Why use cannabis as pain treatment?

Modern medicine offers patients many ways to treat their pain. All sorts of pharmacological products promise pain-relief benefits, from over-the-counter painkillers to doctor-prescribed opioids.

Unfortunately, virtually all of these pain killers have adverse side effects, particularly when used long-term. Opioid-containing medications, such as codeine, fentanyl, oxymorphone and hydrocodone, for instance, put patients at risk of constipation. They interact with neurotransmitters in the bowel, reducing its function.

Opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also cause nausea. In offering these drugs to patients, doctors frequently have to prescribe various anti-nausea therapies to lessen the side effects.

Even simple drugs that people have been using to combat pain for many decades can cause problems. Aspirin, for instance, is well-known for causing stomach bleeding and intestinal ulcers. Likewise, ibuprofen can potentially cause kidney problems, as can another common painkiller in the category, naproxen.

Worse than this, many mainstream medications are not effective in combating many types of chronic pain. Drugs may work intermittently, but the pain often comes back. Furthermore, they may create dependency, particularly in the case of opioids. Even when the pain goes away, patients may feel compelled to continue their regimen, just to feel normal.

That’s why many people are turning to cannabis. It may offer superior pain relief without as many downsides.

It is highly effective

Cannabis, and derivatives such as CBD, work in a fundamentally different way from conventional painkillers. Instead of attempting to mask symptoms, the plant helps to restore balance to the nervous system – what medical professionals and scientists call “homeostasis.” As such, there is evidence that it may be able to correct the underlying causes of pain, not just cover them up.

It may target intractable conditions

Conventional painkillers struggle to provide certain groups of patients with relief. People living with arthritis are notoriously resistant to pain medications.

However, anecdotal and clinical evidence suggests that cannabis is different. Patients who use cannabis for pain often find that they can get out of bed more easily and function normally around the home.

The same may be true for patients with fibromyalgia and non-specific pain conditions. Cannabis appears to restore balance to the body, reducing discomfort signals. German researchers, for instance, found that the majority of patients with chronic nerve pain reported a 50 per cent or more reduction in symptoms after using the plant.

It doesn’t have the same side effects as opioids

Consuming the cannabis plant can generate side effects. However, extracting CBD – an active ingredient that doesn’t alter mental state – appears to be almost completely safe. For this reason, some researchers believe that it may ultimately wind up replacing opioids, which are notorious for getting people hooked.

Patients seem to agree. The majority of patients report that cannabis works just as well as their prescribed painkillers, and, remarkably, more than 97 per cent say that it has helped them reduce their opioid use.


Therefore, cannabis is a potent pain treatment that may work just as well, if not better, than leading opioid drugs, without the adverse side effects. If you would like to learn more, please contact the London Cannabis Clinic today.