Medicinal Cannabis for Chronic Pain.
Chronic pain is one of the most common reasons for patients to consult with our clinic. In NZ alone, it is thought that 1 in 8 people are living with chronic pain. That is 800,000 people! Chronic pain can dramatically reduce your quality of life and cause a lot of stress and frustration. CBD oil and medicinal cannabis for chronic pain are great natural options as they can help relieve pain symptoms and inflammation, allowing you to enjoy more of what life brings.
While there are many medications for pain, chances are that you do not like the thought of pumping your body with pharmaceutical drugs, or that your body does not tolerate them.
Thankfully, research shows using cannabis for chronic pain can decrease pain without the risks that come with conventional pain relief medications. CBD alone has been shown to improve about 25% of people with chronic pain by itself and a further 50% can be helped with the use of a combination of CBD and THC.
We have consulted with thousands of patients who have widespread chronic pain or pain localised in specific joints. We have also consulted with many patients who have chronic pain for unknown reasons.
The types of pain we have treated have also been diverse: from sharp, shooting, and debilitating pain to chronic aching that is affecting sleep and quality of life. The best cannabis for pain relief is different depending on each person’s needs and medical conditions.
Book an appointment with one of our friendly and trained medical professionals to discuss your conditions and find the right medicinal cannabis for chronic pain.
Does CBD oil or CBD pills for pain work?
Yes, CBD oil and CBD pills can help with pain and improve your quality of life. We have found that about 25% of people get benefit from using CBD oil for pain.
Whatever the cause and type of your pain, you may use medicinal cannabis, CBD oil or CBD pills for pain relief. Pain conditions are varied and the list includes these most common conditions:
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Injury-related pain
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Back pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Neurogenic pain (caused by damage to nerves)
- Muscle spasms
- Cancer pain
CBD Oil or CBD Pills for Pain Relief
Chronic pain is defined as pain present for at least three months or more. If you have chronic pain, CBD oil could help provide some relief. It’s effective, safe, and well-tolerated.
Chronic pain can be caused by a number of conditions, such as previous injuries, arthritis or inflammation. The good news is that if you are suffering, CBD oil and medicinal cannabis for chronic pain can help. But unfortunately, in NZ, we do not have CBD pills for pain relief.
Of interest is that CBD oil can go from your stomach and through to your brain and alters your experience of pain. There’s a barrier that protects the brain between the blood and the brain, called the blood-brain barrier. After crossing it, CBD affects a hormone called adenosine in your brain, and this is how CBD oil can help reduce chronic pain (2).
CBD oil is not only useful for pain when taken orally, but it can also work if applied as a cream on the skin directly, also known as “topical application”.
Some products have CBD extracted and made into a cream specifically to target chronic pain in certain areas. This is an effective way we use CBD oil and cannabis for chronic pain relief to help when the pain is localised to one area, such as your knee or wrist or finger. When researchers looked at how effective CBD on the skin is for pain, they found that pain from arthritis and neuropathic pain was reduced, with minimal side effects (3).
CBD Oil for Back Pain.
Many Kiwis suffer from back pain for a number of reasons. Back pain can be due to an old injury or previous surgery, or it can be due to a form of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis. Back pain can also be due to a pain syndrome which affects many different parts of the body, such as fibromyalgia.
The good news is CBD oil and medicinal cannabis can help! Using a combination of both CBD and THC, we have had good success in treating back pain.
CBD is generally considered a pain-relief treatment that affects the whole body. While CBD oil doesn’t specifically target back pain, it can reduce the pain from this area, contributing to full-body relaxation.
Back pain affects many of us and can range from minor to severe, depending on the cause. While minor cases of back pain usually go away by themselves after a few weeks, it can still be inconvenient and painful.
Recent studies have shown promising results in CBD use for reducing inflammation and neuropathy, two factors that can contribute to neck and back pain (7).
CBD Oil for Arthritis.
Arthritis is a type of inflammation in joints that can worsen with age. This often results in stiff and painful movements.
About 17% of adults in NZ are affected by a form of arthritis in NZ. Arthritis can be due to many reasons, such as wear and tear or age related (as in osteoarthritis) or due to inflammation in the body, such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.
The good news is that CBD oil and medicinal cannabis can help with arthritis pain.
CBD can help lower inflammation in your body, meaning CBD oil can be an excellent way to treat pain caused by arthritis.
Studies on animals show that CBD may help with arthritis pain. However, more studies on humans are still needed. While animals are very similar to us in specific ways, research with humans is still the best way to decide what works best.
One of these animal studies includes a recent study on rats. Researchers found a link between CBD use and reduced inflammatory pain by CBD changing how pain receptors respond to stimuli (6).
CBD Oil for Cancer Related Pain.
Dealing with pain is one of the more difficult side-effects of cancer treatments. About 65% of people with cancer suffer from chronic pain.
The simple, ready-to-use, plant-based nature of CBD oil makes it an excellent choice for treating this type of pain, with the added benefit of minimal side effects.
For many people, pain during cancer treatment can really affect their quality of life. We have found that using a combination of CBD oil and THC can help reduce this pain significantly. The THC can also help improve appetite and reduce weight loss associated with cancer.
When researchers looked closer at the type of pain experienced during cancer and treatment, they discovered that cancer and inflammation often walk hand in hand.
On the one hand, chronic inflammation often leads to increased cancer risk, and on the other, cancer has also shown to promote inflammation throughout the body, increasing pain (4).
CBD can act as an anti-inflammatory by decreasing oxidative stress and systemic inflammation. Oxidative stress triggers your immune system, which can actually damage healthy cells. Lowering both of these symptoms reduces pain from inflammatory diseases like cancer (5).
Can CBD Oil Help Endometriosis Pain?
