Getting Started with Cannabis for Chronic Pain
There are many factors contributing to whether cannabis is effective for pain relief. The strain, delivery method and condition you’re looking to treat all play a part in whether cannabis is a good choice for controlling your chronic pain symptoms. It can take some trial-and-error to find what works for you, just as with other medications. But, the good news about using cannabis for chronic pain is that it’s safe and natural with no risk of fatal overdose.
For anyone dealing with chronic pain, it’s wise to be wary of opiates. With the high risk of dependency, increasing overdose fatalities and rising difficulty and expense of obtaining them, many people are opting for cannabis instead. Cannabis has been found to be effective for a wide array of symptoms and conditions with success reported in treating chronic pain maladies like MS, neuropathy and fibromyalgia.
How to Get Started
Using cannabis for chronic pain is more than just lighting a joint or packing a bowl. It’s good to be intentional about using it medicinally. Do your research, find out what others are saying online and learn as much as you can from people who are finding success with the same condition you’re looking to treat.
If you’re new cannabis, less is more. You’ll want to start off with a single puff or just a few drops of cannabis oil. Be sure to keep a journal, at least at first, where you can track your doses, delivery methods and results. This will help you dial in the exact routine you need for proper pain management, without leaving you groggy or under-medicated.
In this article from Practical Pain Management, one doctor advises a 1:1 ratio of CBD/THC and gives his dosage information for chronic pain patients. You can use this as a general guide, but each person’s physiology is unique, so you’ll likely need adjustments to find what works best for you.
Some people hate the idea of smoking or vaping cannabis. Seniors especially seem to prefer other delivery methods like tinctures, topicals or edibles over inhalation. Fortunately, the market is awash with cannabis-infused products to make medicating easier and more enjoyable.
You may find one delivery method more effective than another, so don’t limit yourself to a single type. Tinctures and low-dose edibles are discreet and portable methods that you can use in any smokeless environment while topicals can be applied for skin conditions, joint inflammation and more.
Not all cannabis strains are alike. They are broadly classified into three categories; sativa, indica and hybrid strains which share characteristics of their parent strains. Since everyone is unique, it’s best to try several strains or products to find the right one for you. Nothing is absolute in cannabis. While most indica strains share commonalities like appetite enhancement, drowsiness and physical pain relief, not all do. Likewise, many sativa strains reduce appetite while creating euphoria and improved mood, but some have more indica-like characteristics. Pay attention to the product descriptions and take note as to which products produce the effect you’re looking for. This will help you choose new products or strains in the future.
You may have some success with a casual approach to pain control such as just smoking a joint, but your results will be significantly better if you treat using cannabis for chronic pain as a serious medical endeavor.
Have you been using cannabis for chronic pain? Share with our readers what works for you in the comments below!