27 Apr How Cannabis Can Be Effective For Chronic Pain Relief
According to the CDC, over 20% of Americans reported experiencing chronic pain in 2004. In fact, chronic pain is one of the most common reasons adults seek medical care. It’s been linked to restrictions in mobility, anxiety and depression, and most disturbingly, dependence on opioids. There’s no doubt about it– chronic pain can reduce your quality of life. And although I’ll always advocate for a plant-based diet and plenty of exercise, this doesn’t always solve the chronic pain problem. One effective way to treat chronic pain that may come as a shock to some is cannabis.
On a recent episode of The Darin Olien Show,
I sat down with Dr. Eric Goodman, a Doctor of Chiropractic, and creator of Foundation Training. Eric has worked with patients experiencing chronic pain for decades. He works tirelessly to improve the lives of those willing to put in the work to heal themselves. Besides writing amazing books on the subject, he’s also co-authored the book Shaping Your Baby’s Foundation with his wife Jen Goodman.
Although Eric knows that posture, exercise, and a healthy diet are all factors that help stop and prevent chronic pain, he also knows there’s more to it than that. Recently, Eric’s work has turned towards the cannabinoid systems of the body and using cannabis to treat chronic pain. These mysterious systems that naturally fight pain were only discovered by science in the last few decades. And sadly, there’s not nearly enough attention being paid to the fascinating things they can do. In fact, the reason why THC, CBD, and cannabis in general work so well to relieve pain is that they work with the body’s natural cannabinoid systems.
Cannabis for Pain Relief
When Dr. Goodman began exploring the possibilities of cannabis for chronic pain relief, he quickly became amazed at the results. “I started noticing that my patients that choose cannabis over pain killers had such better quality of life,” he said. Why would cannabis give patients a better quality of life than, say, prescription painkillers?
Well, the way opioids work is by blocking pain receptors from the brain. So, say you sprain your ankle and it’s swollen and bruised. Taking opioids won’t take the inflammation, swelling or bruising away, the things causing the pain. But they’ll make your brain think it no longer hurts. So although your ankle may no longer hurt, walking on it could injure it further.
The way cannabis works with your brain is completely different. As Eric explained to me, cannabis works with the cannabinoid systems in your body. A simplified explanation is this: your cells send out signals to your brain, not to block the pain like opioids do, but to trigger anti-inflammatory and anti-pain effects. So instead of treating the symptom of pain like opioids, cannabis instead actually lowers inflammation in the body using its cannabinoid systems. This is a game-changer!
Inflammation & Chronic Pain
While some over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen also reduce inflammation in the body, they can have other harmful effects. In fact, excessive ibuprofen use can cause abdominal pain and even dangerous ulcers. Using cannabis, either in the form of CBD or THC, is actually a safer alternative. Yes, pot is safer for pain than Advil!
While I would never advocate using cannabis without also making healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle, the implications of its effects are incredibly compelling. Inflammation is arguably the most common cause of chronic pain. And finding natural ways to relieve inflammation without the risk of addiction or other nasty side effects is key.
I should note, however, that not everyone responds to cannabis the same way. Some people swear by using CBD oil daily, others report no changes to their pain. Others may love using THC edible gummies for pain, while this would be too much for some. The world of cannabis for pain relief can be tricky to navigate. That’s why the trusted advice of an expert like Dr. Goodman can be incredibly instrumental in finding a cannabis strategy that will work for your chronic pain.