Pot and Pain, Part 2.

This follows on from Pot and Pain Part 1, where we discussed the efficacy of Cannabis for Neuropathic pain, and also the undesirable effects of Opiates versus Cannabis

pain

In Part 2 I will cover

  • Synergestic effect with Opiates.
  • Hyperalgesia.
  • Anti Inflammatory effects.

The first nugget of knowledge is about synergy. Cannabis, when combined with Opiates such as Morphine, has a synergestic effect on Chronic pain, meaning the relief is greater than the sum of its parts, 2 + 2 = 6 on the relief scale if you will.  It does this without increasing the amount of Opiate soaked up by the body, meaning it isn’t increasing the risk of death. This means more of what Chronic Pain patients are after, relief…  The positive side effect is, that patients can get the same level of relief with less Opiate, reducing the chance of accidental overdose and death.  This effect has been linked to a huge reduction in deaths from accidental overdose in the states, as users switch from Opiates to Cannabis as the preferred pain relief, in this scenario, Cannabis really does save lives….

The second  thing to touch on is the side effect of long term use of Opiates, Hyperalgesia. This is the perverse side effect and polar opposite of what Opiates are supposed to do, basically if you take pain killers long enough, the do the opposite and exacerbate the pain. The only opiate that is not prone to causing Hyperalgesia is Methadone, a Class B Drug that many GPs refuse to prescribe due to misinformed perceptions. Methadone would actually be the preferred Opiate for chronic pain, as the tolerance build up is months or years, and Hyperalgesia is virtually eliminated as a risk, It also has a long duration of effect, allowing the patient to sleep through the night, rather than wake at 3am to pop more pills as the others have worn off, counter to that, its long half life makes it dangerous and easier to overdose on, and the public perception of it being only used for addicts has a significant effect on its use in NZ.

The final thing that Cannabis is reported to be effective for, (though I am less familiar with it)  is inflammation, particularly related to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  The latest trend in the USA is the swelling ranks of retirement age people using Cannabis for pain relief,  there is a smaller body of evidence suggesting CBD  the non psychoactive ingredient of Cannabis, directly interferes with disease progression in Arthritis, in addition to providing pain relief.  The most desired side effect by this subset of the MMJ community is the improved sleep, which makes it 1 drug for 3 effects, pain, inflammation/disease progression, and sleep. The explosion in elderly patients is partly because MMJ dispensaries, those that take the medical part seriously at least, have worked on alternative methods of administration, including, skin creams.  Which anecdotally, have No psychoactivity while offering localized pain relief. It is these unique qualities that have made it a go to solution for the elderly, who often have extra side effects from regular medications and need extra monitoring, due to dodgy livers, kidneys and metabolism.

With this information, I hope you the reader are more equipped to know the ins and outs of how cannabis works, (lots of research links!!) why it is safer than conventional Opiate pain killers, and even that it improves the pain relief from Opiates, and that it is available in skin creams that have no psychoactive effects, suitable for arthritic joints.

Out.

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1 Comment

  1. another good post SLB.. but are the ‘power brokers’ in Wltgn, even listening to the people(many polls show over 70% agree with Med-use) !!

    Reply

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