Chronic pain is an unpleasant problem that can be fall under many categories, including nociceptive pain, neuropathic pain and sensory hypersensitivity. Upon experiencing excruciating pain, whether it is caused by an injury or a diagnosed condition, the sufferer will typically turn to a licensed Doctor or health professional. After a consultation and diagnosis, the patient will likely be presented with a range of treatment options. In most cases, patients will be prescribed some form of over-the-counter medication, known as opioid medications.
Are opioid medications dangerous for the user?
Usually containing a bunch of chemicals, opioid medications are available legally by prescription and they function by hindering the delivery of pain signals to the brain. Although commonly prescribed drugs, such as Percodan® and OxyContin® for pain relief can cure the problem, they are not ideal. It is possible for prescription drug users to develop an addiction. This is especially true when the individual is using pharmaceuticals on a regular basis. Moreover, opioid medications can produce pleasurable effects, explaining why users tend to become fond of opioids.
In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has alerted the public of accidental overdose caused by opioid narcotics. For this reason (among many others), patients who may be recovering from surgery, struggling with migraine or battling pain in some other may consider using a medical marijuana alternative.
Opioid Pain-Relief Medications and the Pitfalls
What prescription drugs fall under the opioid category?
This class of drugs can be produced in multifarious forms and will generally be manufactured under different brand names. Opioids include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin®),
- Oxycodone (OxyContin®),
Are there dangers associated with opioid use?
Withdrawal symptoms are common for users who stop using these drugs after abusing opioids. Believe it or not, heroin is also classified as an opioid and since this drug is illegal, the risk of physical dependence is high for users of these pharmaceuticals.
Medical Marijuana as an Alternative Pain Treatment
Regardless of your current situation in regards to treating pain, take a moment to enlighten yourself on the medical aspects associated with cannabis. Often recommended for patients as a natural pain-relief treatment, marijuana as medicine is a promising option for people who have exhausted prescription medication.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published the following facts on their website:
“The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions.”
Global researchers are constantly conducting in-depth clinical trials to ascertain precisely how the plant’s Cannabinoids can heal, treat and cure widespread ailments and health problems. Cannabinoids are naturally-occurring cannabis compounds, with the herb containing over 100.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the well-known psychoactive compound responsible for making a cannabis user feel relaxed, euphoric or downright ‘stoned’. Another cannabinoid is gaining just as much (if not more) attention for its medical potential – Cannabidiol (CBD). When extracted from the plant matter and seeds, CBD has been known to treat anxiety, epilepsy, autism and life-threatening diseases, like cancer. (Source)
Cannabis Strains for Pain and How to Use Them Effectively
If you reside in an area where medical marijuana can be purchased at a dispensary, you can easily walk into a store and buy weed legally. Expect to see (and smell) an endless selection of strains, each of which will have a unique name, appearance, effect(s), smell, taste, color and CBD/THC composition.
A knowledgeable member of staff will be on-hand to answer any questions you may have about using medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid medications. Generally, the ‘budtender’ will recommend a high-CBD strain since it won’t cause psychoactive effects, but will possess potent healing powers.
Seek out the following pain-treating cannabis strains when you visit medical marijuana dispensaries in SF:
- Stephen Hawking Kush – Known as SHK, thus indica-dominant strain has a berry-like flavor and is cultivated from CBD-dense strains. Pain-relief aside, SHK can be administered to prevent nausea and enhance stomach health.
- AC/DC – Powerful and successful, it’s clear where this medical marijuana strain got its name. Epilepsy, pain and multiple sclerosis are treated with AC/DC, which usually contains 20% CBD or less.
- White Widow – Originating in the Netherlands, this balanced Sativa/Hybrid strain can ease migraines, induce sleep and numb pain. Conversely, it is a psychoactive strain that will make you feel slightly relaxed, but not drowsy.
- Jack Herer – This medical cannabis strain has won numerous Cannabis Cup awards. It was introduced by a man named Jack Herer, who has inspired people who suffer with chronic pain to manage physical pain using his potent strain.
- Pineapple Express – This medical marijuana strain will not strip you of your energy, but it will ease anxiety. A strong pain reliever, it has a 60:40 sativa/indica ratio.
Keep in mind that the above medical marijuana options are just a handful of alternatives to opioids. If you are a cannabis connoisseur who wants to use marijuana as a form of treatment and get high at the same time, opt for a strain with a balanced CBD to THC ratio. Kerala Gold, Sweet Tooth Auto and Grape Ape have been praised for their high levels of CBD and THC.