It is estimated that chronic pain affects 100 million people in the United States alone, and costs Americans up to 635 billion dollars in medical expenses and a loss in productivity.
Pain has a range of mental, physical and social factors that has helped us survive through the ages by letting us know when something is wrong. When pain does not subside even after the initial cause is eliminated, and it becomes pathological, it is referred to as chronic pain.
Cannabis has been used throughout the centuries to treat pain and a multitude of other ailments with records going back to 2700 B.C.E. Cannabis works to heal ailments and treat chronic pain because its medicinal components mimic the human body’s Endocannabinoid system, or ECS, which is an internal chemical harm reduction system. Endocannabinoids are produced by the body, controlling the ECS and they keep our critical functions in balance, regulating appetite, sleep, pain and the immune system.
With over 400 active chemicals, marijuana is the most pharmacologically active plant to grace our Earth, and provides us with a natural medicine that has been proven to treat pain, kill viruses and cancer cells, prevent seizures and heal brain cells. The reason why cannabis can treat pain lies within cannabinoid receptors in the brain, namely Type 1 (CBD1), and Type 2 (CBD2). Studies have revealed that we have CBD1 receptors all over the body, and CBD2 receptors lie in key areas that control immune function.
Scientists and doctors alike are just beginning to find out the possibilities of using cannabis to treat chronic pain. With hopes that physicians will be able to steer away from opiates to manage pain, the side effects of which can be debilitating with symptoms such as respiratory depression and dependency, we must look forward and hope that the government will finally end marijuana prohibition.