Pain medication should improve the quality of life of those who live with chronic pain, however, it seems that for many, it only makes life worst. A recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said there was definitive evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids, components found in the marijuana plant, are, in fact, be an effective pain management treatment. Prescription painkillers, on the other hand, can have a number of adverse side-effects that can lead to severe health problems in the long run. Some reported side-effects are liver and kidney failure, severe headaches, gastritis and ulcers as well as chronic constipation, which can eventually can lead to colon cancer.
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And while prescription pain medication is the conventional treatment for chronic or acute pain, and sadly, in many cases is often the first and only option, it has been well documented that prescription pain medication is the leading cause of accidental overdose in the United States. On the other hand, medical marijuana is very effective at relieving pain and contrary to popular belief is less dangerous that other prescription pain medication. Several controlled clinical studies have confirmed that medical marijuana, has many therapeutic benefits. So, the question is; why not use it as pain management treatment?
As the number of people dying from accidental prescription pain medication increases, it becomes more evident that medical marijuana is a great alternative to traditional pain killers. One recent study concluded:“Deaths caused by prescription drug overdose outnumber deaths caused by heroin and cocaine combined. every 19 minutes someone dies in the United States of a prescription drug overdose. 17,000 people die of prescription pill overdoses per year. There are zero recorded deaths related to cannabis overdose. Ever. This is a big difference!” (Divan, Is Medical Marijuana Better Than Prescription Pills?) And as the number of As stated earlier, marijuana does not have a high potential for abuse and there are very legitimate medical uses for marijuana. Truth of the matter is, sometimes marijuana is the only medical treatment that works.
One of the most well-known medical uses of marijuana is nerve pain. And there is good medical evidence to proof this. For instance, regarding the benefits of medical marijuana, Peter Grinspoon, MD, stated in one article that “In particular, marijuana appears to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain in general. This is an area where few other options exist, and those that do, such as Neurontin, Lyrica, or opiates are highly sedating” (Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School) “Highly sedating”, this of course, along with the constant pain, highly sedating medications decreases the quality of life of those who suffer from chronic pain.
The same article mentions:Along these lines, marijuana is said to be a fantastic muscle relaxant, and people swear by its ability to lessen tremors in Parkinson’s disease. I have also heard of its use quite successfully for fibromyalgia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and most other conditions where the final common pathway is chronic pain. (Grinspoon, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School) There is overwhelming evidence that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain that opioid pain medication can’t. Illnesses and medical conditions such as neuropathy, sciatica, cancer, AIDS, MS, arthritis and epilepsy among others. And it can do so without the many adverse side effects that come with opioid pain medications that doctors prescribed every day. Another article states that “the best-supported medicinal use of marijuana is as a treatment for chronic pain”.
The same article quotes from another legitimate source: “The report said that is "by far the most common" reason people request medical marijuana.” (Loria, Business Insider)One good example of the benefits of medical marijuana is that of Debra’s. Debra was 60 years old when she was diagnosed with Autonomic Nerve Disorder, an abnormal function of the nerves that control involuntary bodily functions. “Debra’s body was constantly challenged by shaking, weakness, digestive issues and sharp pains from her head to her feet”. This disease left Debra bed confined and dependent of others.Debra was seeing multiple specialist, such as neurologist and cardiologist and taking multiple medications as well. However, “At the bequest of her family, she began to use medical marijuana and after a couple of weeks her feet didn’t hurt when walking.
Her shaking got better, and she was now able to hold a fork and feed herself without the terrible shaking.” (San Francisco MMJ Doctors, 5 Medical Marijuana Success Stories)Debra eventually got better to the point where she no longer had to go see all those specialists and is now a caregiver who enjoys visiting the elderly. As the above real-life example shows there is many benefits to medical marijuana. Furthermore, is nonsensical to oppose the use of medical marijuana in the midst of what amounts to a nationwide increase of not only opioid addiction, but also as stated earlier, an increase number of opioid related overdose victims. So, why not provide patients with a great substitute for prescription pain medication? Why not provide patients with a much safer option?