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Guide to Managing Pain With Marijuana, Risks of using marijuana

Using marijuana to manage Pain

Story Highlights
  • How much marijuana should you take for pain?
  • What marijuana product works best for pain?
  • Is marijuana good for aches and pains?
  • How do you deal with extreme physical pain?

Approved methods for using marijuana to manage pain

According to the consensus, medicinal cannabis should be considered for patients with neuropathic pain, inflammatory pain, allodynic pain, and mixed pain. Medicinal cannabis can be used to manage chronic pain using one of three protocols (conventional, conservative, or rapid) based on patient characteristics, and patients can be moved between protocols to support a more tailored approach. For oral formulations, the task force recommends starting with cannabidiol (CBD) in most cases, as many patients benefit only from CBD. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive.

Cannabis is safe and effective for pain relief, but there are some side effects and risks. Starting with small and low THC doses is a good strategy for minimizing risk, and regular breaks are also important. It may take trial and error to find the product and dosing regimen that give you the best balance of relief and side effects. Marijuana may not be for everyone.

In addition to helping with conditions such as anxiety, depression and insomnia, cannabis is considered a viable option for those suffering from chronic and severe pain. Whether as a palliative treatment for short-term ailments, the wonder ingredient of this plant has become an openly accepted alternative. This powerful herb may be just what’s missing in a patient’s arsenal of pain relievers when more traditional medications don’t work well.

Managing pain with marijuana

“Cannabis for Chronic Pain presents a long-awaited, reasoned discussion of the potential of cannabis as a tool for treating a variety of challenging medical conditions. Dr. Provides compelling evidence, especially for chronic pain, and demonstrates that cannabis outperforms all medications in terms of risks and benefits.” –David Perlmutter, MD, New York Times bestseller Grain Brain and brain makers first author of

People with arthritis and other chronic musculoskeletal pain are increasingly turning to cannabis products to relieve a variety of symptoms, including pain, fatigue, insomnia and anxiety. In fact, a recent CreakyJoints survey of arthritis patients found that more than half had tried cannabis or CBD product for medical reasons.

For the IASP, research continues on how cannabis and cannabinoids might help patients manage their pain. Anecdotal reports and politically driven campaigns to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use only serve to obscure the public’s problems and create confusion.

The risks of using marijuana

This study assessed the safety of cannabis use in patients with chronic pain over a one-year period. The study found higher rates of adverse events among cannabis users compared with controls, but no serious adverse events at an average of 2.5 grams of herbal cannabis per day.

The availability of cannabis has increased due to legalization efforts, and the IASP recognizes the need to evaluate the risks and benefits of using cannabis for pain management. A systematic review of cannabis and cannabinoids is particularly important given the opioid epidemic of recent decades.

Importantly, marijuana use alone or in combination with opioids increases the risk of opioid abuse. 10,11 There is no evidence that cannabis is effective in treating opioid use disorder. FDA-approved medications are available to treat opioid use disorder.

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