Can Medical Marijuana Help Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain has reached epidemic proportions in this country. Chronic pain is often defined as pain that lasts three months or longer. Although it’s more common in older adults, anyone can experience it. Approximately 50 million people suffer from chronic pain, and another 25 million suffer from acute pain caused by surgery and accidents.

One of the main problems with chronic pain is under treatment. According to the National Chronic Pain Outreach Association, seven million cannot relieve their pain without opiate medications, and yet, only 4,000 doctors were willing to prescribe it. Because of negative publicity, erroneous views about addiction, or the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) scrutiny, doctors are afraid of losing their license. Even if you can find a doctor to prescribe opiods, since tolerance can occur over time, many doctors will not prescribe an adequate dosage to combat the pain. Tragically, living with intractable pain can lead to depression, and depression can lead to suicide.

Although I don’t advocate the use of marijuana for recreational use, it has been found beneficial in the treatment of chronic pain. In addition to it’s analgesic effects, it is an anti-inflammatory, and it can work synergystically with opiod medications. Unfortunately, although opiod medications are effective in treating the pain in the beginning, over time a tolerance can develop, and they don’t work as well. Furthermore, research has shown except for the potential damage to the lungs, it is safer than many of the legal drugs used for pain. On the basis of animal models, there is no known case of legal overdose.

Not only can marijuana treat effectively treat pain, it can also treat the nausea associated with opiod medication usage. Unlike Marinol, a synthetic form of marijuana, inhaled marijuana usually offers immediate relief because it is absorbed into the blood at a faster rate, and it contains more cabbinoids than Marinol. Furthermore, it causes less side-effects than Marinol.

Unfortunately, until recently, the United State’s government has had outdated views on marijuana. Classed a Schedule I drug, it has been illegal and considered a dangerous drug with no medical value. However, slowly, viewpoints are changing. Unfortunately, although medical marijuana is a viable alternative in the treatment of chronic pain, even if it were legalized nationwide, there would still be the biased attitudes to overcome just like with the opiates.

In 2008, medical marijuana usuage and cultivation under a doctor’s recommendation was legal in thirteen states. Furthermore, in October of 2009, the Obama Administration issued new guidelines that medical marijuana patients should not be arrested or prosecuted as long as they or their caregivers are in compliance with state laws.


Source by Jennifer Jacobsen

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