Sunday, 19 May 2024
WorldHow can the cannabis plant and psilocybin help people with chronic pain?

How can the cannabis plant and psilocybin help people with chronic pain?

Michigan (USA). The US Drug Enforcement Agency announced in late April 2024 that it plans to ease federal restrictions on cannabis. It is included in the slightly less restrictive Schedule Three than Schedule One, which includes drugs such as Tylenol along with codeine, testosterone, and other anabolic steroids. Cannabis is prepared from the hemp plant, which is used as a psychoactive drug or medicine. The move comes in the wake of growing interest in the use of psilocybin, the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’, to treat depression, chronic pain and other conditions.

How cannabis and psilocybin could help some of the 50 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain is pain that lasts for more than three months. The pain may last all the time, or may come and go. It can happen anywhere in your body. Chronic pain can interfere with your daily activities, such as working or living a normal life. This can cause depression, anxiety and trouble sleeping.

The US Food and Drug Administration designated psilocybin an important therapeutic candidate in 2018 and 2019, with the aim of accelerating drug development. As an assistant professor of anesthesiology and a researcher, I study alternative pain relief options, including cannabis and psychedelics. I also have a personal stake in improving the treatment of chronic pain: In early 2009 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body and sleep disturbance. I see cannabis and psilocybin as promising treatments that may contribute to meeting that need.

Cannabis vs. Other Pain Relief Medications
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is an ancient medicinal plant. Cannabis-based medicines have been used for at least 5,000 years for applications such as arthritis and pain relief during and after surgery. It has been used from ancient times to modern times. Like anything you put into your body, cannabis poses health risks and driving under the influence can increase the risk of accidents. Some people may also vomit. This has led many people suffering from chronic pain to use cannabis as a treatment option.

In fact, in survey studies, my colleagues and I have found that people often use cannabis in place of painkillers because it has fewer negative side effects. Despite some challenges, a group of cannabis and pain experts synthesized the existing evidence to release some guidelines in early 2024.

These guidelines recommend that cannabis products be used to treat sleep problems, muscle spasms and depression. Its many benefits mean that cannabis could potentially help people avoid taking separate medications for each symptom. Can health care providers and cannabis dispensaries everywhere use it to help chronic pain? In the coming years, I hope to contribute to applied studies in this regard.

Also read: Nepali mountaineer Kami Rita Sherpa broke her own record by climbing Mount Everest for the 29th time.

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