Medical Cannabis & Chronic Pain

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Why consider cannabis for chronic pain?

In western nations, an estimated 20% of the population is living with chronic pain, which is described as any pain lasting more than three months. Moreover, studies show that half of those living with chronic pain have high-impact or moderate to severe pain. Thus, many need prolonged treatment for the condition1.

However, chronic pain is challenging to treat, unlike acute pain. That is why alternative treatments, and even cannabis, can be of immense benefit in chronic pain.

Acute pain often occurs due to some local injury and is more readily treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. However, the pathogenesis of chronic pain is complex and poorly understood. Chronic pain often occurs due to changes in the brain and local changes. These are individuals living with hyperalgesia or higher pain sensitivity. 

Moreover, chronic pain often propagates. It means that the pain is felt at different body locations. Thus, for example, if someone has chronic low back pain, it may be rather due to depression or even sleep disorders.

This is the reason why doctors use antiseizure drugs and antidepressants to manage chronic pain. However, these treatments often fail to help sufficiently. Even worse, many of these medications cause severe side effects.

Thus, there is a reason to consider an alternative treatment like cannabis. For example, full-spectrum CBD oil, high in CBG and containing permitted amounts of THC, may help due to its broad spectrum of activity. Hence, cannabis is especially a good choice for chronic pain patients.

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This experiment should be pursued in a relaxed and focuse state. 

It is no secret that medications often do not provide adequate benefits to a large number of those living with chronic pain. Most commonly used painkillers, like paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, often fail to provide sufficient relief.
What is worrisome is that even antiseizure drugs like gabapentin have a limited impact on pain scores, though they cause many side effects. Antidepressants may work for some, but not all, and they are highly toxic2.
Opioids prescribed to manage chronic pain are the cause of opioid epidemics in the US. That is why most European countries are quite cautious regarding opioid use. Moreover, studies show that opioids may cause more harm than good. Additionally, opioids may be quite good for acute pain, but they are not so effective for chronic pain.

Have a consisten  practice and you will feel the benefits. 

Why do so many different treatments fail in chronic pain? The reason is simple; chronic pains occur due to disorders that are difficult to treat, chronic, and progressive. Thus, issues like osteoarthritis, diabetes, respiratory problems, and low back pain are some of the common causes of chronic pain3.
Additionally, those living with chronic disorders have other range of other health conditions that contribute significantly to pain. However, doctors focus too much on pain management and do not pay sufficient attention to other comorbidities that might make the pain worse. Chronic pain cannot be treated without managing anxiety, depression, neurological, and metabolic health disorders3.

Have a consisten  practice and you will feel the benefits. 

Unlike medications, cannabis has a broad spectrum of activity. It is not just good to suppress pain sensation but also good for managing depression, and anxiety, improving sleep, reducing stress, and good for metabolic health. Thus, its prolonged use may help manage chronic pain.
Unlike pharmacological drugs that mainly provide symptomatic relief, cannabis may help counter the root cause of chronic pain. Cannabis may help reset the brain and thus provide prolonged relief in chronic pain. 

Have a consisten  practice and you will feel the benefits. 

Of course, medical cannabis is good, but CBD products are safer, though milder. Unlike cannabis, CBD extracts would not cause any severe side effects. However, CBD still has many similar health benefits. Generally, CBD works better when used along with other minor cannabinoids, like CBG, due to the entourage effect. That is why full-spectrum CBD is a better choice for pain management. 
It also has the additional benefit of THC, which is present in small amounts. In Europe, CBD products must contain THC less than 0,2%. This is a minute amount and thus does cause any severe side effects or euphoria. However, this amount is sufficient to cause the entourage effect.

What does the science say?

Regarding science, it would be right to say that there is sufficient evidence to favor cannabis use for chronic pain management. Studies suggest that it is moderately effective for chronic pain. A systemic review combining data from eighteen clinical studies concluded that it might be quite good for moderate-intensity chronic pain4

Even European Pain Federation (EFIC) is not against using cannabis for pain management. But, of course, it has a cautious approach, and it recommends that though cannabis is good for managing chronic pain, all those using cannabis for pain management must be under close clinical surveillance. Here it is essential to note that these EFIC recommendations are regarding the clinical use of medical cannabis5.

Full-spectrum CBD products enriched with other minor cannabinoids like CBG differ because they are readily available and have excellent safety profiles. Moreover, it means that one can use such products without a medical prescription. Hence, in recent years, researchers have been giving significant attention to CBD products for chronic pain management.

One of the systemic reviews analyzing thirty-six clinical trials found that there seems to be strong evidence that CBD products help in non-cancer chronic pain. They may provide significant pain relief within two weeks of regular use. Moreover, the study concluded that cannabinoids do not have any severe adverse effects, and thus they are well suited for prolonged use6.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are binaural beats, and how do they work?

Binaural beat therapy is an emerging form of sound wave therapy. It makes use of the fact that the right and left ear each receive a slightly different frequency tone, yet the brain perceives these as a single tone.

Advocates of this type of therapy currently recommend it for the treatment of anxiety, stress, and related disorders. This self-help treatment is usually available in the form of audio recordings that a person listens to on stereo headphones.

However, research is inconclusive about the clinical benefits of binaural beat therapy, and a doctor does not oversee its delivery. Therefore, it is best not to replace traditional treatments for stress and anxiety with this type of intervention.

