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  • Olivia Castro

Can Medical Marijuana Help Chronic Pain?

The number one condition that patients use medical marijuana for is chronic pain. This fact alone shows us that not only is medical marijuana a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain but also that there are so many people dealing with this condition day to day.

Chronic pain is in fact just that, it is chronic meaning it doesn’t go away. Once diagnosed, a patient will have to learn how to manage that pain. People who have chronic pain can absolutely lead fulfilling lives! But the key to living that life is finding the right treatment path that is personalized for you.

Here at Tennessee Marijuana Card, we empower our patients with the tools to take control of their health and wellness through medical marijuana treatment. We also are a news source for all things marijuana in the state of Tennessee. Join our community and stay in the know by reading our blog!

In today’s article, we will be talking about what chronic pain is, how medical marijuana can be an effective treatment, and how to get your medical marijuana card with us once Tennessee’s medical marijuana program is up and running!

What is Chronic Pain?

Being informed is the first step to figuring out if medical marijuana is right for you. Let's get into some more detail about this condition. Chronic pain is persistent pain which lasts longer than average pain tends to last. Usually when you experience an injury or illness, pain is involved and then it goes away. For those with chronic pain, it does not go away and persist longer than 3-6 months.

Chronic pain can make everyday activities a struggle. It can be hard for patients to get ready in the morning or tie their shoes. The limitations that chronic pain can put on a patient takes a toll on their emotional and mental health as well. Many of those with chronic pain also struggle with anxiety and depression because of how the pain interferes day to day.

The Causes of Chronic Pain:

Chronic pain can be caused by many different things but it most often develops after an injury or an illness. Chronic pain can develop after a back injury, a surgery or due to broken bones. It also can result from medical illnesses such as nerve damage, cancer, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, Lyme disease or more.

Doctors have also thought that the root of chronic pain is just as much mental as it is physical. Some experts believe that those with this condition can have a pre-existing issue with their system of nerves and glands which causes them to handle stress differently than most. This results in them feeling pain differently as well.

These can all be causes that initially trigger the onset of chronic pain. There are even cases where there is no exact injury or illness that can be pointed to at all. This is what makes chronic pain such a hard condition to deal with. Pain is subjective and everyone has different pain tolerance levels so it is hard to measure chronic pain and the toll it is taking on the body. This makes communication between doctor and patients key!

Types of Chronic Pain:

Chronic pain can be complicated and affects many different parts of the body but there are three main categories that chronic pain can be placed into:

  • Neuropathic pain:

    • This kind of pain is a result of nerve damage. Neuropathic pain is caused from unusual signals to the brain that creates unwarranted pain in the body.

  • Visceral pain:

    • Visceral pain is rooted in the organs. Disturbances in the organs are more difficult to pinpoint because not every organ can signal pain.

  • Somatic pain:

    • This pain is a result of an external experience such as broken bones or injuries. It also is the type of pain that is most commonly associated with chronic pain.

Symptoms of Chronic Pain:

Chronic pain occurs when the body sends signals that run throughout the nervous system and signal pain. These signals are typical after an injury or illness, it is how your body warns you something is wrong. But these signals are abnormal when they appear without cause or well after healing time has passed. These signals can last for months or even years and significantly impact the everyday life of a patient. Here are some of symptoms common for those dealing with chronic pain:

  • Aching

  • A burning sensation

  • Muscle stiffness or soreness

  • Mood changes

  • Loss of appetite

  • General weakness

  • Lethargy

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

How Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat Chronic Pain?

Thankfully, chronic pain has been one of the most rigorously studied medical conditions in relation to cannabis! For those that suffer from chronic pain, this news is great. You can turn to the research to prove, once and for all, that medical marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for your medical condition.

A comprehensive review was conducted by Harvard Medical School. This review examined 28 studies that looked at the efficacy of cannabinoids on the treatment for pain. The review concluded that marijuana is in fact an effective treatment for chronic and neuropathic pain and is supported by high quality evidence. Out of the studies that were in the review, all of the studies on chronic pain and neuropathic pain showed that patients found a significant improvement in their symptoms after medical marijuana treatment!

A separate study from the University of Michigan, published in the Journal of Pain, showed that marijuana improved the quality of life for patients, reduced the use of opioids by an average of 64% and decreased the side effects from other medications.

Chronic Pain and the Endocannabinoid System:

So how exactly does marijuana treat chronic pain in the body? Let’s look a little deeper at the actual science behind the marijuana plant and how it works in the body.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for maintaining homeostasis within the body, in other words, it maintains a balance. Problems within the ECS arise for chronic pain patients when the receptors for signaling pain are abnormal, as happens with chronic pain. Cannabinoids help ensure that the body can fulfill its functions. The two major cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2 which are responsible for body regulation. Marijuana has endocannabinoids that can attach to these receptors and help bring about balance in the ECS.

The cannabinoids in cannabis help treat the symptoms of chronic pain! CBD, in particular, has been a strain of marijuana that many chronic pain patients have found refuge in since CBD is best known for its pain relieving qualities.

Many patients dealing with chronic pain need treatment that does more than traditional medication. Traditional medications also have caused a lot of damage to the community as opioids are over prescribed and other forms of nontraditional medication, like cannabis, are stigmatized. Here at Tennessee Marijuana Card, we believe that you deserve relief from chronic pain!

How Can I Get Medical Marijuana For My Chronic Pain?

Right now, Tennessee does not have a fully operating medical marijuana program but with many bills in the House and Senate, this is not too far in the future!

Based on how other medical marijuana programs work, in order to qualify for your medical marijuana card in Tennessee you will likely have to first be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, have a written certification from a licensed physician and have proof of residency in Louisiana via a driver license or state ID card.

Chronic pain is one of the most common conditions on medical marijuana qualifying conditions list. Hopefully, once this program passes you can sign right up with a chronic pain diagnosis!


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Tennessee Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (833) 781-5611, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Tennessee Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information!

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