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Chronic Pain and Medical Marijuana

by Janet Kupris and Lori Engustian

Cannabis is one of the oldest plants documented in the history of human use in natural remedies. Today, thousands of studies show the positive effects of cannabis on a multitude of conditions and diseases. A large number of patients use cannabis to treat one of the most popular qualifying conditions: chronic pain. In fact, many have significantly reduced or completely weaned off the opiates they once used to get themselves through the day.

In a nutshell, opiates involve the brainstem, the part of the brain responsible for the respiratory system. Overdoses are at an all time high and an obvious problem in the United States. The U.S. is comprised of only 5 percent of the world’s population yet it consumes 80 percent of the world’s opiates. Cannabis, however, does not affect the involuntary respiratory system or the brain stem, and therefore cannot result in death.

The endocannabinoid system, which was only discovered a couple of decades ago, is made up of CB1 and CB2 receptors: CB1 being located mostly within the brain and CB2 located throughout the immune system and some organs in the body. Cannabis binds to these receptors like a key fitting into a lock. This system modulates bodies to stay in balance, or homeostasis.

The future of cannabis is evolving at a rapid rate as new discoveries are happening at a very fast pace. The medicine in the plant, which is mostly contained within the resin glands or trichomes, contain the terpenes and cannabinoid profiles which vary strain to strain, some of which provide no psychoactive affects.

The stigma of smoking a joint is fading away as new technologies emerge and delivery methods advance to offer other options that are gaining popularity, such as salves, edibles, tinctures, capsules, teas and more, especially with the older population and aging baby boomers.

Patients now have a choice, which includes a natural, safer alternative than its conventional counterparts.

Janet Kupris and Lori Engustian are ??? at Summit Medical Compassion Center, located at 380 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick. For more information, call 401-889-3990 or visit SummitRI.org.