Medical Marijuana for Pain
Medicinal herbs can be a powerful way to alleviate chronic pain. The chemical compounds contained in these plants imitate compounds our bodies naturally produce, improving communication between cells and easing pain. Medicinal plant materials can relieve pain without the many ugly side effects associated with other pain medications.
Opioids, in particular, have side effects like constipation and drowsiness. They are also extremely addictive, and patients often build a tolerance. Plant materials provide many patients with a way to manage their pain affordably and without uncomfortable side effects and addiction.
To some extent, pain is subjective. Each person experiences pain in their own way, and what might be debilitating for one person might not be for another. Pain is very real for many, though, and it can make attending to even the smallest tasks extremely difficult.
There are different categories for pain. One way to categorize pain is by its duration, or how long it lasts. Acute pain is sudden pain that doesn’t last as long, such as pain from a broken bone. Acute pain can stressful and challenging to deal with in the short term, but it often fades.
Chronic pain is long-lasting, and it can be far more difficult to treat. It can come from an injury or from a medical condition such as fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis.
Pain can be further classified by the cause of the pain. Pain typically falls into three categories:
- Nociceptive pain—Pain caused by tissue damage
- Neuropathic pain—Pain caused by nerve damage
- Psychogenic pain—Pain that is impacted by psychological factors. Psychogenic pain can stem from tissue damage or nerve damage. It is complicated by psychological conditions such as stress, depression, or anxiety. It may also stem from a psychological condition.
- Central pain—Pain with no clear origin, such as fibromyalgia.
It's important to note that just because pain may stem from a psychological condition, that doesn’t mean the pain isn’t real. This type of pain is just as real and debilitating as any other pain condition and should be appropriately treated.
Treating Nociceptive Pain with Medicinal Herbs
Nociceptive pain is sometimes referred to as inflammatory pain. When there is tissue damage, the body uses immune cells and inflammatory cells to help repair the damage. These cells active nerve receptors, which cause the feeling of pain.
To treat nociceptive pain, you need to prevent the inflammation or the pain signals. You can also prevent the pain signals from making their way to the brain. The chemical compounds in medicinal herbs can tackle nociceptive pain in multiple ways.
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Multiple chemical compounds in medicinal plants can prevent inflammation, which will help reduce the pain. They do this by activating other receptors and other repair cells that don’t cause inflammation. These benefits have been documented in animal and human trials.
Treating Neuropathic Pain with Medicinal Herbs
Neuropathic pain can result from several medical conditions and treatments, including chemotherapy, diabetes, and shingles. It is also difficult to treat. The compounds in medicinal plant materials prevent pain in chemotherapy patients, for example, by activating serotonin receptors. These compounds can also impact CB! receptors, which can help many with neuropathic pain by reducing pain.
Treating Psychogenic Pain with Medicinal Herbs
Medicinal herbs can be a particularly powerful option for psychogenic pain, as they may alleviate the psychological symptoms along with the debilitating pain. Medicinal plants are well-known for their ability to reduce symptoms of anxiety and PTSD and treating psychological symptoms may help reduce pain symptoms.
Treating Central Pain with Medicinal Herbs
Central pain may stem from nervous symptom dysfunction. Many patients have reported fewer symptoms when using herbs to treat their pain. Patients with fibromyalgia, for example, have reported improvement in their symptoms after using medicinal plant materials.
Treating Breakthrough Pain with Medicinal Plants
Many chronic pain sufferers experience breakthrough pain. This is a flare of pain that is even more intense than the day-to-day pain they experience. About 70 percent of chronic pain suffers experience breakthrough pain, even if they are currently on a prescription pain medication. Since there are minimal side effects that are associated with using herbs, additional plant medicines can be used to treat breakthrough pain.
Deciding on a Treatment Plan
If you are suffering from pain, medicinal herbs can help alleviate that pain. It’s important to choose the right strain of herb, though, as some compounds are less effective than others. When developing a treatment plan, research what herb might be best for your needs, either online or by speaking with an expert.
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