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I suffer from chronic pain all over. This oil takes the edge off beautifully. Nothing will eliminate pain, it is your body’s alert system. Prescription pain meds lose efficacy over time and have too many side effects. CBD oil is the perfect natural alternative.

By what mechanisms can cannabis modulate pain?

We saw in a previous post on this blog that endocannabinoids can modulate the pain messages in the brain and peripheral nerves by acting on specific receptors CB1 and CB2.

By intervening at the level of CB2 receptors localized on certain blood cells, the endocannabinoids could also exert an action against the pain thanks to an anti-inflammatory effect.

It seems that the combination of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) containedin cannabis is more effective against pain than taking THC alone or CBD alone.

Are there clinical studies performed in patients?

Yes, in recent years, several clinical studies on the analgesic effects of medical cannabis have been published. However, these are very heterogeneous and do not allow definitive conclusions to be drawn because:

  • They included patients with various types of pain: neurogenic chronic pain, cancer pain, chronic non-cancerous musculoskeletal pain.
  • They used different forms of cannabis: whole plant in smoke or spray, tincture, syrup, standardized extract spray of a combination of THC-CBD (nabiximol), or tablets of synthetic derivatives (dronabinol).
  • They did not use the same methods to evaluate analgesic effects and adverse effects.

What research tells us

It is thought that two compounds in cannabis – THC and CBD – contribute to cannabis’s ability to relieve pain. THC alters the perception of pain by reducing anxiety and stress, while CBD fights pain with its anti-inflammatory action. Cannabis-based medicines come in many forms and can be inhaled with a pipe or a cigarette or can be taken orally in an aerosol or capsule.

A recent systematic review has shown that compared to placebo, cannabis-based medications provide moderate to substantial pain relief and reduce pain intensity, sleep problems and psychological distress . Unfortunately, these benefits are often associated with side effects such as sedation, confusion and psychosis. For some people, these side effects can be serious enough to outweigh the benefits of cannabis-derived painkillers.

Overall, the quality of research on the relief of neuropathic pain by cannabis is low. This does not mean that people with neuropathic pain should not consider cannabis as a treatment option – it may work for some, but not for others. The bottom line is that there is currently a lack of solid evidence to support cannabis-based drugs to relieve neuropathic pain. More and better research is needed to confirm the benefits. New studies may be particularly important in older people and people with conditions that predispose them to neuropathic pain. In the meantime, cannabis can be a useful solution for people who fail to achieve adequate relief with established treatment options.