Chronic pain is an issue for individuals across the globe. In the United States of America, one in five adults lives with chronic pain and the number is expected to rise due to one in ten adults being diagnosed with chronic pain each year from neglect towards this condition, and various other factors. Understanding the widespread effect of chronic pain helps spread awareness and creates positive actions, although understanding the origin of pain should be a public health priority.
A clinical study in 2019 resulted in findings that 20.4% of adults in the United States of America had chronic pain, although chronic pain is considered a global burden as estimates suggest 20% of adults suffer from the condition globally. Nearly 20% of chronic pain patients receive an opioid prescription.
In 2019, almost 50,000 deaths from opioid-related overdose were recorded. Chronic pain may limit life or work activities.
Individuals seeking pain relief may not need an opioid prescription, although cannabis has displayed it’s pain relieving qualities throughout human history while being a safe alternative to naturally or synthetically derived opioids. From 1999 to 2014, over 165,000 persons died from opioid medication, whereas cannabis has no recorded overdoses to date. Cannabis has been used by humans for over 4,500 years and is used for medicine, fuel, and fiber.
Understanding the 540 chemical compounds such as terpenoids, hydrocarbons, sugars, flavonoids, fatty acids, simple acids, amino acids, and proteins in cannabis is important for efficacious usage and knowledge towards over 120 cannabinoids. such as cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), cannabicitran (CBT), and several variations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These varieties include delta-8-THC, delta-9-THC, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, and tetrahydrocannabivarin. Cannabis has been proven to help treat physical and mental ailments such as chronic pain, central nervous system (CNS) disorders, and various neurological disorders.
“Epilepsy, dementia, and headache disorders represent a significant burden on global health. Not only are these conditions prevalent, but they are associated with significant disability, poor psychosocial outcomes, and substantial economic costs.”
(Thakur KT, Albanese E, Giannakopoulos P, et al. Neurological Disorders. In: Patel V, Chisholm D, Dua T, et al., editors. Mental, Neurological, and Substance Use Disorders: Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition (Volume 4). Washington (DC): The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank; 2016 Mar 14. Chapter 5.)
Low THC, high CBD cannabis sativa is called hemp, and this specific plant has seen it’s uses throughout history towards industrialization, pain relief, the treatment of insanity, and as a staple in ceremonies and diet. Hemp as a natural textile resource is a valuable and sustainable asset, so much as to incite an industrial hemp revolution for George Washington. Hemp was, at a time, equally important to wheat and tobacco!
“George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses. The fibers from hemp held excellent properties for making rope and sail canvas. In addition, hemp fibers could be spun into thread for clothing” (“George Washington Grew Hemp.” George Washington’s Mount Vernon)
“In 2016, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated 192 million people aged 15–64 years used cannabis” United Nations Office on Drugs, and Crime. World drug report 2010. United Nations Publications, 2010. Cannabis sativa contains more than 120 phytocannabinoids, which are naturally derived cannabinoids. In a clinical study of 214 patients with spine complaints using CBD rich cannabis extract, the reported benefits were pain relief (46.3%), improved sleep (33.3%), and reduced anxiety (20.4%). CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, antipsychotic, anxiolytic, and anticonvulsant agent.
CBD is commonly used by spine patients as an off label treatment. 94% of patients in a study of 97 opioid users using CBD said that CBD may significantly reduce opioid use and improve chronic pain, as well as sleep quality among patients.
For many individuals seeking relief from chronic pain, neurological disorders, or muscle convulsions, CBD may be a viable option as an alternative medication to various drugs, or it may be the lightweight, effective relief you’ve been looking for. While CBD isn’t a fixall, it sure isn’t acutely toxic (unlike ibuprofen, a commonly prescribed analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory agent) and it’s worth looking into!