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women in NZ! It is more common than is apparent in society. It is possible that you or a loved one suffers from endometriosis and knows this condition too well.
Endometriosis is due to cells that should only grow in the uterus start to grow in other areas of the abdomen, including along the abdomen and on the intestines.
The most common symptoms women experience with endometriosis is severe period pain. The pain is so severe that women sometimes find it impossible to get on with their normal daily life. Once this occurs for 1-2 weeks of every month, it quickly becomes very disruptive and really diminishes quality of life.
The good news is that CBD oil & medicinal cannabis can help. Endometriosis is one of the most common reasons we use medicinal cannabis in our clinic.
By using either CBD oil or a combination of both CBD and THC, the inflammation and pain associated with endometriosis can be significantly improved.
This is how Chelsea used CBD oil to help manage her endometriosis:
Can CBD Oil Help With Migraines?
Migraines are severe headaches that occur with or without a specific trigger and are extremely debilitating. Sometimes the headache can last for several hours or even a day. In fact, migraines are one of the leading causes of disability in the world.
What can be more exhausting is the recover time after a headache. Usually, a person feels it takes a few days to recover from a bout of migraines.
There are multiple causes of migraines which involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Migraine symptoms may include:
- Severe head aches
- Sensitivity to light
The good news is that CBD oil and medicinal cannabis can help with migraines! It is in fact a common reason we consult about.
CBD oil contains anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduces tension and anxiety. It can also reduce the pain associated with a migraine.
This is important in migraines as reducing the tension and anxiety can itself reduce the frequency of migraines by itself. When episodes of migraines still occur even with CBD oil, we add in a low dose of THC to treat the onset of a migraine. We do this at low doses to avoid the possibility of any side effects.
By using a starting point of CBD oil daily to help prevent migraines and a THC containing product at the start of an attack, medicinal cannabis has been an effective treatment for migraines at the clinic.
What the research says about CBD oil and migraines:
- In a study published by the University of Colorado, researchers examined the effects of cannabis on 121 people with migraines. Their findings showed that 85.1% of patients experienced reductions in the number of migraines they experienced from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month, which is a significant decrease. Cannabis not only reduced migraine frequency but also stopped migraines from occurring if cannabis was taken during a migraine episode.
- One large observational study of 367 patients looked at how cannabis affects fibromyalgia patients. 80% of patients experienced improvements in sleep and depression. There were also significant improvements for general wellbeing and pain. Side effects included dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, and hyperactivity in under 8% of patients.
Can CBD Oil Help With Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is more common than you think in NZ. It is thought that up to 6% of Kiwis have some form of this condition. While there is no physical cause for the pain to see, the severity and effects of the pain can be significant and reduces a persons functioning and quality of life quite dramatically.
The cause is unknown, although risk factors include pre-existing conditions and genetics. Fibromyalgia causes similar symptoms to arthritis. One distinct difference is that unlike arthritis, fibromyalgia causes soft tissue pain rather than direct damage to joints.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Muscle stiffness and spasms
- Extreme fatigue
- Sensitivity to pain, which may be worse in certain areas
- Cognitive difficulties such as impaired concentration
- Poor sleep and mood as a result of the above
There is no current cure for fibromyalgia. That being said, one’s quality of life can be improved by taking pain relief medications and making appropriate lifestyle changes.
The good news is that medicinal cannabis and CBD oil can help! Fibromyalgia is a common condition that we treat and deal with at the clinic. By using a combination of CBD oil and THC, we can help reduce the intensity and flares of the pain.
About 25% of people respond to the CBD oil for pain alone. If the response is not sufficient then a product with more THC is added.
CBD oil does this by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
This system is comprised of enzymes, receptors, and endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors are responsible for pain regulation. Cannabinoid receptors such as CB1 are distributed throughout the central nervous system and regions of the brain involved in pain signalling. The effects of cannabis on these receptors are central to how cannabis exerts its pain-relieving effects, which may help people with fibromyalgia.
How Does CBD Help With Pain?
Every human has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes (9).
These endocannabinoid receptors in your body receive signals and your cells then respond to these signals. The response in the endocannabinoid system from CBD consumption leads to anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects that can help you manage pain.
How Can I Use CBD Oil For Pain?
Before using CBD oil or any type of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain relief, talking to a doctor can be helpful. They will assess your pain needs individually and discuss how CBD can potentially help you.
There are many different ways of taking CBD, including capsules, vaping, and topical applications. An excellent way to take CBD is via a tincture, also known as taking CBD sublingually, where you place a few drops of CBD under your tongue. Your tongue is rich in capillaries, which allows for excellent absorption rates.
When incorporating CBD oil into your routine, it is essential to start slow, especially if you have never used CBD products before.
A suitable dosage of CBD for chronic pain should start at 15-20mg per day. While this is a relatively low dose, it is best to start with a small amount to test CBD’s effects on your body before gradually increasing it based on the level of pain management you need.
Ultimately, the dosage required will depend on your body chemistry, weight, and pain severity, which will affect how well the CBD oil works.
Does CBD Oil Have Side Effects?
While side effects will depend on the person, possible symptoms include changes in appetite, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhoea (10). CBD products can also interact with certain pain relief medications, so it’s a good idea to talk to a health professional if you’re concerned.
One way to decrease your chance of getting any negative side effects is to choose CBD oil products from reputable companies. Ideally, choose a CBD oil that has been tested by a third party and from a company that consistently produces high-quality products.
How Can The Cannabis Clinic Help Me?
We can help alleviate your symptoms by using CBD for chronic pain with low amounts of THC. CBD oil helps with the pain, but low dose THC also works effectively in conjunction with the CBD. The doses are low and not sufficient to make you high or impair your daily functioning.
We will work with you or your loved one to prescribe the most effective treatment plan for the specific type of pain that you experience.