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Non-Cancer Pain and Medicinal Cannabis

Chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) is moderate or severe pain that is experienced for six or more months and is usually attributed to an existing condition that does not include cancer.

Some conditions that can cause chronic pain include; neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and a range of several other conditions.

Since CNCP isn't specific to one condition, there are many treatment options available including opioids, however, the controversy surrounding opioid treatments leaves many patients and physicians seeking a lower risk alternative. 

What are the symptoms of Non-Cancer Pain?

Non-Cancer Pain can physically manifest in a range of ways, including:

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Burning pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of stamina and flexibility, due to decreased activity
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Factors that may increase your risk of developing Non-Cancer Pain:

  • Injury or illness
  • Mental health
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity/exercise
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Age

How can medicinal cannabis help with Non-Cancer Pain?

With all CNCP, the aim of treatment is to reduce the overall pain felt by the patient as well as improve functionality - for example improved use of hands for patients with arthritis. Studies on medicinal cannabis for CNCP conditions found that patients that included medicinal cannabis in their treatment plan experienced a 30% to 50% reduction in pain and pain severity. 

It is imperative that a chronic non-cancer pain management plan is established and agreed upon by the patient, doctor and pain management team before medicine is introduced.

Some of the cannabis products that have shown to be beneficial treatments to Non-Cancer Pain sufferers include:

  • Nabiximols
  • Dronbinol
  • THC:CBD extracts
  • CBD extracts
  • Cannabis Sativa
  • Cannabis Indica

They can be consumed as an oil, vape liquid, sprays and wafers.

If you or a loved one are suffering from Non-Cancer Pain and are considering medicinal cannabis as a potential treatment, please speak to your GP or to one of our SAS accredited doctors here.