CBD is a Cannabinoid Rock Star, but is THC a Better Solution for Serious Pain?
As Americans age, chronic pain often becomes an unwelcome reminder of injuries, repetitive stresses, or medical conditions. It’s estimated that about 30% of us – about 100 Million people - are afflicted with this condition that varies from highly irritating to completely debilitating.
Our news feeds are filled with testimonials and polling from pain-sufferers who are finding relief with CBD, which is one of about 140 cannabinoids in cannabis plants. The Arthritis Foundation reports that 94% of those who report using CBD used it to relieve pain.
There's pain, and then there's PAIN
It’s believed that CBD is effective against pain because it works with the body’s own endocannabinoid system to help reduce inflammation. But many types of pain have other causes, some of which exceed the abilities of CBD.
“Studies show that THC is good for neuropathic and central pain, or pain caused by cancer, fibromyalgia, AIDS, and other similar conditions. THC also contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties so they target the problem at its very root,” says Dana Smith in a recent article, ”Joint Pain Be Gone - Cannabis for Arthritic Joints Gives Millions a New Option”.
Smith also quotes Steve Alexander, a University of Nottingham Medical School associate professor studying cannabinoids:
“THC activates certain cannabinoid receptors, one of which is in the nerve cells and the other is in the immune cells. When it activates the one in the nerve cells, it reduces the sensation of pain.”
Many find comfort with THC despite the “get high - oh no!” reputation that’s been used to demonize it. In small doses, THC can quiet pain signals, and in higher doses it will get you high. So will lots of pain meds, by the way... so doesn't THC correlate to exactly what the doctor is already ordering?
Smith quotes Angela D. Bryan, a neuroscience and psychology professor at the University of Colorado Boulder:
“A little bit of euphoria can help us not care that we’re experiencing quite as much pain, much in the same way that other pain medications work.”
How to get your THC?
So how to get your THC if you need it? Many older people don’t want to smoke or vape cannabis or just plain can’t due to health complications. But there are exciting new delivery methods that are highly effective at delivering THC in ways you might not expect.
There are tinctures (oral drops) which are held in the mouth for a minute or so, that absorb into the bloodstream quickly through blood vessels.
A progressive next step in this area is a sublingual mist, whose tiny droplets may absorb even more easily in the mouth.
Finally, there are transdermal creams which, in addition to being easy to apply and feel nice, are actually developed in laboratories as highly sophisticated delivery systems for essential pain relief.
So instead of asking grandma whether she wants a hit, a spritz or a gentle rub of cream could be just the right choice.