Five Ways to Treat Severe Pain With Cannabis

Five Ways to Treat Severe Pain With Cannabis
Jake Holschuh
Cannabis can treat a number of medical conditions, but by far the most common affliction listed on medical marijuana patient applications is pain. Of the 93,095 active patients on the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry, 86,317 — nearly 93 percent — listed severe pain as a qualifying condition, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Unfortunately, several of the most effective cannabis remedies for extreme pain aren't available at recreational dispensaries in Colorado because of their high production costs; current regulations don't allow others to be sold commercially. But there are still some good options out there to combat pain, including these five:

Full extract cannabis oil — also known as FECO oil, or whole plant medicine — is one of the most effective medical marijuana concentrates for numerous afflictions; patients and extractors alike claim it can treat or even cure certain cancers, terminal illnesses and forms of diabetes while alleviating the discomfort associated with chemotherapy, cerebral palsy and other conditions that cause extreme pain.

Unlike butane hash and CO2 oils, FECO oil is made with grain alcohol or ethanol; unlike most concentrates sold at dispensaries, it isn't made for smoking or vaporization. FECO oil is traditionally consumed orally, with doses the size of a grain of rice administered via a syringe or in a pre-filled capsule. If you can't find a caregiver to make FECO oil for you, you can try making small amounts at home with grain alcohol (using explosive solvents like ethanol for home cannabis extraction is illegal in Colorado).

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is a cannabis concentrate commonly mistaken for FECO oil and used for much the same maladies, but RSO is made with isopropyl alcohol, while FECO is made with grain alcohol or ethanol.

click to enlarge Myaderm THC cream on display at the Bronnor facility. - SCOTT LENTZ
Myaderm THC cream on display at the Bronnor facility.
Scott Lentz
Cannabis topicals are lotions, balms and salves infused with cannabinoids that can treat pain, inflammation and skin disorders. They can be purchased at virtually every dispensary in Colorado (and health stores across the country, if made with hemp-derived CBD) or made at home with store-bought ingredients and CBD or THC extracts. Or both, preferably.

Because they're applied to the skin's surface, topicals are especially effective with muscle and joint pain. Another alluring aspect is that they're non-psychoactive and do not enter the bloodstream, so users won't get high or have to worry about failing a drug test at work. Transdermal patches infused with cannabinoids can provide similar relief, but THC and CBD enter the bloodstream with transdermal technology.

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Herbert Fuego is the resident stoner at Westword, ready to answer all your marijuana questions.
Contact: Herbert Fuego