Just three puffs a day, of marijuana, of course, can help people who suffer from chronic pain. The irony is that many people are still very much opposed to using marijuana because they have been brainwashed into believing that it’s bad for you and it’s only purpose is to make you high. However, as research has shown over the years, this is very far from the truth.
The good news is that thanks to the internet and many passionate researchers, the truth about marijuana is starting to reach more and more people. This means that people who suffer from ailments such as chronic pain and many other medical conditions, are now seeing the light and being introduced to the incredible benefits that marijuana has to offer.
Chronic pain affects so many people all around the world. It affects the young, the old, male and female and even celebrities. We going to explore just what chronic pain is, celebrities who suffer from it and just how marijuana can help.
What is chronic pain
Chronic pain is a terrible experience of agony that is defined as any pain that lasts more than 12 weeks. Acute pain is a normal sensation and is often a short term experience whereas chronic pain persists for months on end.
Chronic pain could arise due to injury such as a back sprain or possibly from an ongoing cause, such as an illness. There is also the possibility of there being no clear cause. Health problems such as fatigue, decreased appetite, mood changes and sleep disturbance often accompany chronic pain.
This awful condition can occur in a variety of locations in the body and for many different reasons. For this reason, patients and health professional’s need to work together to identify the causes and symptoms of the pain in order to determine the best way to treat it. It can often limit a person’s movements and affect their day-to-day life, causing disability and despair.
When it comes to chronic pain, the goal of the treatment is to reduce pain and improve function, so the person can resume their day-to-day activities. This is where marijuana comes in. Extensive research has shown that cannabis or cannabinoids, found in the marijuana plant, are both effective treatments for chronic pain.
Who suffers from chronic pain?
It’s always reassuring to hear that you are not alone in your suffering. This couldn’t be more true, when it comes to chronic pain. According to research done by The Institute of Medicine of The National Academies*, 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. It’s a fact that chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined. This is a pretty scary statistic. The four most common types of chronic pain are Lower back pain, severe headache or migraine pain, neck pain and facial pain. It’s interesting to note that in comparison to men, women are more likely to suffer from severe migraines and headaches, as well as facial pain. They also have more of a chance of experiencing one of the four most common types of chronic pain. Age does of course play a major part. For example, people aged between 18-44 years are less likely to experience lower back pain, than those who are older than 45. However, chronic pain can occur at any stage and for a number of reasons, such as an illness or injury.
If chronic pain can affect absolutely anybody, then of course, there are a number of celebrities who are suffering too. Here’s a list of a few of the most high profile people who have been affected and how marijuana has helped them:
1. Morgan Freeman
Back in 2003, Morgan infamously said “Don’t give up the ganja”. So it’s no secret that he has been a supporter of the cannabis community for a while now. After a near-fatal road accident that caused nerve damage in his hand, Morgan Freeman was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. He suffered severe chronic pain, for which he has found marijuana to be a pretty effective pain reliever.
2. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga has been open about using marijuana, not only for music writing inspiration but also as a pain reliever after undergoing a hip surgery back in 2013. While she found it to be exceptionally helpful for pain relief, she admitted that she became addicted, smoking between 15-20 joints a day. She has since been on a journey to fight her addictions against various substances but has stated that marijuana was the only thing that helped her deal with her pain after hip surgery. I guess just like anything, you need to know your limits.
3. Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart or perhaps better known to some as Professor X and Captain Jean-Luc Picard, uses Cannabis spray as pain treatment for his hands. He made the following statement to via Esquire UK, “I mean, my main problem is my hands don’t work very well. But thanks to cannabis they work much better than they used to. Thanks to the law in California now, it’s just a spray that I put on”. He also claimed that it helps him sleep by relieving the pain and he says that he believes that it has significantly reduced the stiffness in his hands.
4. Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi has used a vape pen for years to treat her pain, stress and glaucoma. She is in fact a very well-known advocate for medical marijuana. She has spoken out a number of times, explaining how marijuana has helped her deal with her condition. She has even stated that her vape pen has made her less dependent on pain medication. Marijuana has allowed her to live a much more comfortable life, relieving her of the pain associated with glaucoma. If you haven’t heard, she recently started “Maya & Whoopi” with Maya Elisabeth, a store that sells tinctures, edibles, salves and more.
5. Kathy Bates
Just last year, Kathy Bates, who is an actress and director spoke to The New York Times about her cannabis use since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She is a strong supporter in the legalisation of cannabis and says that her journey has made her a firm believer in marijuana and its health benefits. She was given a marijuana prescription to assist her with chronic pain associated with her breast cancer and has found it to be a phenomenal pain reliever.
How marijuana can help with chronic pain
If you suffer from chronic pain, you have no doubt tried just about every pharmaceutical drug on the market to treat it. A condition that has not always been fully understood in the medical world, it can be very difficult to treat by conventional means. Years ago, doctors always assumed that chronic pain was a result of an underlying disease or injury. Therefore, they would focus primarily on pinpointing and then treating the cause of discomfort, with the belief that this was the way to treat the pain. The problem was that often, no underlying cause could be found. This lead doctor’s to believe and then pass onto patients that their conditions were psychosomatic, meaning it was all in their heads and that there was no cure.
Thankfully those days are long behind us, although it’s still often difficult to determine the cause of chronic pain. Before we discuss the use of marijuana, we will have a quick look at some of the conventional treatments used today. Here’s a few treatment options that doctors might prescribe today:
- Electrical stimulation
- Nerve blocks
The problem with a lot of these treatments is that they can often have unpleasant side effects. It has actually been claimed that many prescribed opioids are potentially toxic and can even be highly addictive. Long-term use of pain relievers such as acetaminophen, NSAISDs and opioids is associated with many negative impacts on your health, such as heart attacks, strokes, and hepatotoxicity.
Medical marijuana has been shown to be an extremely effective and much safer treatment for chronic pain. In addition, there are no known severe side effects associated with the use of marijuana. According to a report published by NASEM*, research has proven that both inhaled marijuana and cannabinoid compounds that originates from the cannabis plant are effective treatments of pain.
In addition, a study from the University of Michigan, published in The Journal of Pain*, showed that marijuana improves quality of life, reduces opioid usage by an average of 64% and decreases side effects of other medications. Dealing with chronic pain can be very difficult without help. Marijuana has offered a great alternative to conventional medication. In addition, marijuana is perfect for those who suffer from general non-specific chronic pain. In other words, you don’t know the cause of the pain which makes finding a conventional medication very difficult.
Chronic pain is a very strange and complex condition. It’s very personal, whereby physical and psychological effects can differ from person to person. It’s not possible to measure pain with a test because while a specific part of the body might be in pain, it’s the brain telling the body to feel the pain. For example, you might have a pinched nerve in the spine which is causing your back to spasm. The throbbing sensation or jolt of pain that you may feel when you make a certain movement, is your brain’s way of telling you that something is wrong.
The exact reasons surrounding how marijuana relieves pain are not fully understood. However, it’s believed that it’s associated with the natural cannabinoid receptors that we already have in our body, which doctors think plays a role in pain control. Your body creates its own cannabis-like chemicals that affect various processes like pain and inflammation. Cannabis is thought to treat the chronic discomfort due to the natural cannabinoid receptors that we all have within our bodies.
Final thoughts on marijuana for chronic pain
If you suffer from chronic pain, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Marijuana has proven to be a natural and affordable alternative which lacks the side effects found in conventional medications. As we have seen, more and more celebrities even seem to be turning to marijuana to help with their painful conditions.
It’s important to note, that you should never change your current treatment regime unless you have consulted with your doctor or a medical professional. Drastic changes in treatment have the potential to cause damaging effects. However, if you are not currently on any medication and are looking for a natural and effective treatment, marijuana could definitely be the answer.