What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than 6 months and is still present after the stimulus injury has resolved. Chronic pain changes chemical pathways in the brain, and alters the body’s response to pain, registering near constant pain signals. In essence, the body is receiving pain signals from the brain, even in the absence of a specific stimulus or injury. 

Chronic pain can occur alongside a number of conditions such as low back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, neuropathy, cancer and numerous others. Chronic pain manifests differently in each individual, but is usually associated with deep throbbing pain, stabbing pain, burning, and may cause  hypersensitivity to stimulus. For instance, migraine sufferers are generally light and sound sensitive, and exposure to these stimulus may increase the migraine pain.

Traditional Treatments for Chronic Pain

Traditional treatments for chronic pain include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), analgesic over-the-counter pain medications, and in extreme cases, opioid therapy. Many forms of chronic pain prove to be resistant to treatment and are associated with increasing pain as time goes on. 

Chronic pain is difficult to manage and often includes many factors such as dieting, exercise, regular stretching, and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioural therapy can be extremely effective at “rewiring” the brain, and returning altered pathways to their original state. In essence, CBT teaches chronic pain sufferers to “rethink” their pain and learn to refocus on other aspects of life.

Cannabis for Chronic Pain

Many subjective patient reports point to the fact that cannabis helps to manage the symptoms of chronic pain, but what does the science say? Early studies support the use of cannabinoid therapy in managing chronic pain symptoms, including one prospective survey that showed good applications for cannabis use in treating non-cancerous pain. The survey also pointed to the fact that more research is necessary regarding the use of cannabis against chronic pain. 

Another study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal studied the effects of smoked cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain and found that “a single inhalation of 25mg of 9.4% Tetrahydrocannabinol herbal cannabis three times daily for five days reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep and was well tolerated.” 

Although the current body of research is limited, it is promising for the applications of cannabinoid therapy in helping to manage chronic pain. All subjective reports and data demonstrate that cannabinoids have a positive impact on reducing pain and improving functioning, and now that cannabis has been federally legalized the studies will be forthcoming.

Apollo Clinics Can Help

Apollo Cannabis Clinic is an evidenced based clinic who has been conducting observational research on medical cannabis and chronic pain since 2014. The staff includes health care professionals to assist patients of all ages and backgrounds. 

In order to access Apollo’s services, begin by visiting apollocannabis.ca to fill out an intake form. Once the information has been submitted and reviewed an Apollo representative will contact you to book an appointment with one of our doctors. 

During the initial appointment individuals will disclose their medical history and past cannabis use, and the doctor will determine an appropriate treatment plan with regards to cannabis. It is important to be honest and open with the doctor as it will provide them the best chance at helping individuals manage chronic pain with cannabis. 

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