Vaping To Relieve Pain, Does It Really Work?

One of the most popular recurring topics on the Cornerstone blog is pain management, and for good reason; currently available pain treatment options may go a long way toward reducing pain, but most individuals with chronic pain still report unmet treatment needs. One relevant issue is that multiple sources contribute to pain, and therefore, a single “magic bullet” pain medication does not exist that is capable of treating all sources. As medical science advances, part of researchers’ collective job is elucidating what other pain treatments might be effective and worth adding to the rotation of commonly used painkillers. As readers know, researchers have identified both THC and CBD as potential pain treatments, with CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects making it an especially good candidate for pain stemming from inflammation (such as in arthritis). Cannabinoids such as CBD represent a great treatment option because abuse potential is relatively non-existent. Opiate-based medicines on the other hand, such as morphine, must be carefully controlled. Doctors are frequently put in the position of evaluating a patient’s pain and choosing whether to prescribe opiates or to withhold that medication to prevent abuse, addiction, and drug trading. That decision can be difficult, and the more non-abusable drugs in a doctor’s arsenal, the more likely pain will be treated effectively. Lately, as medical research delves deeper into the world of cannabinoids and the body’s own endocannabinoid system, the emerging consensus is that new cannabinoids could be created that are even more effective at reducing pain than cannabis itself. For…

Using Cannabis to Reduce Opioid Use for Chronic Pain

The last time we spoke of opioids and cannabis, it was in reference to whether cannabis could interfere with opioid withdrawal recovery (spoiler alert: not observed). However, equally worth considering is the opposite end of the spectrum of opioid users: legitimate use of prescribed opioids to treat chronic pain. Noting the tendency for opioids to be abused and to elicit addiction in patients, doctors must be very careful about prescribing opioids and must gauge a variety of factors such as age and tolerance to pain. However in almost all cases, patients receiving opioids have tried other less potent painkillers, from over the counter to prescribed medications, and have not had success with these medicines. Unfortunately, while opioids represent one of the strongest painkillers known at this time, they have not been shown to be effective in managing chronic pain. Furthermore, our current medical understanding of pain is that it cannot simply be reduced to one factor or one area of the brain. As a result it is unlikely that one substance will contain the entire mechanism of action for eliminating pain. This dovetails nicely into cannabis use because as we’ve discussed on the blog previously, cannabis is capable of activating pain attenuation circuits through the endocannabinoid system. Specifically, cannabis can activate some of the same opioid pathways without actually supplying extraneous opioids to the body. Those that read the blog know that a pet peeve of Cornerstone is seeing small studies. We like to see large studies upwards of a…