What are some harmless pain relievers

14. Cannabis for pain

Cannabis has been used as a pain reliever for thousands of years. The already proven pain-relieving effect of cannabis is due to the interaction of numerous ingredients. The best known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the former being primarily responsible for the psychoactive effect.

More and more researchers are convinced that cannabis, among other things. is an effective medicine for pain. One study (36) at the Northwestern University demonstrated in 2017 that cannabis has analgesic properties due to inhibiting signal transmission of the pain pathway and anti-inflammatory effects. Also researchers from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine came to the conclusion in 2018 that cannabis is very suitable for the treatment of chronic pain (37).

But the use of cannabis as a medicinal product has had a catch since 1925. Because at that time this medicinal plant was due to the intoxicating effect by the Second international opium conference of League of Nations Banned worldwide in Geneva. However, based on the scientific findings, a rethinking is gradually taking place.

In the US, prescribing cannabis - e.g. B. Pain - now legal in 33 states and in 11 states as well as Canada it has been generally legalized for people of a certain age. In Europe this trend is still lagging behind, but the medicinal use of cannabis has already been liberalized in 20 countries.

Why Most Pain Patients (Must) Use Cannabis Illegally

In the EU area, patients usually have to meet very strict requirements in order to receive a cannabis prescription. Unfortunately, only a few people follow this path because it is perceived as far too complicated and restrictive. (39)

  1. In Germany, chronically critically ill people have been able to get cannabis on prescription since 2017. For around 70 percent, pain is by far the most common diagnosis. The costs may be covered by the health insurance companies. In order to be able to grow the medicinal plant yourself, an exception permit is required. This is only granted if there is no equally effective therapy available.
  2. In Switzerland, the new Narcotics Act from 2011 provides for the controlled use of hemp for medical purposes. However, there is an exemption from Federal Office of Public Health necessary. The health insurance companies only assume costs in exceptional cases, and growing them yourself is a criminal offense.
  3. In Austria - unlike in Germany and Switzerland - you only get drugs such as dronabinol on prescription, i.e. not the plant or the healing flowers. The costs are not always borne by the health insurance companies. Growing your own is not allowed. According to studies and experience reports, drugs have the disadvantage that the same positive effect cannot be achieved with individually extracted or synthetically produced active ingredients as with the active ingredient compound in natural cannabis. (34, 35)

The so-called CBD products are classified as dietary supplements in most EU countries. Because these have a very low THC content - a maximum of 1 percent in Switzerland and a maximum of 0.2 percent in the EU - and are therefore not subject to the Narcotics Act.

According to studies (38), CBD also has pain-relieving properties, but is inferior to THC in this respect and the best effect can also be achieved here through the interaction of various cannabinoids. However, CBD has the advantage that it has no (or no noticeable) psychoactive effects. We therefore recommend pain patients to consult a specialist doctor who is aware of the potential of the medicinal plant in order to find out more about the therapy options and also about the prescription of medical cannabis.

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