Medical Marijuana and its Effect on Chronic Pain

About 50 million Americans -- fully 20% of the population -- suffer from some level of chronic pain. That’s more than the combined total of everyone with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It’s little surprise, then, that use of painkillers can become its own issue, particularly when chronic pain can no longer be suppressed with consumer-strength medications. Long-term use of stronger drugs frequently leads to drug resistance, requiring larger doses to maintain pain reduction, or addiction, frequently an issue with opioid medications. 

When there’s no effective cure for the underlying cause of pain, there seems to be little alternative to drug use for pain management. There are, however, conservative treatments for chronic pain that don’t rely on opioids. One of the alternatives that currently enjoys a high profile is medical marijuana. At Integrated Spine & Pain Care in Farmingdale and Deer Park, New York, Dr. Mikael Sarij and his team of pain management specialists, have helped many patients manage pain and reclaim active lives through the responsible use of medical marijiuana. 

Evidence-based results

Before entering the mainstream, medical marijuana was often surrounded by stigma. Its effects on chronic pain are supported by clinical study, and you may be surprised to learn that the most frequent use of marijuana in the US is to treat chronic pain and not recreation. In fact, 62% of people who use medical marijuana use it to treat chronic pain.

Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When taken orally, topically, or inhaled, THC triggers the natural chemicals in your body and brain that decrease pain and inflammation — your natural cannabinoid receptors. As a result, your perception of pain is reduced, so you may feel more relaxed and experience less discomfort from chronic pain. Medical marijuana may be effective in treating pain associated with: 

The use of marijuana for medical purposes dates to 2900 BC in China. It isn’t a new discovery, but rather an ancient medical practice for a variety of health conditions. In early 19th century-Europe and America, doctors researched and published over 100 publications about the uses and effects of medical marijuana. In more recent history, many more studies and clinical trials indicate that medical marijuana is an effective pain therapy. 

Are you a candidate?

If you suffer from chronic pain, and you’re looking away from pain management that depends on prescription medications, including opioids, medical marijuana may help you decrease your dependence or completely eliminate the need for these addictive painkillers. 

Dr. Sarij and his team will review your medical history as well as performing an examination to explore your chronic pain symptoms. If pain management is indeed your best option, he and his team will discuss the merits of using medical marijuana as part of your treatment plan. 

An alternative to addictive opioids

Medical marijuana can be an effective alternative to addictive opioid pain medications. Opioids frequently come with significant, unpleasant side effects and significant withdrawal symptoms. The American opioid epidemic results in thousands of opioid-related overdoses that end in death each year. 

Reducing your chronic pain symptoms without addiction can improve your quality of life. Medical marijuana can make it possible for you to resume the activities you enjoy or function in your job more easily without cognitive interference from your medication. 

Find out more about medical marijuana and its applications, contact us at Integrated Spine and Pain Care to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sarij or book online today.

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