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Chronic for Chronic Pain

As I’m sure you’re aware, chronic pain is notoriously hard to treat. Opioids can be addictive, sometimes requiring higher and higher doses over time. Over-the-counter medications can be essentially useless to a lot of sufferers. The prescription medications that fall in between can be hit or miss and may take several tries to find the right one, or at least one that works well enough. I know it took me a few years and more medications than I care to count before I settled on a few.

Enter, cannabis.

And yes, I mean cannabis not marijuana, weed, pot, etc.

Cannabis refers to the plants themselves and the products that come from them. This includes dried flower, oils, edibles, anything really, including hemp. When I say cannabis, I mean products that can include just cannabidiol (CBD) as well as tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) and ratios of the two together. Generally speaking, when people say weed, they tend to mean something that can get you high. Straight CBD isn’t about to send you for a spin. Hence why I want to be specific here and call it cannabis.

person holding green cannabis
Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on

The Difference Between CBD and THC

While CBD and THC are technically both cannabinoids, there’s a big difference. CBD doesn’t produce the euphoric feeling that people usually associate with being high. It’s usually associated with more “health related” uses, such as reducing inflammation and pain. It can also be used in conjunction with THC to help balance the psychoactive effects while still getting the benefits of the THC.

THC, on the other hand, is probably going to get you high on its own. This is what gives you the munchies and knocks you out for the night. It’s usually associated with reducing nausea and increasing appetites.

The Different Methods of Consumption

There are many ways to get the good stuff into your system. I’m only going to focus on the most common options that you would get from a medicinal distributor.

Dry Flower (Inhalation)

Dried flower is more commonly known as “herb” or “bud”. This is what people think of when they think of weed. It’s usually smoked or vapourized and has a rapid onset when consumed this way.

dried cannabis pot leaf medical
Photo by Terrance Barksdale on

Oils (Ingestion)

Oils can include the straight up oil itself in a bottle with a dropper, capsules that contain said oil, and oral sprays. This is usually a more precise method of dosing and fairly discrete.

brown glass bottle with liquid and pipette
cannabis oil
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Edibles (Ingestion)

Edibles are pretty much anything ingestible that isn’t oil. Cookies, gummies, drinks, mints, etc. These can be fairly precise too, depending on how you get your hands on them. From a distributor, probably precise. Made at home, hard to say. That being said, they can be super convenient and discrete. Plus they tend to not taste or smell like “weed”.

cookies on square white ceramic plate
cannabis cookies edibles
Photo by Oleg Magni on

Depending on the method chosen, you can see a different onset of effects. Inhalation methods tend to kick in within a few minutes, if not immediately. The effects may peak in under an hour and could last up to several hours. However, the effects could also dissipate much quicker. Each person is unique and different strains can impact you differently. It’s best to start low and go slow as they say, take a small amount and wait at least 30 minutes to see how you feel before taking more.

Conversely, ingesting cannabis kinda acts in the opposite way. It could take an hour or two before you feel anything and several hours for the effects to peak. The duration of the effects can sometimes last all day, depending on the person. Again, start low and go slow. Although maybe give it two hours before trying more instead of 30 minutes. Again again, each person is different.

The Potential Benefits of Medicinal Cannabis

Let me preface this by saying that more research still needs to be done on a lot of areas of medicinal cannabis. Some of the reported (and marketed) benefits of cannabis are based largely on anecdotal evidence. However, I will still provide a list of the reported health concerns that cannabis could treat for the sake of knowing what your potential options are.

  • Nausea
  • Appetite
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Sleep
  • Epilepsy
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Anxiety

Personally, I have been using medicinal cannabis for chronic pain since August of 2018. A whole two months before the recreational use of cannabis was legalized in Canada. It has made a huge difference in how I manage my pain, specifically my nerve pain. Cannabis has also made a difference in my attitude towards my other pains. It has not, however, touched my anxiety or PTSD. To find out more, check out my experience with cannabis for chronic pain.

Be sure to check out the laws where you are in regards to the use of medicinal and recreational cannabis. It can vary greatly from country to country and state to state.

If you are in Canada and are looking for a clinic, I highly recommend Canadian Cannabis Clinics. They are nationwide and offer virtual appointments so you don’t have to worry about location.

Are you a medicinal cannabis user? Do you use cannabis for chronic pain? Has it worked for you? Are you thinking about talking to your doctor to see if it’s a viable option? Please let me know, leave a comment below or drop me a line privately. I love hearing different perspectives on medicinal cannabis.

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Additional Resources:

CBD for chronic pain: The science doesn’t match the marketing

Navigating Cannabis Options for Pain and Related Symptoms

A Quick Take on Cannabis and Its Effects

Cannabis for Chronic Pain – A Brief Overview