Published on: 08/1/16Chronic pain is a silent epidemic. Worldwide 1.5 billion live with it and in the United Kingdom and United States sufferers amount to over a third of the population. It is defined as ‘any pain lasting more than 12 weeks, whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or even longer’.
- Chronic Pain
Like Carola Perez who broke her coccyx as a child, something that has condemned her to a life of almost intolerable pain. ‘It’s like a kind of burning sensation in my legs or sometimes they just go to sleep’ she says. ‘My whole body temperature shoots up and I have to spend days in bed. I have been known to pass out completely with the intensity’.
Different countries have different approaches. If you’re lucky you might be referred to a physio or a pain clinic, but the reality for most is a lifetime of heavy prescription painkillers with varying levels of repercussions on the body.
- Dangers of Opiods
Even Bill Clinton has spoken out about some people close to him dying from accidental opiod overdoses. CNN doctor Sangay Gupta remembers a conversation he had with the former President who had seen two close friends’ sons lose their lives. He told Gupta ‘”Look, no one thinks having a few beers and an Oxycontin is a good idea, but you also don’t expect to die.”
In the UK figures from the Office for National Statistics show that deaths from the abuse of strong painkillers have been rising steadily with more Britons dying from them than from taking heroin or cocaine.
- Medical Cannabis
- CBD Oil for Chronic Pain
You see there’s the rub. In the UK Cannabis has a Schedule 1 status and is considered to have no therapeutic benefit, condemning chronic pain sufferers to breaking the law. Something End Our Pain is campaigning to change.
‘People who are in pain are either missing out on an effective treatment, or risking criminal prosecution’ they state. ‘We need to act now to put control back into the hands of doctors, and to allow further medical trials to proceed unhindered’.
Across the pond in the United States medical cannabis is available in 23 states despite it too being classed as Schedule 1 under federal law. So if you happen to live in the right state a doctor can write a prescription for medical cannabis which can be collected from one of the many dispensaries. If not, tough luck.
In fact a recent study from a team of researchers from the University of Georgia found that in states where medical cannabis was legal, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a pro-medical cannabis law, with on average 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers being prescribed in a given year.
This of course isn’t conclusive proof that cannabis is effective, but it does suggest that doctors are choosing to prescribe it over conventional pain medication.
- Medical Cannabis Oil Research
As does the study carried out by the Department of Orthopedics in the Hasharon Hospital, Israel, assessing the outcome of treating patients suffering from chronic low back pain with medical cannabis alongside existing pain medication. Presented recently at the 2016 International Cannabinoid Research Society, encouraging results were reported whereby ‘short term usage of smoked medicinal cannabis appear to improve both physical and mental function while decreasing pain levels of chronic low back pain sufferers’.
So why does cannabis seem to be so effective for people experiencing chronic pain? The answer lies in the endocannabinoid system; the body’s network of chemical compounds and receptors that work to maintain its homeostasis or equilibrium. Key to this process are endocannabinoids (compounds produced in the body) such as Anandamide and 2AG, that when binding to the CB1 receptors in the Central Nervous System and CB2 in the periphery, can influence the immune system, the inflammatory response, pain modulation and cell death.
- Hemp Oil Medicine
For instance, inflammation, a contributing factor to many cases of chronic pain is modulated by the CB2 receptor. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD bind to cannabinoid receptors to produce analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Cannabinoid compounds, particularly the acidic versions found in the raw plant (THCA and CBDA), also bring about anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the enzymes that produce the pro-inflammatory molecules, prostaglandins. It has also been reported that THC, the main psychoactive component in cannabis, has twenty times the anti-inflammatory capacity of aspirin and up to twice that of hydrocortisone. And then there’s beta-carophyllene, a substance found in cannabis and other foods such as cloves and black pepper, that when binding to the CB2 receptor has been shown to reduce pain.
So with anecdotal evidence in abundance and increasingly scientific studies pointing to cannabis as an alternative to current prescription medicine protocol, why are many governments resisting a move towards the legalisation of medical cannabis?
- The FDA Has Given The DEA its Opinion on Hemp Medicine Oil
Others consider the relatively small amount of clinical research to be a stumbling block, attributed to a lack of interest from pharmaceutical companies that see Cannabis as difficult to patent and therefore not worth investing money in. Although the US government’s patent taken out on cannabinoids as neuroprotectants and antioxidants somewhat flies in the face of this theory.
Either way, the current situation for many chronic pain sufferers remains the same. Suck it up, take hardcore, potentially dangerous pain meds, or break the law and use cannabis.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Endoca and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cure. Endoca CBD products have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).