The 2012 New Zealand Health Survey found that 16% of adults suffer from chronic pain – defined as pain that lasts longer than the usual time of healing.1
In New Zealand, rates of chronic pain are higher for older people, females, Maori, and people living in economically deprived areas. Around 80% of people suffering from chronic pain experience it in more than one part of their body … the most common reasons are old injuries and arthritis.
Internationally, around 60% of patients using medicinal cannabis use it specifically for chronic pain. Cannabidiol – or CBD, a major medicinally active component of medical cannabis – is one of the more popular products prescribed, particularly when inflammation or neuropathic pain is considered. When asked about pain relief, more than four out of five patients using CBD found that it worked either extremely effectively or very effectively.2
A recent article in the European Journal of Internal Medicine suggested that up to 20mg of CBD twice a day is a good place to start.3 Note that CBD is non-psychoactive – it will not make you “high”. Of note, the use of medical cannabis often results in a much-reduced intake of other pain medications, such as anti-inflammatories and opiates. In the United States, for instance, among those patients who acknowledged using opiate medications for pain, 97 percent reported reducing their opiate use once starting medical cannabis therapy.4 In New Zealand, opioid-related deaths jumped 33 per cent from 2001 to 20125 – CBD is considered to have a much safer profile as a medication, and is also non-addictive.
Your doctor at Cannabis Access Clinics will assess your issues with chronic pain and, at their discretion, can provide you with advice around the use of a medical cannabis product. CBD is legally available in New Zealand on prescription, although it can take a couple of days for your pharmacist to bring in the product. In the unlikely event that you experience side effects with a CBD medication, cease using it and contact your pharmacist or Cannabis Access Clinics doctor immediately.