Chronic pain can be debilitating, impacting your ability to work, engage in social interactions, and diminish your overall quality of life. While opioids, otherwise known as analgesics, are the primary treatment for chronic pain, marijuana is a viable option for chronic pain.

What is Chronic Pain?

Pain is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage” (The International Association for the Study of Pain).

For most of us, pain is temporary. It resolves after the body heals. This type of pain is called acute pain.

When pain persists for three months or longer, it’s called chronic pain. According to the Government of Canada, nearly 8 million Canadians live with chronic pain. Approximately 7.6 million Canadians, which is one in five people, will live with chronic pain. And as the population ages, it’s expected that more and more people will live with this debilitating form of pain.

A woman with her back facing out, holding her neck in pain.

Opioids for Chronic Health

Opioids are prescribed for 1 in 3 people dealing with chronic pain. However, the known harms of opioid use, such as addiction and overdose, show that these drugs carry significant dangers that may be leading individuals to explore other more effective therapeutics like cannabis.

Woman holding a pill in one hand and a glass of water in another.

Marijuana for Chronic Pain Relief

Research and anecdotes suggest that cannabis helps relieve chronic pain. The most studied chemical compounds in the cannabis plant are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the chemical compound that produces the euphoria or “high” feeling. It can also diminish nausea and increase appetite. On the other hand, CBD does not produce the high associated with THC; however, it’s associated with reduced pain and inflammation.

What the Research Says

While scientific research about the impact of marijuana on health is limited but growing, there is strong anecdotal evidence that marijuana helps relieve chronic pain. 

In a 2015 scientific paper that reviewed different studies, the authors concluded that using cannabis and cannabinoids may help treat chronic pain for certain chronic pain conditions like nerve pain. 

In Summary

Living with chronic pain is debilitating and can negatively impact your quality of life. Opioids are the usual treatment for chronic pain. But unfortunately, opioid use has serious adverse effects like overdose and addiction.

Marijuana, on the other hand, has been shown to relieve chronic pain (among other medical issues) with fewer serious side effects. If you need advice on the type of marijuana strain for your chronic pain, reach out to us: +1.226.568.2711, comforttreehealing@gmail.com

Marijuana leaves around the word, medicine spelt out with scrabble letters.


Government of Canada. (2021). An action plan for pain in Canada. https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/medical-cannabis-for-chronic-pain

Hill, K. P. (2015). Medical marijuana for treatment of chronic pain and other medical and psychiatric problems: A clinical review. JAMA, 313(24), 2474-2383. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.6199

Mathieson S, Wertheimer G, Maher CG, et al (2020). What proportion of patients with chronic noncancer pain are prescribed an opioid medicine? Systematic review and meta-regression of observational studies. Journal of Internal Medicine, 287, 458-474. https://doi.org/10.1111/joim.13026.

Volkow, N., Benveniste, H., & McLellan, A. T. (2018). Use and misuse of opioids in chronic pain. Annual Review of Medicine, 69, 451-465. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-med-011817-044739