Researchers at the University of New Mexico find strong evidence that cannabis significantly reduces pain
The United States is experiencing an unprecedented opioid epidemic since those with severe chronic pain do not have alternative pain relievers except cannabis. The conclusions of the recent study of the University of New Mexico (UNM) are taxative: cannabis use lowers the pain threshold by three points on a scale ranging from 1 to 10.
The study, entitled “The effectiveness of self-directed medical treatment of cannabis for pain,” has been published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
Researchers have used the data collected by the Releaf App, a mobile software program where marijuana users can control the effects and benefits in real time of the different cannabis products that are available in the market. In the United States there is a wide variety of cannabis products, given the complexity of the plant from which these products come. A study confirms that cannabis flower is an effective analgesic medication for pain treatment.
Chronic pain is a pandemic. It affects more than 20 percent of adults. Not having alternative medications without adverse side effects, cannabis is positioned as the safest and most effective option to fight chronic pain since opiates kill more than 115 Americans a day.
Pain is the health problem that costs more money to citizens. Opioid treatments involve financial costs that exceed the costs of heart disease and cancer treatments.
In the United States, doctors prescribe many more opiates than cannabis. Many patients end up turning to the black market for heroin because of this epidemic produced by ourselves. Opioid addiction does not distinguish between social classes, races or religions. We are facing an epidemic whose origin is based on the fight against chronic pain while cannabis, whose analgesic capacity is widely demonstrated and that does not cause addiction, is not prescribed by many doctors.
Jacob Miguel Vigil, one of the principal investigators of the study, explains that cannabis provides the patient with an effective alternative to the use of opiates for the treatment of pain with very few negative side effects for most people.
The Releaf application has been the only application available for free to educate consumers about how different types of cannabis products, such as dried or concentrated flowers, cannabis species (Indica, Sativa or hybrid), and the main cannabinoids (THC and CBD) affect their symptoms, providing the user with valuable comments about their health status, and medication options, measured based on the relief provided and the side effects.
Releaf allows cannabis researchers to circumvent the limitations of government-funded clinical trials on the real-time effects of the plant. Research on cannabis in general and cannabis as a pain reliever in particular is scarce and limited by federal regulations. We cannot forget that cannabis is a controlled substance in Annex I, without any federally recognized medical use and a high potential for abuse. The law requires researchers to use low quality and low potency cannabis products supplied by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Sarah Stith, co-author of the study of the recent study on the analgesic effect of cannabis flower from the University of New Mexico, states that it would be an advance to reprogram cannabis to pass it from Annex I to Annex II to classify it as fentanyl or oxycodone in place of how heroin. Reprogramming would improve the investigation. For this, the DEA has to recognize the medical properties of cannabis and its properties as demonstrated in the medical cannabis programs of several states in the country.
The study authors concluded that people who consumed dried marijuana flowers with high THC levels had better analgesic results than people who consumed dried flowers with low THC levels and high CBD levels. Cannabidiol produced fewer changes in pain intensity.
Jacob Miguel Vigil concludes that cannabis has different cannabinoids with analgesic properties in addition to THC, such as terpenes and flavonoids that act synergistically in patients who consume the entire dried cannabis flower.
The results of the study confirm that cannabis is an effective medication for pain relief. Xiaoxue Li, the lead author of the study, says he has seen many patients replace opiates with medical cannabis. The use of cannabis to relieve pain was very successful in 95 percent of cases.
Cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties, which is analgesic, and also activates “colocalized” receptors with opioid receptors in the brain.
Cannabis with high THC content improves mood which distracts patients from the sensation of pain.
Given that opiates kill thousands of Americans every year, cannabis can be a safe value for patients. The chronic use of opiates destroys the quality of life of users and causes them social isolation and early death. The use of cannabis implies a reversal of all these adverse effects of opiates.