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Pain management is perhaps one of the hottest topics in the world of modern medicine. As the adverse effects of opioid use (and overuse) gain recognition, both doctors and patients are searching for alternative strategies for regular treatments to back and joint pain. Concurrently, the stigma surrounding cannabis usage has diminished, while the recognition and study of medical marijuana’s potential benefits has increased.

What are the some of the reasons this treatment is a viable alternative?

It is safe to use in combination with other therapies.

Medical marijuana does not generally interfere with other drugs often used to treat neck, back, and joint pain, such as NSAIDs. Active, harmful interactions with other drugs are not common. In one study, doctors successfully incorporated medical marijuana into an opioid-based treatment regimen. Patients reported reduced pain and a lessened reliance on the opiates. This opens many new options for doctors looking to reduce dependence on opioids and to uncover more reliable opportunities for relief.

There are broad benefits for many chronic pain patients.

As more scientists launch studies on medical marijuana, more evidence on the efficacy of this treatment has arisen. The exact mechanisms are still under investigation, but studies that assess patient experiences generally point to significant reductions in pain. Medical marijuana can both help to reduce the pain itself and help mask pain mentally. Both outcomes are beneficial in therapeutic applications. While cannabis has seen many medical applications outside of pain management, it is right at home here too.

Patients experience fewer side effects.

One of the most significant drawbacks to the consistent use of opioids for pain management are the side effects. These can include nausea, vomiting, considerable risk of dependence, and more. That means chronic pain patients often must take medications intended to treat the side effects of their pain medication. Medical marijuana does not have this problem. The side effects are much less pronounced and typically remain mild if they occur at all. The risk of dependency is likewise practically non-existent in comparison. Patients can, therefore, treat their pain and only their pain, rather than a lengthy list of side effects.

There is an improved quality compared to other painkillers.

There are many ways to consume medical marijuana, from smoking the dried flowers of the cannabis plant to taking specially-prepared compounds. The various active ingredients, from THC to CBD, allow for a range of treatment options. In this way, patients can engage more actively with their pain management. Altogether, the benefits of medical marijuana add up to equal another checkmark in the “plus” column: improved quality of life. Better pain relief with fewer side effects allows patients to feel more in control, which in turn translates to a happier daily experience.

The availability of medical cannabis is still subject to questions of its legality, and it is not currently available to patients in all regions. However, the rising interest in these and other opiate alternatives indicates the importance of continuing research. Do you have questions about your options for chronic pain management? Contact the Redefine Healthcare team online to start a conversation.

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