Both cannabinoid and opioid pain-relieving effects occur when the surface of your cell receptors are set off and lead to a blockage of pain. The opioid and parallel cannabis mechanisms of cell activation afford for efficient pain alleviation when co-administration is used.

Researchers conjecture that marijuana complements the effectiveness of opioids when it comes to pain management. If you make use of morphine and THC at the same time, for example, you can achieve similar pain relief effects using lower doses — as opposed to receiving morphine by itself.

Marijuana and opioids, however, stop symptoms of pain in different ways.


Pain medications derived from opioids are prescribed commonly these days. Physicians end up prescribing them when patients are experiencing moderate to severe pain. They hinder the brain’s signals of pain. When you suffer a cut, for example, the nerves around the injury communicate to your brain to let it know that you're injured. The brain then secretes certain chemicals in order to let you know that you've been hurt via the feeling of pain.


Opioids prevent neurotransmitters in your brain from informing you of your pain. The drugs stop the full brunt of an injury from flooding your receptors by easing the pain away. The instances where a physician may prescribe you opioids include:

  • Post-surgery
  • Treatment of chronic pain following an accident
  • Treatment of chronic pain from a herniated disc
  • Treatment of pain in cancer
  • As you're taking the opiates, it isn't uncommon to encounter gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, constipation and nausea. The serious problems with using opiate painkillers include: addiction, dependence and overdose.

    Medical Marijuana

    Researchers have not been able to fully understand the pain-blocking mechanisms of cannabis. Substances in medical marijuana work in conjunction with your endocannabinoid system and your opioid system. The endocannabinoid system goes on to interact with various areas of your opioid receptors.

    Prescription opioids do not stimulate your endocannabinoid system like marijuana does when you consume it. Cannabis compounds have the ability to:

  • Lower inflammation that causes pain
  • Trigger a “feel-good” endorphin secretion
  • Block neuropathic pain
  • Lower the buildup of fluid at the site of an injury
  • Hinder signals of pain just like opioids
  • Open stiff blood vessels as though it's a muscle relaxer
  • Marijuana and opioids trigger similar mechanisms within your brain — as far as stopping pain and releasing "feel good" chemicals to the brain. Cannabinoids like CBC, CBD, THC and CBN also work to strategically reduce inflammation and calm injured tissues in the body.

    Medical marijuana is a far safer alternative because it isn't physically addictive. There also haven't been any reports of deaths due to overdose. People who use medical weed also do not build up a tolerance — unlike opioids.

    This isn't to mention that if patients take marijuana together with opioids, the cannabis stops them from raising their tolerance levels. This can help to wean users off the opioids when the time comes. It's essentially a way to reduce opioid dependence.

    Negative Side Effects of Opioids are Reduced With Cannabidiol

    Having the craving for painkillers is one sign of addiction, as well as a huge reason for relapses. Treatments of today can be largely ineffective in terms of preventing patients from reverting back to painkillers. Medical marijuana has proven to play a major role in this condition. Patients have used it to assist them in effectively reducing their cravings and chances of relapsing.

    Studies are now looking at the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) and its relationship to treating addictions. Both human and animal studies show that CBD isn't addictive and can lower cravings for drugs. It also plays a huge role in treating withdrawals by decreasing moods swings, anxiety and pain.

    More than 75% of the people who were addicted to opioids noticed they could wean off and substitute opioids with weed. In states that have legalized marijuana, deaths from opiate overdoses have gone down by 24.8%!

    Because CBD helps people manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapses and stop addictions, it's an now one way of treating opiate addiction and abuse in the United States.

    Different Kinds of Chronic Pains Medical Marijuana Treats

    Because there's not just one kind of pain, we'd like to explain the different types cannabis can soothe. Medical conditions cause many sorts of aches and pains that are alleviated by weed, such as:

  • Idiopathic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cancer pain
  • Pain from accidents and injuries
  • Headaches
  • Pain from HIV/AIDS treatment
  • It appears that cannabinoids are the best at treating pain conditions from peripheral and central nervous system impairment. Such ailments can include multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, HIV-associated neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy and post-traumatic pain after surgery. Medical marijuana has other advantages that improve well-being like alleviating anxiety and stress, enhancing sleep and decreasing aches.

    Harvard conducted a systematic review that involved 28 studies where researchers analyzed the capabilities of exo-cannabinoids — cannabinoids from natural or synthetic sources — in treating a mix of pain and medical issues.

    The study presented high-quality proof for the assertion that using medical marijuana for chronic pain or neuropathic and multiple sclerosis-induced spasticities is effective. Out of all the studies reviewed, all of the general chronic pain studies and neuropathic pain studies found comprehensive recovery in patients.

    Although the majority of research involved the use of synthetic cannabinoids, three out of five studies about neuropathic pain explored smoking marijuana and two studies examined oral spray arrangements.