Binaural beat therapy is not part of standard care for any condition. Doctors consider this treatment to be semi-experimental.

How do binaural beats work?

According to a 2015 literature review, the tones should be at frequencies lower than 1,000 hertz (Hz) for the brain to detect the binaural beat. The binaural beat that a person perceives is the frequency difference between the waves entering the left and right ear.

For example, if the left ear registers a tone at 200 Hz and the right ear registers one at 210 Hz, the binaural beat is 10 Hz — the difference between the two frequencies.

The findings of a 2018 study suggest that listening to binaural beats for a recommended period can affect a person’s subsequent behavior and sleep cycles.

The study authors explain that there are five different categories of frequency pattern:

  • Delta pattern: Binaural beats in the delta pattern operate at a frequency of 0.5–4 Hz with links to a dreamless sleep. In the study, people who received a delta pattern frequency during sleep entered a deeper stage of sleep, according to electroencephalogram (EEG) brain scan results.
  • Theta pattern: Practitioners set binaural beats in the theta pattern to a frequency of 4–7 Hz. Theta patterns contribute to improved meditation, creativity, and sleep in the rapid eye movement (REM) phase.
  • Alpha pattern: Binaural beats in the alpha pattern are at a frequency of 7–13 Hz and may encourage relaxation.
  • Beta pattern: Binaural beats in the beta pattern are at a frequency of 13–30 Hz. This frequency range may help promote concentration and alertness. However, it can also increase anxiety at the higher end of the range.
  • Gamma pattern: This frequency pattern accounts for a range of 30–50 Hz. The study authors suggest that these frequencies promote maintenance of arousal while a person is awake.
  • Alpha pattern: Binaural beats in the alpha pattern are at a frequency of 7–13 Hz and may encourage relaxation.

The purpose of using binaural beats therapy may differ among individuals. Some people may need help decreasing their anxiety, while others might want to increase their concentration or deepen their level of meditation.

Proponents of binaural beat therapy suggest that the potential benefits include:

  • reduced stress and anxiety
  • increased focus, concentration, and motivation
  • improved confidence
  • better long term memory after exposure to beta pattern frequencies, according to a 2019 study
  • deeper meditation
  • enhanced psychomotor performance and mood

However, a 2017 study that measured the effects of binaural beat therapy using EEG monitoring found that binaural beat therapy does not affect brain activity or emotional stimulation. The researchers also monitored heart rate and skin conductance as indicators of emotional arousal.

The purpose of using binaural beats therapy may differ among individuals. Some people may need help decreasing their anxiety, while others might want to increase their concentration or deepen their level of meditation.

How to use binaural beats

To listen to binaural beats, a person will need a pair of stereo headphones and an MP3 player or another music system.

As the leading authorities in psychiatric treatment have no recommendations for binaural beats, it is usually the producer of the tape that makes the suggestions for use.

People should follow the instructions carefully. Those who do not see any reduction in anxiety might benefit from trying a different producer, type of sound, or frequency.

It is important to avoid using binaural beats therapy while undertaking tasks that require alertness and full attention, such as driving.


Early research from 2001 suggested that binaural beat therapy may yield some benefit for people with mild anxiety. However, the authors stated that it warranted further study only as a therapeutic measure to support conventional treatments for anxiety.

Despite this, other researchers have continued to investigate this therapy. A 2005 study involving more than 100 participants who were due to receive general anesthesia for a day procedure reported a decrease in preoperative anxiety after exposure to a delta wave binaural beat.

The participants in this study listened to 30 minutes of binaural beats before surgery. However, the researchers noted that people experiencing high levels of preoperative anxiety could listen to binaural beats for up to 1 hour before anesthesia to reduce levels of anxiety.

Researchers from the National College of Natural Medicine in Oregon conducted a study on binaural beat therapy in 2007. They evaluated eight study participants who listened to delta wave binaural beat therapy every day for 60 days.

The results showed a decrease in anxiety, insulin-like growth factor, and dopamine. The participants also reported an increase in quality of life. The team concluded that although the small sample size means that further research is necessary, binaural beats might improve self-reported anxiety.

A 2019 review of 22 studies found a significant link between more prolonged exposure to binaural beat tapes and reduced anxiety. It also found that practitioners did not need to mask the beats with white noise for the treatment to have an effect.

Some researchers have even suggested that 10 minutes of exposure to a 6 Hz frequency could induce a brain state similar to that during meditation.

Although there is little evidence of any adverse side effects of using binaural beat therapy, a literature review of studies identified conflicting data, so further research is necessary.


As with any self-help tool, it is important for a person to speak with a healthcare professional to determine whether binaural beats therapy is right for them.

The quality of the available research is mixed. Many of the studies confirming the benefits of binaural beats therapy involved small cohorts and used subjective measurements, such as questionnaires. There are few recent, high quality studies supporting binary beat therapy as an effective treatment for anxiety.

However, people can practice binary beat therapy at home with no training. Therefore, those who find that it reduces their anxiety can use it to support ongoing anxiety treatment.

It is important to note that there is a lack of research on the long term side effects of the therapy. People may wish to start with shorter sessions of binaural beat therapy and increase their exposure gradually.

Q: What proven self-care measures are available for people with anxiety?

A: Among nonpharmacologic treatments for anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has the most scientific evidence to support its use. However, it is important to consider that CBT, in many people, is best as part of a multimodal treatment plan that includes medication.

All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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