Everybody experiences physical pain throughout their life. And the ambitious life in the fast lane does not make pitstops for pain. Discomfort from chronic or acute pain could lead to a prescription of opiate derived medication such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone or morphine. However, as more cannabis research regarding pain management emerges, more people are choosing cannabis. In this article, cannabis and opiates go head to head…we will see which comes out on top!
Round 1: Side Effects of Cannabis and Opiates
Scientific research and personal (direct and indirect) experience has shown that cannabis and opiates are excellent choices for pain management. According to Drugs.
One, there are 8 medical conditions where patients can use cannabis – cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, muscle spasms, seizures, severe pain, severe nausea and cachexia. Side effects include: an altered state of consciousness, distorted perception of time and space, impaired coordination and concentration, self-conscious thoughts, sedation and an increase in heart rate and appetite.
Opiates may be prescribed to manage many levels of pain – from chronic back pain to post op recovery. Side effects of opiates include: sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, physical dependence, tolerance, psychological addiction, respiratory problems, rashes, wheezing, difficulty breathing and closing of the throat.
Round 2: How Cannabis and Opiates Operate in the Body
Opiates enter the body through the bloodstream. Once it reaches the brain, opiates interact with several receptors to release pain relief and feelings of euphoria.2 Overtime, the body builds a tolerance to opiates and an increased dose of medication is required for the same pain-relieving effect. The buildup of tolerance could lead to dependency which could lead to addiction. Once a person reaches an addictive state, we are then dealing with psychological issues rather than just pain management.
Once cannabis enters your body it interacts with the same receptors as opiates. Surprise! There is a bonus. Cannabis also engages with your endocannabinoid system. So not only could you potentially experience similar analgesic benefits as an opiate you could also reap the benefits of many cannabinoids including and especially CBD. In addition, although some can build a tolerance to cannabis, you only need to abstain for one or two days to refresh your tolerance levels.
Round 3: Ingesting Cannabis and Opiates
Opiates can be ingested orally via pill, liquid or lollipop. Opiates are also available as a shot, skin patch and suppository form.
Cannabis can be vaped, smoked or eaten. The most versatile of the three methods would be in the form of edibles. Edibles are so discrete that it is easy to nibble on a delicious bar of Hifi Chocolates to get you through the day.
Based on these criteria, the obvious winner would be CANNABIS! However, we cannot discount the analgesic benefits of opiates when it comes to pain management post operation or major injury. Research is beginning to uncover the possibilities of the combination of cannabis and opiates for pain treatment. A person straight out of recovery could use opiates to manage the pain. Then slowly incorporate cannabis. Once your prescription has been filled and pain has decreased, you could potentially continue to manage your pain with cannabis. This way, you have a natural analgesic while derailing from the possible road to addiction.
Taking a few bites each from Hifi Chocolates THC and CBD bars could be helpful in temporary relief from chronic pain. But remember, chronic pain is usually a by-product of a bigger issue. For example, cannabis may provide relief if you have chronic pain in your wrist. However, the root of the pain could be due to carpel tunnel, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis. It will take more than cannabis and opiates to be cured from chronic pain. But at least cannabis comes in chocolate!
In the meantime, what are you doing to manage the pain?
Disclaimer: Posts are made for getting the conversation going about the popular uses of cannabis. Information and statements made are for educational purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. It is not our intention to dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.
- L. Anderson PharmD (2016 November 13) Cannabis https://www.drugs.com/illicit/cannabis.html
- National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.