Can Medical Marijuana Treat Chronic Pain? A guest post.

Can Medical Marijuana Treat Chronic Pain? A guest post.

Date back to 1996 when medical marijuana acquired legalization in California, it has observed a huge increase in demand up till yet. Despite the increased demand, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not given it approval wholly except for treating vomiting and nausea. The FDA approved medical marijuana is available in the form of a pill i.e., nabilone and dronabinol.

Let’s get to know what medical marijuana actually is prior to digging deep into its uses.

What Is Medical Marijuana?

It can be inclusive of the chemicals of the marijuana plant or the whole plant itself.  In fact, it is the same thing as of recreational marijuana; however, it is consumed for medicinal purposes.

Additionally, the marijuana plant consists of over a hundred different chemicals known as cannabinoids. Astonishingly, each of these chemicals put an impact on our body in a different manner. Mainly, cannabidiol (CBD) and Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are incorporated in the medicines. What’s more is that THC also causes the ‘high’ sensation.

Medical Marijuana Has Acquired Large-Scale Approval

As of 2018, medical marijuana has seen approval in thirty-three states of USA. With an increase in over 77% production since 2011, there has been seen a rise in public approval of medical marijuana as per the recent surveys. Due to the satisfactory treatment achieved with medical marijuana, a large number of patients claimed that they would suggest it to their family and friends. By keeping in view its acceptance on a larger scale, you too can buy marijuana online from Canada.

Uses of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is used for the treatment of the symptoms linked with a number of different diseases. For instance, Cancer, Glaucoma, Chron’s disease, Anorexia, AIDS, Epilepsy, Nausea, Alzheimer’s, Multiple sclerosis as well as Schizophrenia.

Can Medical Marijuana Also Relieve Chronic Pain?

By far, medical marijuana has also been used effectively to treat chronic pain. The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines chronic pain as any pain persisting for over 12 weeks. It can even stay for longer duration and that is terrifying.

Either an ongoing illness or an initial injury can lead to the rise of chronic pain. Nonetheless, its causes can also be unclear at times. Furthermore, some health issues, for example, poor sleep, suppressed appetite, mood swings, and fatigue often occur with chronic pain. It can obstruct movements of the sufferer; thereby, reducing stamina, flexibility, and energy. Subsequently, this kind of troubled functioning can cause despair and disability.

The Institute of Medicine of The National Academies claimed that the number of people suffering from chronic pain is over 100 million now. Following are the most common kinds of chronic pain:

  • Severe headache or Migraine
  • Lower backache
  • Facial pain
  • Neck and spine pain

As per the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the number of people who suffers from chronic pain is more than those who suffer from cancer, diabetes and heart disease collectively.

Science-Backed Claims about the Effectiveness of Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain

Numerous different researches have supported the efficacy of medical marijuana for treating chronic pain.

The View of Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)

Rendering to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), medical marijuana is the sole analgesic option for seriously ill individuals. It is mainly because of the effectiveness of medical marijuana for treating the symptoms of a myriad of medical conditions with no devastating side effects.

The Report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM)

In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) reported that medical marijuana can effectively treat chronic pain. Rendering to the same report, there are powerful cannabinoid compounds in marijuana plant e.g., Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) that contribute as an essential analgesic. Naturally, cannabinoid receptors are there in the human body that can contribute to control the pain as per assumptions of this report.

In addition, the adult patients observed a noteworthy drop in chronic pain’s symptoms when given medical marijuana as an analgesic.

A Harvard Conducted Study

As per a Harvard-conducted study in 2015, there have been seen positive outcomes of using medical marijuana for the treatment of chronic pain. In this study, the sufferers observed substantial improvement in their symptoms after using medical marijuana. By considering the positive reviews, the authors drew a conclusion that there is evidence of utilizing high-quality marijuana for spasticity caused due to multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain as well as various chronic pains.

Some Other Relevant Researches

According to the findings of another research paper, cancer patients consumed medical marijuana for pain relief and, in addition, observed a decrease in opioid use as well as improvement in the quality of life.

Consuming medical marijuana in little amounts may improve sleep, pain as well as mood and in some sufferers of chronic pain, according to the results of a self-selected case series. The case series got approval from the McGill University Health Centre Research Ethics Board and involved 15 subjects out of which 10 were men. All of the subjects consumed medical marijuana at different times of the day for relieving chronic pain; however, the median frequency of consumption of medical marijuana was four times a day.

The results of another relevant study exhibited less pain after the consumption of medical marijuana. In this study, THC pills and placebo were given to 10 patients having advanced cancer in four different dosages. Nonetheless, patients that were given highest dose experienced heavy sedation.

In spite of all the above evidence, adult patients need doctor’s authorization for accessing cannabis legally from an authorized medical marijuana manufacturer in Canada.

It is same like an official prescription by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia to facilitate access to any cannabinoid (herbal or pharmaceutical) by a doctor.

The Conclusion

At this point, we are aware that science has backed using medical marijuana for the treatment of chronic pain. By considering the public approval and positive results of respective researches, we can conclude that medical marijuana can effectively treat chronic pain. However, there is still a need for more research in this area to validate this claim since the FDA has not given its approval so far.


College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. Practice Standard. Cannabis for Medical Purposes. 2018. [Accessed 20 Nov 2018]

Hill KP, 2015, “Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Chronic Pain and Other Medical and Psychiatric Problems: A Clinical Review.”

Ware MA,, 2002, “Cannabis for chronic pain: case series and implications for clinicians.”

Noyes R Jr, Brunk SF, Baram DA, Canter A. 1975a. “Analgesic effect of delta-9-tetracannabinol.” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 15:139-143.

National Academy of Sciences (2011) Relieving PAIN in America. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 30 May 2017]

American Academy of Pain Medicine (2017) AAPM Facts and Figures on Pain. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 30 May 2017]

Boehnke Kevin, 2016, “Medical Cannabis Use Is Associated With Decreased Opiate Medication Use in a Retrospective Cross-Sectional Survey of Patients With Chronic Pain”

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About the Author:

Currently a student of English Literature, in her final years, Carolina Martel is passionate about writing her thoughts in words. She takes up writing projects in her leisure time to accompany her studies. Generally, she understands the essence of writing on every topic but especially those that relate to her field. She regularly writes at