Exactly How Does Marijuana Relieve Pain?

Marijuana has been used medicinally to treat a variety of different diseases, disorders, and symptoms. Let's explore the science behind how marijuana relieves pain.

Like most people, you’ve probably heard impressive stories of how marijuana helps people beat pain problems, especially if the discomfort relates to a severe illness. However, even if those accounts interest you, it may not be enough to take them at face value without doing further research.

Despite what Donald Trump thinks, many journalists do a great job of thoroughly covering the news, including stories related to marijuana and pain relief. The fact is that many articles can’t cover all the aspects of particular stories. Doing that would result in newspapers that are as heavy as encyclopedias, not to mention cause problems for people with short attention spans who aren’t as eager to get down to the nitty-gritty details.

For example, you might think, “I liked reading why marijuana made that woman’s life better by reducing her pain, but how did the drug do that?” The good news is that you’re not alone in your active curiosity. Keep reading to get answers about how marijuana helps relieve pain.

Medical Marijuana Provides a Distraction

Psychologists sometimes refer to pain as a psychological phenomenon. In other words, pain tends to be most severe when people focus on it. When individuals use marijuana, the parts of their brains associated with reward and motivation are more active. The brain then releases more rewards-driven neurotransmitters than usual, giving people a sense of euphoria. Marijuana also typically makes people more easily distracted, because their short-term memory abilities get temporarily compromised. In short, the euphoric effect marijuana has on the brain and the likelihood that users become more distracted than normal when using it both often result in pain relief.

Think about the last time you were in severe pain and watched your favorite comedians perform hilarious sketches on Saturday Night Live or asked a few friends to come over and play board games with you. Those activities probably didn’t take your pain away, but they might have made you forget how much you hurt for a while. Researchers say that marijuana taken for medicinal reasons frequently has the same effect.

Marijuana Can Positively Affect Patients Suffering From Neuropathy

Millions of people suffer from nerve damage that occurs due to an underlying cause. Also known as neuropathy, the nerve issues can cause painful problems ranging from tingling to a stabbing sensation in the extremities. As you’d expect, these symptoms make it extremely difficult for individuals to live comfortably and often has a negative impact on their ability to remain employed and do the things they love.

On a positive note, scientists have found that cannabis consumption relieves nerve-related pain. Understanding how it does that requires remembering that peripheral nerves perform several functions, ranging from bladder function to temperature-related sensations. Damaged nerve centers send incorrect messages to other pain centers in the body.

The peripheral nerves that relate to feelings of pain contain cannabinoid receptors. They respond to marijuana intake and regulate neurotransmitters, as well as the central nervous system. In turn, a person’s perception of pain often lessens.

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