A Natural Solution for Pain
Millions of people suffer from chronic pain, which does not always appear alone; it is often accompanied by symptoms like fatigue, depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Chronic pain results from combined biologic, psychologic, and social factors, and requires a multifactorial approach to management. When experiencing chronic pain, many become desperate to find a solution that rids them of this discomfort. However, prescription drugs come with potential side effects and limitations.
While Cannabis may straddle the line between alternatives and pharmaceuticals, it also exists in a blurred zone of legality for some based on location, there is no denying the proven effects of cannabis for pain management. Humans have been using herbal medicine since the beginning of time; cannabis residue has been found in ancient burial grounds across the world in Asia, Africa and Europe.
The Endocannabinoid System & Cannabinoids
Our bodies are built with an endocannabinoid system that regulates and controls many of our most critical bodily functions such as learning and memory, emotional processing, sleep, temperature control, pain control, inflammatory and immune responses, and eating.
The ECS comprises a vast network of chemical signals and cellular receptors that are densely packed throughout our brains and bodies. To stimulate these receptors, our bodies produce molecules called endocannabinoid, such as Anandamide (AEA or arachidonoyl ethanolamide) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), which have a structural similarity to molecules in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids regulate how cells communicate - how they send, receive, or process messages.
There are two different types of ECS receptors found throughout the body. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain and nervous system. They act like traffic cops to control the levels and activity of most of the other neurotransmitters. CB2 receptors are mostly found in our immune tissues and are critical to helping control our immune functioning, and play a role in modulating intestinal inflammation, contraction, and pain in inflammatory conditions.
THC and CBD
There are over 60 different phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants, with the major two and most researched ones being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both CBD and THC have significant therapeutic benefits.
THC is a wonderful analgesic and mood enhancer and is responsible for psychoactive properties. In addition to alleviating pain, it can cause euphoria or a feeling of being"stoned" due to its affinity to bind and interact with CB1 receptors. CBD binds to CB2 receptors and can help relieve pain and alleviate inflammation without feeling “stoned” or intoxicated.
Research has shown compelling evidence that CBD works best when combined with THC and the full spectrum of other cannabis components such as terpenes (essential oils of plants). These compounds interact synergistically to create an “entourage effect” to reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. Taken together, they can provide the highest benefit in reducing pain and improving overall wellbeing.
How you choose to manage chronic pain is a personal choice. While the historical use of marijuana for pain relief is more traditional than most people realize, it remains a new and evolving form of treatment due to limited research because of regulation.
At Pakaloha Care, our goal is to educate you on your choices and help you through your journey in your happiest, healthiest, and most pain-free life.