We’ve discussed the benefits of THC on this blog before, and the evidence is unavoidable. However, there are some individuals who benefit from responsible THC use more so than others. Why is this the case? It comes down to a variety of factors, not limited to your individual health profile as well as the symptoms or conditions you’re experiencing. However, THC for pain relief is a well-established realm of research. Let’s discuss.
How does THC target pain?
As you may know, THC, like other cannabinoids, affects the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system plays a role in a variety of bodily processes. One of the main ones is your body’s pain response. So, it makes sense that THC would have a say in how you experience pain, right?
In fact, your body has an extremely high concentration of endocannabinoid receptors, even more so than the type of receptors that respond to opioids. This high concentration is the motivation behind many ongoing studies regarding THC and pain. THC is often prescribed in conjunction with opioids but also shows anti-inflammatory effects.
However, THC is not effective for all types of pain, the CDC claims. Below we discuss the difference between acute and chronic pain if you’re unfamiliar. There is evidence that THC helps cases of neuropathic pain at least, which occurs from nerve damage. Similarly, for arthritic pain, the Arthritis Foundation approves of continued research into CBD as a pain-reliever.
The difference between acute and chronic pain
When considering THC as a potential therapy for your pain, it’s, of course, crucial to consult your physician. Any type of considerable pain should prompt you to seek the care of a physician. THC is typically regarded as a therapy for chronic pain rather than acute pain. And, oftentimes, THC is prescribed in conjunction with other popular cannabinoids like CBD. So, what actually differentiates considerable pain as acute or chronic? It’s pretty simple and basically comes down to the timeframe.
- Acute pain: Acute pain comes on suddenly and is typically the result of some sort of injury.
- Chronic pain: Chronic pain lasts for weeks or months and can be considered mild, moderate, or severe.
What research is available regarding THC for pain relief?
With any given therapy, considerable evidence, follow-up, and subsequent trials must be completed before anything is set in stone. And, after that, there is always the necessity of reevaluation and improvement. All of this to say, the evidence for cannabis and THC as a means of addressing difficult-to-treat pain is promising but needs more work.
Furthermore, a collection of studies in this review highlights the growing use of cannabis and THC for medicinal and recreational purposes — which further accentuates the need for evaluation and study.
What does this mean for you?
Understanding the symptoms you’re experiencing as well as the type of pain will give you a better idea about whether or not THC may work for you. And, of course, you and your physician should be able to work out a definitive treatment plan.