Treating pain is the most common reason millions of Americans turn to cannabinoid-containing products. Despite widespread use, the distinction between the therapeutic benefits and placebo effects of cannabis remains a topic of debate. While some argue that the pain relief from cannabis is real, others suggest that the relief might also be due to placebo effects, where a substance that mimics cannabis in appearance, smell, taste, and feel provides similar pain relief.
Medical cannabis comes in various forms, including gummies, dried flowers, pills, lotions, and edibles, raising questions about its true effects. It’s essential to rely on trusted scientific facts when considering cannabis for medical use. According to research by the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research, CBD, a component of cannabis, has been shown to help reduce inflammation and the neuropathic pain it can cause.
There is also evidence that medical marijuana can assist with persistent pain, sleep disturbances associated with various conditions, and symptoms like nausea and vomiting. It’s noteworthy that FDA-approved cannabinoid-based medications are available to manage these side effects. Additionally, cannabis is reported to benefit patients with pain and wasting syndrome related to HIV, as well as those with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
The rise in cannabis use among older adults in the U.S. has been notable, perhaps indicating a reduced stigma and greater acceptance. This demographic shift suggests an acknowledgment of potential medical benefits, such as pain relief, by a traditionally skeptical age group. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is critical here, as its complex network of receptors plays a significant role in managing pain and other bodily functions.
Furthermore, athletes have been increasingly turning to cannabis for pain relief and faster recovery post-injury, although conclusive empirical evidence to support these claims is limited. The advantages of inhaling cannabis include rapid onset and ease of dosage control, but potential lung irritation and the need for frequent dosing due to short-lasting effects are drawbacks.
In the midst of this ongoing conversation about cannabis and pain relief, skepticism remains, inviting more research to differentiate between the actual benefits of cannabis and the psychological or placebo effects that may accompany its use.