Dr. J. Fred Stoner on the Benefits of Medicinal Marijuana to Treat Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is characterized as pain that persists beyond the normal healing times. It is an ongoing state that often has no identifiable source. While the acute pain sustained from injuries such as breaking an arm or touching a hot stove can be directly traced to an identifying cause, chronic pain is much harder to diagnose and treat.
In moving forward with therapy for chronic pain, medical professionals are often forced to change their focus from identifying and fixing the underlying cause to simply managing the pain itself. As many treatments fall short of providing the relief that patient’s need, pathologist Dr. J. Fred Stoner believes it’s time to consider the benefits of turning to medicinal Marijuana to treat chronic pain.
Traditional Treatments for Chronic Pain
The most common, traditional treatments for chronic pain often involve both narcotic and non-narcotic drugs. For some, these treatments help to ease the symptoms of chronic pain and increase the patient’s quality of life. However, for many, these methods are ineffective, even in larger doses.
The other major downfall of treatments such as morphine in cases of chronic pain is that these drugs often affect the patient’s quality of life or end in dependency, abuse, and addiction. Often, those suffering from chronic pain feel the need to sacrifice their quality of life to simply ease their chronic pain. With so many patients finding traditional treatments to be inadequate and ineffective, there has been a longstanding call in the field of pathology for more innovative alternatives.
Medical Marijuana in Practice
While medical cannabis is currently being used to treat a variety of conditions from multiple sclerosis to spinal cord injuries, it’s most commonly prescribed for chronic pain. Dr. J. Fred Stoner explains that when administered, medical cannabis acts as an analgesic by interacting with a specific group of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters, often referred to as the endocannabinoid system, are shown to play a key role in the body’s management of pain. In interacting with the endocannabinoid system, medical marijuana is believed to ease the symptoms of chronic pain.
The Efficacy of Medical Marijuana in Relation to Chronic Pain
Arguably, the most prominent advantage of prescribing medical marijuana in place of opioids or other pain medication is its lower risk for addiction and overdose. Every year, close to 28,000 patients die from opioid overdoses. Recent discourse suggest medical marijuana may be the cure to North America’s widespread opioid epidemic, as overdosing is relatively impossible.
Dr. J. Fred Stoner notes that while clinical trials have been limited due to previous regulations on the substance, it’s widely believed in the professional medical community that medical marijuana can be an extremely effective source of pain relief.
Scientific Research Expands as Marijuana is Legalized
While many patients and physicians alike recognize marijuana’s potential use in the medical field, most evidence is largely anecdotal. For many years, the plant has been regarded as an illegal substances in most US states as well as Canada, making clinical trials and research nearly impossible.
As marijuana has gained a legal status in an increasing number of territories, medical organizations are finally able to perform clinical studies to test its effectiveness and further refine its uses. In the coming years, Dr. J. Fred Stoner anticipates that these new opportunities for scientific research will lead to more breakthroughs in the realm of chronic pain treatment.
More on Dr. J. Fred Stoner: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fred-stoner-9122389b/