from neurological conditions 
  • Anorexia and wasting associated with chronic illness (such as cancer) 
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting 

How can Cannabis help with chronic pain? 

Today, cannabis is being researched for its use as anti-inflammatory medication, a sleep aid, and for palliative care purposes among many others. 

One isolated cannabis derivative, in particular, is showing very promising medicinal value. CBD oil has very little to no psychoactive reactions with significant benefits for those who suffer chronic pain. 

The peripheral nerves that detect pain contain abundant receptors for cannabinoids which have been shown to block peripheral nerve pain. 

The CBD component of marijuana does not cause a high effect like the THC element but instead works with pain receptors in the brain to create pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. 

Is Medical Cannabis effective for chronic pain relief?  

A comprehensive, Harvard-led systematic review of 28 studies assessed the effectiveness of medical cannabis to treat various medical conditions. The author determined that “Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence.”. According to these studies, 100% of 271 patients participated in 12 studies on neuropathic pain and chronic pain, with outcomes determining positive results among some patients. 

Furthermore, a University of Michigan March 2016 research found that cannabis may: 

  • Decrease side effects caused by other medications 
  • Improve overall quality of life 
  • Reduce the use of opioids (on average) by 64% 

Side Effects

Many people have reported preferring the side effects of cannabis rather than those they experienced from more traditional medications like opioids and anti-seizure drugs.  

However, medical cannabis also present side effects such as: 

  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Dizziness 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Problems with balance 
  • Problems with thinking and memory 
  • Dry Mouth
  • Anxiety 

So far, CBD oil, has been shown to offer a range of benefits.

CanView does not endorse the use of Medicinal Cannabis without lawful prescription. Just like any Medicine, Medicinal Cannabis may have both positive and negative side effects on the user, and should only be prescribed to patients by a Health Professional with the authority and expertise to do so. The information provided by CanView is for informational and educational purposes, and is of a general nature. If you are interested in accessing Medicinal Cannabis please talk to your doctor and request a referral to a Medicinal Cannabis clinic. 

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