How to Use Cannabis for Pain Relief

various pain points on a man

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the opioid epidemic that has been rocking the world. In fact, it’s so widespread at this point that this epidemic has probably touched your life in some way. And a large part of this problem is rooted in pain.

If you’re experiencing chronic pain and have yet to try cannabis for relief, now is the time. Whether your pain is from a car accident or chronic illness, cannabis can help. So, while you’re thinking about hiring a good car accident lawyer, you could already be getting some instant pain relief.

Research on cannabis for pain relief is still in its infancy, but what we’ve seen so far is very promising.

In fact, a 2017 literature review found that cannabis is effective for treating pain, especially neuropathic pain.

So, although we need more research, what we have right now tells us that cannabis is worth a shot for pain relief – especially when you compare the massive side effects that come with opioid painkillers.

And since we’ve all heard so many great things about cannabis, you might be wondering, “can cannabis help you sleep better?” And the answer, in most cases, is yes. And this is especially true if you’re experiencing pain relief from cannabis. It’s like a double whammy.

Now that we’ve covered the why let’s get to the good stuff. Here’s who to use cannabis for pain relief.

How to use cannabis for pain relief

1.      Check the legality

Before you go any further, you must ensure that cannabis is legal in your state. If you don’t go through the proper channels, you can get yourself into hot water, so let’s start here.

As of the time of this writing, there are 33 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use. In addition, DC has legalized medical marijuana. If you’re unsure about the laws in your state, check this map and/or talk to your doctor.

Just keep in mind that even among states that have legalized medical marijuana, the laws vary. Many states have very specific rules about which conditions can legally be treated with marijuana. So you’ll want to be sure it comes from a reputable medical source and that your condition is approved.

2.      Talk to your doctor

Unless you live in one of the 11 states that have legalized marijuana, you’ll probably need a medical card or other written approval to obtain cannabis legally.

In addition, there are 15 states that have decriminalized pot. This means that you won’t face jail time for getting caught with a small amount of weed, but you may still get a fine. If you live in one of these states and can’t get doctor’s approval, it’ll be a judgment call on whether the consequences of getting caught are worth the potential pain relief.

3.      Take the appropriate steps

Since the laws vary so much by state, it’s difficult to provide a step-by-step guide. In reality, the best way to go about getting cannabis for pain in a state where it’s only legalized for pain is to go through your doctor.

But we’ll look at a couple of examples here.

In New Mexico, you can visit the New Mexico Department of Health’s website and complete the Medical Cannabis Patient Application. Or have your caregiver complete an application. On this application, you’ll need your signature and that of a certifying practitioner. So, you’ll need a doctor to approve your request for cannabis. Once you’ve followed all the steps and submitted your form, you’ll have to wait 30 days to find out whether you’re approved.

New Mexico’s policies are pretty standard for states that have a liberal medical marijuana policy.

But don’t assume that’s the case in your state. If you live in Texas, for example, you’re probably not getting medical marijuana – even though it’s technically legal.

The only condition approved for medical marijuana is “intractable epilepsy.” And even then, you need two doctors to approve the prescription. These must be neurologists or epileptologists who belong to the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas.

And if you can successfully jump through all the hoops for approval, you must buy from one of a select few dispensaries that are allowed to operate in the state.

The bottom line is that it varies greatly, but in most cases where medical marijuana is legal, you can start by asking your doctor about getting a medical marijuana card.

4.      Head to a dispensary

Again, unless you live in a state where marijuana is legal, you’ll need to get your supply from an approved dispensary. Leafly has a handy map that highlights the marijuana dispensaries in the country, so you can easily find one in your area.

For pain, you can take an oral cannabis supplement or a topical one. Topical treatments include tinctures, gels, balms, and lotions. Many people find relief by applying the CBD mixture directly on the area that’s experiencing pain, and even when topicals contain THC, they aren’t likely to induce that “high” feeling you’d get from taking cannabis orally.

We’re not yet at the point where it’s always easy to get cannabis for pain, but things are quickly changing. Research what’s available in your area to find out if cannabis could be an option. If it’s not, you may be able to find some natural relief with CBD oil.

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