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Over the last two decades, the cannabis plant, commonly known as marijuana, has been a subject of interest in the medical community. In some countries, medical marijuana is currently available for certain problems. Its efficacy as a pain reliever has been well-established. Although cannabis is most often related to alleviating cancer pain and loss of desire, its analgesic qualities could prove promising for individuals with back pain, fibromyalgia and numerous other chronic pain conditions.

How Does Cannabis Relieve Pain?

Much such as the opioid receptor system in the body which enables endorphins to get their pleasant, pain-relieving effects, the body also has a cannabinoid receptor system. There are 3 types of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids (made from the body), phytocannabinoid (made by marijuana plants) and synthetic cannabinoids produced in a lab.

The cannabis plant comprises a range of cannabinoids, each with its own qualities. The three main components for this discussion are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and beta-caryophyllene. THC is a mild pain reliever and also the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. CBD reduces inflammation, fatigue, nausea and nervousness. Beta-caryophellene is a powerful anti-inflammatory cannabinoid, and is found in highest concentration in cannabis essential oils.


The latest concept on fibromyalgia indicates that the brains of its victims procedure pain abnormally, or excessive pain signals are transmitted to the brain. Increasing the quantity of cannabinoids available to the body can help counteract the pain of fibrmyalgia. A little study, whose results were published in the April, 2011 issue of PLoS One, revealed fibromyalgic cannabis users to report substantial reductions in stiffness and pain.

Chronic back pain often involves inflammation, muscle spasms and/or nerve pain. Cannabis has been demonstrated to relieve all these symptoms, though research into adrenal pain relief have been most notable. A little study headed by Mark Ware, MD, analyzed the effects of cannabis with varying THC potencies on pain relief. Those who obtained the maximum potency, 9.4%, reported significantly decreased pain.

Some sources estimate that road bud contains 10-15percent THC, more than necessary for pain control. This may answer an important question for those considering medical marijuana: Do that I must get high? The answer is no. Since THC is the major psychoactive component in marijuana, reducing its levels and raising the degree of CBD will lead to fewer psychological effects while still relieving pain. There are practices in states that allow medical marijuana which provide breeds of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis.

The Debate

Marijuana is categorized as an illegal substance, which has created a stigma about it. More and more, science is discovering the curative effects of the plant, as well as working to synthesize its cannabinoids from the laboratory. Until the security of these synthetic compounds is supported by solid evidence, however, referring to nature’s origin is the most advisable.

Some are worried about the capacity of dependence associated with drugs. However, many approved prescriptions pain drugs, including opioids, are highly addictive. Cannabis has actually been proven to restrict opioid dependence. Aside from habitual addiction, which can be a concern with any drugs, there’s absolutely not any sign that cannabis poses dependency difficulties. A host of other harmful health effects related to common pain-killers, such as stomach, liver and kidney damage, in addition to overdose, aren’t associated with marijuana use.

The most popular method of use for cannabis is smoking. Lung and throat irritation are valid concerns for men and women that are contemplating medical marijuana for protracted pain control. Further research is required to evaluate the effectiveness of cannabis administered orally or via a ventilator.

As with any pain medicine, cannabis isn’t the cure for a painful condition. Rather, it is a helpful tool for pain management which needs to be used to temporarily alleviate symptoms while following a treatment program which attacks the source of your pain.