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Chronic Pain and Medical Marijuana

March 23, 2020

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for an extended period of time.  Usually a medical professional will differentiate acute pain from chronic pain by measuring pain experienced for fewer than six months as acute and for longer as chronic.  Another way to define chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than the expected period of healing.

The International Association for the study of Pain suggests seven categories for differentiating chronic pain.  They are as follows:

  1. Chronic primary pain – which is defined as three months of persistent pain in one or more anatomical regions that is unexplainable by any other condition
  2. Chronic cancer pain – defined as cancer or treatment related to cancer
  3. Chronic posttraumatic pain – defined as pain lasting more than three months after surgery or another trauma
  4. Chronic neuropathic pain – pain caused by damage to the somatosensory nervous system
  5. Chronic headache and orofacial pain: pain that originates in the head or face, and occurs for 50% or more days over a 3 months period
  6. Chronic visceral pain: pain originating in an internal organ
  7. Chronic musculoskeletal pain: pain originating in the bones, muscles, joints or connective tissue

Many states that have allowed for the use of medical marijuana have included chronic pain of their list of qualifying conditions.  While there needs to be more tests and studies completed, medical marijuana has become one of the main alternative sources by which patients treat their chronic pain.  One of the main reasons for this is the collective disgust with opioid drugs and their overprescription.  Patients complain of bowel issues, possible dependency as well as an overall feeling of detachment that is found less often in cannabis.  In many states chronic pain and medical marijuana have become intertwined.

While chronic pain continues to be one of the most often cited qualifying conditions for the use of medical marijuana, there is still some confusion about what ailments can be classified as chronic pain.  Based on much of the language above, ailments such as arthritis, arthrofibrosis, back pain, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathic pain, degenerative disc disease, chronic joint pain, musculoskeletal pain, neck and back pain, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and trigger points are all examples of chronic pain.  It is especially relevant today because many chronic pain symptoms alleviated by medical marijuana are becoming more evident daily.

While the state of Ohio forbids medical marijuana patients from smoking cannabis, there are many other ways to consume that are available for purchase from licensed dispensaries.  For patients that enjoy the sensation of vaporizing their medicine there are dry herb vapes.  Other patients enjoy ingesting their cannabis in the form of edibles such as chocolates and gummy candies.  Still other patients prefer tinctures which are taken sublingually.  Topicals such as ointments or patches are also available at many dispensaries in the state.  Ohio’s dispensaries have a form of cannabis for every palette and preference.

Some common strains of cannabis that have been associated with the reduction of chronic pain or its symptoms include, but are not limited to: ACDC (Hybrid), Blackberry Kush (Indica), Harlequin (Indica), Blueberry Headband (Sativa), and Master Kush (Sativa).

The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Summit Releaf distributes this information to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients living with one of the approved Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program qualifying conditions for an Ohio marijuana card. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Summit Releaf and none should be inferred.

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