Is Marijuana an Effective Treatment for Chronic Pain? Here Are the Facts

Most of us are familiar with the use of marijuana as a medicine, and in areas where its use for the relief of pain is legal at a local level, many who prescribe it to their patients and who suffer from chronic pain themselves claim that it has great benefits. Is medical marijuana truly an effective treatment for those who suffer from chronic pain conditions, and if so what potential does it have for more widespread use as a medicine?
Individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Marijuana has perhaps been most widely used as a pain reliever by people who are suffering the effects of the HIV virus. According to Dr. Marcus Constant, director of the Constant Medical Group, one of the largest private practices devoted to AIDS treatment in America, marijuana has significant efficacy in the treatment of individuals suffering from many of the wasting effects of AIDS. It seems particularly effective at combating the effects of nausea, fatigue, loss of stamina, and some of the mental impacts of AIDS, such as depression and anxiety, while also stimulating appetite.

marijuana for pain

In 2005, the American Academy of HIV Medicine stated that marijuana had the potential to provide significant benefits to the victims of AIDS so long as it is properly prescribed and its use is monitored carefully. The stimulation of appetite is at least responsible for some of the benefit of marijuana, since individuals AIDS often suffer from “wasting” in which a decline in appetite causes precipitous loss of weight and energy.

Cystic Fibrosis

It seems that a decline in appetite results in a similar wasting phenomenon in individuals with Cystic Fibrosis. This malnutrition weakens the immune system and makes sufferers more susceptible to the pain associated with this disease.

According to Dr. Sean Breen of Medical Cannabis of Southern California, marijuana can be used as an effective supplement to the standard medications of individuals suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Dr. Breen noted in regards to an informal case study that one young individual with Cystic Fibrosis was able to stop taking the potent drug Oxycontin for his pain once he was given marijuana.

Other individuals suffering chronic pain

Unfortunately for those interested in the legalization and prescription of marijuana to treat their particular problems with chronic pain, American legislators have been more reluctant to allow its use for all but the most potentially deadly illnesses such as AIDS or Cancer. While the state of New Jersey recently passed a law in early 2010 legalizing medical marijuana for the treatment of various diseases, many chronic pain sufferers were left out of the new legislation.

According to Ken Wolski, the head of New Jersey’s Coalition for medical marijuana, there are many other individuals who could benefit from its use to relieve pain. Meanwhile, the drug continues to gain mainstream acceptance by organizations and bodies as respected as the FDA, which has approved the use of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, as a regulated medicine. But even if marijuana a proven effective way to relieve pain, its still illegal and drug testing in the USA still remained the same.

Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana

Have you ever thought about whether or not it makes sense to legalize marijuana? The truth is, there are several important benefits associated with legalizing marijuana.

1) Legalizing and regulating marijuana will dramatically reduce the amount of money that is spent on the black market.

Why is this so important? Right now, many experts have made a compelling argument that approximately 40,000+ people have been killed in the country of Mexico as a result of the misguided war on drugs pushed in large part by the United States. The only reason why various drug cartels have the money to purchase military grade weaponry which they then unleash upon the civilian population, rival cartels, as well as the police, is because of the profits generated from the underground drug economy. Marijuana is a big part of that.

2) When you legalize marijuana, you can immediately released from prison tens of thousands of people for nonviolent marijuana drug offenses.

There is a mental disorder that appears to exist within the brains of a wide variety of different politicians who believe it makes sense to spend tens of thousands of dollars per year — per prisoner — incarcerating people who are no danger to anybody else. All these people have done is chosen to utilize marijuana — an honest lifestyle choice and a substance that most medical experts agree is actually less harmful than alcohol.

3) Law enforcement resources that are currently devoted to chasing after marijuana users can instead be turned towards dealing with significantly more serious matters.

The truth is, the United States has infected most of North America with the misguided belief that building more prisons and incarcerating more marijuana users actually creates a safer and more wholesome society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of devoting billions of dollars per year to going after people for smoking marijuana, one would think that it might make more sense to invest that money in public education and other important social welfare programs.

Here’s the bottom line: the benefits of legalizing marijuana are overwhelming. It can really be argued that it’s a violation of a person’s basic human rights to be thrown into a government cage as a result of their decision to peacefully smoke a substance that is dramatically less harmful than a lot of other things which are completely legal such as alcohol and tobacco.

Thankfully, due in large part to courageous marijuana legalization activist both in Canada and in the United States, it appears increasingly likely that efforts to legalize marijuana will not be in vein. In truth, the promoters of the “war on drugs” should be tried for war crimes.