10th May 2023

THC-based Cannabinoid Medications

by Simon Tordoff

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is defined as pain that has persisted for three months or longer. It is a common condition, and studies suggest that currently up to 10% of the British population have a chronic pain condition.

Some patients with chronic pain do not respond well to traditional treatments with the opioid (morphine-based) medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Cannabis has been used for pain relief and sedation for thousands of years. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary psychoactive component found in the cannabis plant and the THC-based cannabinoid medications have gained attention in recent years as a potential treatment for chronic pain, particularly when other medications have failed to provide relief.

The benefits of Medical Cannabis

Here are some of the potential benefits of the THC-based cannabinoid medications:

Reducing pain levels

THC has been shown to have pain-relieving properties by activating the endocannabinoid system of the body. This system is involved in the regulation of pain, mood, and appetite. THC can provide pain relief by reducing a patient’s perception of their pain.

Improved sleep

Chronic pain can interfere with a patient’s sleep pattern, and this can exacerbate their pain. THC has been shown to have sedative effects, which may help patients to sleep better.

Reduced Inflammation

Chronic pain can be associated with inflammation. THC has anti-inflammatory properties, and this might alleviate pain in some patients.

Reduced opioid use

Opioid (morphine-based) medications are commonly prescribed for chronic pain management, but these have many unpleasant side effects, and also have the risk of dependence and overdose. Studies and anecdotal evidence (so called ‘Real World Data’) have shown that THC-based cannabinoid medications can reduce the need for opioids in some individuals, and so reduce the risk of opioid-related harm.

Improved quality of life

Chronic pain can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life, leading to depression, anxiety, and social isolation. The THC-based cannabinoid medications might improve the quality of life for some patients by reducing their pain, improving their sleep pattern, and reducing their reliance on the opioid medications.

A promising solution?

It must be emphasised that while THC-based cannabinoid medication does show promise as a potential treatment for chronic pain, it is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Like all medications, these might not be effective for everyone, and they do have their own set of side effects. It is important to work with a Healthcare Provider who is knowledgeable about medical cannabis to ensure safe and effective use of the medications.

In conclusion, the THC-based cannabinoid medications offer a promising alternative for long-term pain management, particularly when other medications have failed to provide relief. These medications have been shown to have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and sedative effects, reducing the need for opioid medications, and providing an overall improved for patients. They might be a valuable treatment option for patients searching for better pain management and an improved quality of life.