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Is Cannabinoids or Opioids Better for Treating Pain?

Pain is the body’s way of informing you that things are not alright. Where there’s pain, you should experience some inflammation. Most of the time, pain is managed by administering opioids. There are so many alternatives available. However, in as much as opioids are effective for pain relief, they also have the side effect of addiction. Other than addiction, there’s the risk of overdose, and extreme withdrawal symptoms should you stop using them. This brings about the need to consider an alternative way of treating pain, hence the discussion on cannabinoids.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a group of drugs that are often administered for the purpose of managing chronic pain. Some of the most common opioids that are administered include morphine and heroin. These drugs, when administered under the guidance of a medical expert, are safe to use. However, when used outside of the confines of the medical practice, they can cause serious health concerns.

How and why do opioids succeed in pain management? Opioids target the opioid receptors in the body. These are located in the spinal cord and the brain. Once they bind to the receptors, they reduce the pain impulses that the receptors transmit between the affected part of the body and your brain. It’s this action that helps you feel less pain and a heightened sense of relief. This also explains why opioids are often administered for severe pain.

While opioids will ensure you feel better, there are side-effects associated with the use of opioids. Some of these include constipation, vomiting, and nausea. If you use opioids frequently, you might also develop a high tolerance for opioids, so you will need to increase your opioid dosage to get relief, and this is how addiction creeps in.

Introducing Cannabis

Considering the challenges experienced with the use of opioids for pain relief, a safer alternative is available in cannabis. You don’t necessarily have to overdose on opioids to risk fatal side-effects. Even in the recommended dosage, it’s possible to become addicted and suffer a fatality. On the other hand, cannabis doesn’t pose the same risks.

Considering the fact that tens of thousands of people die in the US alone from overdosing on opioids and other painkillers, cannabis as a viable option is a worthy consideration. For many years, cannabis has served its role in alternative medicine effectively. Even in modern medicine, cannabis still continues to offer relief from chronic pain. These are the same symptoms for which opioids are prescribed.

In contrast, cannabis is a very safe product, and poses the lowest risk of fatality, especially when pitted against the likes of cocaine, nicotine, morphine, and heroin. While there’s still room for research on the benefits of using cannabis over opioids, the results presently available have shown that cannabis is a better option.

Given the fact that cannabis is increasingly being accepted in most modern societies, especially after President Trump signed the Farm Bill in December 2018, there’s a lot of hope and excitement for the use of cannabis. We can also look forward to the pharma industry producing more pain medicines from cannabis in the near future.


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