Plant cannabinoids can change how our brain processes pain and our emotional and behavioral automatic ‘brain reactions’ to it. This is known as the suffering of the chronic pain experience when our brain areas of emotion and mood become involved in the pain response. This is a genuine part of chronic pain, and simply ‘thinking positively’ – something many people are told to do – has no impact. However, because cannabis works on both these elements of pain, it is a very powerful tool – like no other pain medications we use in Western medicine.
Exercise also activates the analgesic (pain relief) effects of the endocannabinoid system, which is one reason why staying active is so important if you have chronic pain. However, many people are in too much pain or physically unable to want to or be able to exercise, which starts a vicious cycle of no exercise, leading to more weight gain and weakness, which leads to more pain and muscle wasting, eventually making it harder to exercise and move the body, which results in less energy.
Treating pain effectively with cannabinoids and a resilience medicine approach can help break this cycle.