Medical cannabis and CBD for chronic pain relief

An estimated 14.3% of the population live with the impact of chronic pain considered moderately or severely disabling, according to British Pain Society research.

Many of these people are now turning to medical cannabis treatments as an alternative to traditional opioid medications, which often have severe side-effects and for some people, provide very little relief from their pain.

In the UK, medical cannabis treatment can be prescribed when patients are using or have tried traditional treatments but are still suffering with pain or other symptoms. So, for some people, medical cannabis can be a lifeline, allowing them to reduce or even stop taking traditional treatments including codeine and morphine.

How do we know medical cannabis treatments work on pain? 

Medical cannabis has long been used to treat chronic pain. Evidence, including a 2017 review by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the US consistently demonstrates that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. 

Research shows that medical cannabis works for any kind of pain –including pain from cancer, headache and migraine, inflammation, arthritis, fibromyalgia, neuralgia, spasticity, joint and nerve pain.  But how does it work?

How does medical cannabis treatment provide pain relief?

Cannabis supplements the body’s natural cannabis system – this is called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a neurotransmitter system which means it controls actions in the body. 

This human cannabinoid system in our bodies have receptors, called CB1 and CB2, that react to the cannabis plant. The endocannabinoid system has an effect on many parts of the body – from the brain to our heart, liver, bowel and muscles – and it also affects how our bodies experience pain.

The active parts of the cannabis plant – known as the cannabinoids – suppress the body’s response to pain by changing the effects of our stress and nerve responses.  This produces a painkilling effect. 

How do you take medical cannabis for pain?

Medical cannabis can be prescribed in many ways. You can take it as a capsule, oil or tincture by mouth, with a vaporiser – often referred to as a vape – or as a lotion, balm, oil or cream applied to the skin.

A patient’s experience of medical cannabis for pain

Patient Forzana Nasir lives with a range of chronic symptoms including severe joint pain and dislocation. 

She said, “I access medical cannabis via The Medical Cannabis Clinics. Since starting my prescription, which I take by vape, there has been a reduction in my symptom severity in terms of reduced pain, improved sleep quality and stimulated appetite. I’ve finally been prescribed a medication I can tolerate, has minimal side effects and actually works. My quality of life is improving daily.” 

Read Forzana’s Patient Story in full.

Chronic pain consultations at The Medical Cannabis Clinics

To make an appointment with a medical cannabis expert to discuss your pain symptoms, please get in touch. Contact our expert team today.

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