Chronic pain is something that almost everyone is familiar with because they either live with it or know someone that does. Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent medical conditions globally. According to Australia’s National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management, known as The Action Plan, an estimated 3.4 million Australians live with chronic pain.
The Chronic Pain Landscape
The chronic pain landscape is quite vast as chronic pain can result from accidents, injuries, medical conditions, and other circumstances. Some of the most common underlying causes for chronic pain include nerve damage, arthritis, fibromyalgia, tension headaches, bone fractures, endometriosis, cystitis, IBS, sciatica, diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, and TMJ, to name a few. Chronic pain comes in six various types: nociceptive pain, somatic pain, visceral pain, neuropathic pain, psychogenic pain, and idiopathic pain.
Signs of Chronic Pain
Depending on the underlying cause of chronic pain, the exact symptoms and signs experienced by patients may vary. Some of the most common signs of chronic pain include but are not limited to the following.
- • Joint pain
- • Muscle aches
- • Burning or tingling sensations accompanied by pain
- • Fatigue
- • Sleep issues resulting from unexplained pain
- • Loss of flexibility due to decreased activity
When Should You Seek Help for Chronic Pain?
If you have experienced any of the above symptoms for a prolonged period extending more than three months without medication or self-care therapies, it is time that you seek help as you may be suffering from chronic pain or a related underlying condition. In many cases, the longer pain is left untreated, the harder it is to find relief.
How Is Chronic Pain Diagnosed?
Chronic pain is a condition that becomes diagnosable over time. Over the course of several months or even years, your doctors and specialists may perform various tests to pinpoint the cause of your pain and make a proper diagnosis. These tests will vary depending on the type and severity of your pain, but typically include X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, blood work, and neurological examinations, among others.
The Endocannabinoid System & Chronic Pain
Plant therapies are believed to help regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system through CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout the endogenous system. This, in return, may result in viable treatment options for a variety of disease processes, including chronic pain and associated symptoms.
According to “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids – The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research,” published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2017, concludes that the research surrounding cannabinoid therapies for the treatment of chronic pain is quite promising. This study reported the following;
- • Cannabinoids have been proven to be effective in treating neuropathic pain and spasticity related to MS.
- • Patients with chronic pain have reported a clinically noteworthy reduction in pain symptoms through the use of cannabinoid therapies.
- • There is substantial evidence that individuals with chronic pain are choosing to replace their opiate use with medical cannabis where legal programs exist.
Traditional Treatments for Chronic Pain
Common treatment for chronic pain is characterized by medications for pain management. These often include pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, analgesics, narcotics, and nerve pain and antispasmodic medications. Additionally, chronic pain patients often undergo lifestyle and diet changes to help reduce the underlying cause of chronic pain as well as increase their mobility. Chronic pain patients sometimes also seek out cognitive, physical, psycho, behavioral, and massage therapies.
Plant Therapies for Chronic Pain – Clinical Trial Synopsis
According to statistics from Fresh Leaf Analytics, 85% of those seeking out medical cannabis prescriptions in Australia are doing so to treat chronic pain, and for a good reason. The number of anecdotal stories that state the efficacy of cannabinoid therapies in relieving chronic pain seem to be endless. The clinical research available to date is also very promising in the realm of plant-based therapies for chronic pain treatment.
CA Clinics is recruiting for their CA Clinics Observational Study (CACOS) in conjunction with Applied Cannabis Research (ACR). CACOS aims to research the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis therapies for a wide variety of hard-to-treat conditions, including chronic pain. This study will be an ongoing observational study in which patients will self-report via a series of surveys. The study is open to patients who are approved for specific medicinal cannabis prescriptions through CA Clinics doctors and who are over the age of 18. To learn more about this registered trial, click here.
To see if you are eligible for plant-based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.