Medical Marijuana for Back Pain: Does it Help?

medical marijuana

If you’re suffering from back pain, medical marijuana may be a much safer option than OTC or prescription pain medication. Long-term use of pharmaceutical painkillers can have some serious lasting consequences including addiction, liver damage, an imbalance of brain neurotransmitters, and more. And with pharmaceutical pain relief, you need more and more over time, increasing your risks of developing those negative side effects.

Medical marijuana has not demonstrated such significant side effects. In fact, most patients have only reported a complete relief of their pain, whether they’re using cannabis flowers or simple CBD oil. Using medical marijuana for back pain may be a good idea if you’ve found yourself relying on painkillers to get through the day. Medical marijuana comes in a variety of strains with varying THC and CBD strength. Strains with low or absent THC will allow you to mostly avoid the psychoactive properties while still harnessing the full range of therapeutic benefits for reducing back pain with cannabis.

Is Marijuana Anti-Inflammatory and How Does It Work?

Marijuana is, in fact, an anti-inflammatory. A recent scientific review found that the anti-inflammatory properties of medical marijuana are more than 20 times stronger than aspirin, and twice as strong as hydrocortisone. Aspirin comes with blood-thinning, clot and liver damage risks, and hydrocortisone, a steroid, can have negative effects on tissue when used long-term. Given medical marijuana’s efficacy at pain relief, and near absent list of long-term risks, it seems a no-brainer we should be using marijuana medically to treat chronic pain of all kinds.

Marijuana has been used medically for thousands of years; it’s only in the last century that it has been unfairly maligned and associated with harmful drugs. The active chemical components of the marijuana plant are known as cannabinoids, which provide an array of therapeutic effects to the human body. These compounds work directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system which is directly responsible for pain and inflammation. What’s more, medical cannabis has shown an ability to decrease muscle spasms, which every back pain sufferer knows is all too unpleasant.

Cannabis for Back Pain Relief

With well over two thirds of the US legalizing marijuana in some form, patients across the country are beginning to rely on medical marijuana for chronic back pain and more. According to patients, cannabis offers better pain relief than dangerous prescription pills. A medical marijuana prescription can be recommended by a MMJ doctor, which allows you to apply for a medical marijuana card. You need a valid MMJ card to be able to legally use medical-grade cannabis to treat specific conditions recognized by the state of Ohio as treatable with medical marijuana. Chronic pain, such as unrelenting lower back pain, warrant a marijuana recommendation if sever enough. There are several forms of ingestion, including marijuana pills, oils, edibles, flowers and more. Each state has different rules and regulations for what types of medical marijuana products are legal.

Medical Marijuana Strains for Back Pain: Indica or Sativa?

When you buy medical marijuana for back pain, it’s important to note that not all strains of cannabis are the same. In general, there are two types of cannabis: indica and sativa. While there is a lack of scientific evidence that backs these claims, most medical marijuana users believe there’s a significant difference between indica and sativa. Indica strains are often the most popular for conditions involving pain and anxiety because they put you “in da couch”… Get it? It’s a play on the word “indica”.

On the other hand, sativa strains are said to be more energizing and may keep you awake. Sativa is great for fatigue and depressive symptoms. There are also hybrid strains that harness the properties of both indica and sativa. For instance, if you’re going through chemo, you may want a hybrid that relieves pain (indica) but doesn’t zap your energy (sativa). There’s a lot going on in the field of medical marijuana. But if you’re suffering from back pain, an indica variety may be a good first option.

What About CBD to THC Ratios?

In addition to medical marijuana strains, there are also varying degrees of active therapeutic chemicals in a marijuana plant. The two primary chemicals, CBD and THC, have completely different effects on the body. Some medical marijuana plants are higher in CBD than THC, and some may have higher amounts of THC than CBD. If it’s your first time, you may want to start with a product that is low in THC and higher in CBD. Besides, CBD is the heavy lifter of the two cannabis chemicals when it comes to back pain. If it doesn’t work at first – don’t be discouraged. Patients often must try multiple strains and types of medical marijuana before they find one that works best for them. Talk to your MMJ doctor about what type might be best for you to start with.

Will Medical Marijuana Make You “High”?

A common question asked by patients suffering from back pain and who are interested in medical marijuana is if it will make them “high”. If you’re wondering “will medical marijuana make me high”, the answer is: it depends. First, let’s clarify what being high means.

“High” is a slang term used to describe being under the influence of marijuana. A high occurs when THC, the primary psychoactive component of medical marijuana, is inhaled, digested, or absorbed through the skin. The specific effects can take a few seconds or up to a few hours, depending on the delivery method. Once the THC is in your body, it activates certain areas of your brain, leaving you with a euphoric-like feeling. Some patients describe it as a pleasant and calming experience that gently fades away over the course of a few hours. Others experience negative feelings like paranoia while high. When you’re under the influence, it may increase your hunger and thirst. And it often enhances or influences your 5 senses, including vision and taste in some way. The intensity of your experience depends on how much cannabis you have consumed and how much THC is in it, which is why it’s important to start off slow.

But Will I get High, Though?

Now that you understand how medical marijuana works and what to expect, let’s return to the original question: will medical marijuana make you high?

If the cannabis has THC, then the answer is yes – you may feel the psychoactive chemicals depending on how large your dose is. In some cases, the effects are so mild that you can continue your day without it affecting you. Higher dosages may leave you feeling tired and unable to do much more than sleep or lay on the couch. And some patients prefer this as it helps them manage their pain. Talk to your medical marijuana doctor about what strains might work best for you when it comes to potency and CBD content.

On the other hand, some forms of medical marijuana are higher in CBD and contain little to no THC. In this situation, you likely won’t feel any psychoactive effects. Unfortunately, if you do decide to get a medical marijuana license in Ohio (otherwise known as an MMJ card), you’ll likely need to responsibly experiment to determine which form of cannabis works best for your condition.

Consuming medical marijuana to relieve back pain is a great option for people who find going about their daily lives painfully difficult. Wondering if you qualifying for a card under Ohio’s MMJ program? Their website has all the answers to your questions.

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