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The effect of medical cannabis on chronic pain is very well researched. Therefore, it is considered a therapeutic option with few side effects in the treatment of chronic pain. An observational study from Canada proofed that again.

What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?

Acute pain is caused by an injury or damage and is usually limited to the place of origin, such as a broken leg. The intensity of pain depends on the injury. The pain ends when the injury has healed.

We speak of chronic pain if it persists for at least three months. The causes are usually not apparent or the pain persists even though the cause has been eliminated. As a result, an independent disease forms and the brain develops a pain memory.

Treatment of chronic pain

Often the therapy shapes difficultly. Therefore, multimodal therapy, i.e. a combination of different treatments, is commonly used. These include, for example, physical therapies, psychological therapies or complementary procedures such as naturopathic treatment.

In addition to these therapy options, drugs also play an important role in pain medicine. Classic pain medication such as paracetamol, ASS or ibuprofen can relieve pain. However, these drugs can cause serious side effects if taken over a long period of time. Opioids or opiates are also often prescribed for very severe pain, which can not only cause severe side effects but also have a high potential for addiction.

Results of the study

Canadian researchers from Toronto have worked on a prospective observational study with 751 chronic pain patients over a period of 12 months who started medical cannabis treatment. The results show that the patients' pain severity improved after one month of treatment and did not worsen over the 12-month period. Within three months, significant improvements in physical and mental health were also observed. In addition, symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, nausea and fatigue decreased in patients.

Particularly interesting is that patients taking opioid drugs were able to reduce the dose by using medical cannabis.


Insomnia that persists for a long period of time can seriously endanger your health. In a randomized double-blind clinical trial, researchers have now been able to show that treatment with medical cannabis can be effective.

There are multiple causes of chronic sleep disorders. Often, they are triggered by psychological strain, stress and unfavourable sleeping conditions. Various neurological diseases, such as restless legs syndrome or chronic pain, can also make it difficult to fall asleep and prevent people from getting a good night’s sleep. Similarly, the use of medications (e.g. thyroid hormones or antidepressants) and illegal drugs can also cause sleep problems.

Due to the lack of sleep, symptoms such as tiredness during the day, nervousness, inner restlessness as well as concentration and comprehension problems can occur. Sleep disorders can also affect mental stability, resulting in depression or anxiety disorders. The immune system also suffers from sleep disorders.

Treatment of insomnia

The therapy depends on the cause. If psychological problems are present, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy may be appropriate. Learning relaxation techniques (e.g. autogenic training or meditation) can also be helpful for those affected.

It is also important for those affected to pay attention to a healthy diet and proper sleep hygiene. With the help of special rules of conduct, those affected can promote healthy sleep.

As a rule, sleeping pills are only used in severe cases, as they lose their effectiveness after a short time and also quickly become accustomed. It is also problematic that the sleep disorders reappear when the medication is discontinued.

Medical cannabis as a therapeutic option

In a recent randomized double-blind clinical trial, 23 subjects were treated with medical cannabis for 14 nights. After a one-week rinsing phase, they again received a placebo for 14 nights. The subjects took a single dose of 11.5 milligrams of cannabinoids or a double dose of 23 milligrams of cannabinoids using a sublingual solution.

The results show that the volunteers treated with medical cannabis fell asleep more quickly and also slept significantly longer. The volunteers also reported that their quality of life improved, they felt less stressed and less tired. They also felt better rested after sleep.


The results of a placebo-controlled study by the Center for Applied Health Science in Stow, USA, stated that cannabis extracts containing CBD improved HDL cholesterol levels of volunteers.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is involved in numerous important tasks in the organism, such as metabolic processes in the brain. At the same time, however, cholesterol is also an important starting material for the formation of vitamin D and certain hormones (e.g. testosterone and oestrogen) and for the production of bile acids for fat digestion.

Cholesterol can only be transported in the blood if the fat-like, water-insoluble substance (lipid) combines with the water-soluble proteins. The resulting lipoproteins are classified according to their different densities, depending on their protein content, into Very-Low-Density-Lipoproteins (VLDL), Low-Density-Lipoproteins (LDL) and High-Density-Lipoproteins (HDL).

Because of its high lipid content, LDL is also called “bad” cholesterol and HDL is called “good” cholesterol. If the LDL cholesterol level in the blood is permanently elevated, vascular calcifications can develop. As a result, cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks and strokes can occur.

Results of the study

The study involved 65 overweight participants. They received either a hemp oil extract [hemp, 60 mg/d PlusCBDTM hemp oil extract (15 mg hemp-derived CBD)] or a placebo daily for six weeks. Every participant should maintain their eating habits and sporting activities and not change them.

In the hemp CBD group, HDL cholesterol improved significantly. In addition, the participants from this group reported that feelings of stress were reduced. The quality of sleep had also improved.

The researchers also stated that the hemp-CBD combination was well tolerated by the volunteers.


Washington State University has published the results of an observational study. It states that patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder were able to reduce their symptoms such as flashbacks, anxiety and irritability by using medical cannabis.

People who have gone through an extreme situation are at increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Such extreme situations can include serious accidents, life-threatening illnesses, mistreatment in childhood or adulthood. But also, witnessing wars, captivity or terrorist attacks can be triggers for this mental illness. It does not necessarily occur immediately after the traumatic experience. Even weeks, months or even years later, various symptoms can still appear.

Typical symptoms manifest themselves in the form of intrusions and flashbacks when those affected are overwhelmed by the emerging memories of the trauma. Intrusions and flashbacks are usually triggered by key stimuli. For example, when a war victim hears a loud bang or a burn victim perhaps smells smoke. Other symptoms of PTSD can manifest themselves as follows:

  • Nightmares
  • Wild outbreaks
  • Tachycardia and shortness of breath
  • Swindle
  • Anxiety, irritability and nervousness
  • Depression

Treatment of PTSD

Those affected need above all psychological care and in severe cases also an inpatient stay in a psychiatric clinic. Therapy usually consists of three phases: creation of a safe environment, stabilization and overcoming trauma.

Drug therapy is usually only used if the person concerned suffers from severe sleep disorders, restlessness, anxiety or depression, for example. Various studies have already shown that medical cannabis can be used as a supportive therapy in PTSD to alleviate the symptoms.

Results of the current observational study

404 medical cannabis users with PTSD used an app over a period of 31 months to track changes in their symptoms (flashbacks, intrusions, anxiety, irritability) depending on different cannabis varieties and doses before and after inhalation.

The results show that the symptoms were reduced by more than 50 percent after inhalation of medical cannabis. In the further course of time, a decrease in intrusions and irritability were also observed, especially at higher doses.

Washington State University researchers stated that medical cannabis could be used temporarily to relieve PTSD symptoms. But according to the researchers it may not be suitable as a long-term treatment, because in the observational study, those affected increased the dose steadily. This could indicate the development of tolerance.

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