Cannabis and Pain
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is one of the most controversial issues today. There are many healthcare providers and researchers who are ready to support herbal cannabis therapy because it can be used as an effective pain reliever with minimal side effects (Corroon, Mischley, & Sexton, 2017; Grant, Atkinson, Gouaux, & Wilsey, 2012; Seneca, 2014). However, some people believe that the number and quality of adverse effects and the inability to control patients in their intentions to use cannabis can become a real challenge for support of cannabis legalization and its recognition as an appropriate and allowed treatment method (Whiting et al., 2015).
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There is also an attempt to discuss why cannabis cannot be accepted as a legalized medication, defining such reasons as a lack of knowledge, the experience of stigma, and the possibilities of errors in statistical analysis that is usually preferred in analyzing such themes as pros and cons of cannabis, or the use of marijuana and other illegal substances (Bottorff et al., 2013; Schmarzo, 2013). Different methods can be used to discuss the chosen topic, and different outcomes may be observed because researchers can obtain new information and unique attitudes to cannabis and its medicinal worth.
Much attention is paid to the methods of gathering and analyzing the data about cannabis and its use in medicine and healthcare. Thompson (2009), Flom (2010), and Schmarzo (2013) underline the importance of statistics in the analysis and the implementation of the description as the main method to introduce a concept and develop its urgency. Seneca (2014) chooses quantitative findings from different published studies and their meta-analysis to evaluate pain intensity as an outcome of using cannabinoids. Statistical analysis is the method with the help of which all differences between baseline and the ratings of final pain intensity can be identified and explained (Seneca, 2014).
Whiting et al. (2015) focus on a systematic review of the literature taken from different databases to underline the depth of the problem and the necessity to formulate one properly evidenced solution. In the investigations of Bottorff et al. (2013), a semi-structured interview is used to gather the information. Such choice proves the effectiveness of qualitative methods in gathering information about the connection between cannabis and pain. Taking into consideration the fact that researchers find various effective methods to achieve their goals, the theme of cannabis as a pain reliever that has to be legalized can be discussed in different ways. Statistical analysis may be complex if people fail their attempts to discover and solve analytical errors (Schmarzo, 2013).
As soon as the methods for gathering information and its analysis are identified and proved as effective, it is necessary to make sure that researchers develop appropriate questions or hypotheses and introduce clear and informative answers and solutions. The discussion of cannabis and its relation to pain relief contains some controversial aspects. On the one hand, a moderate reduction in pain intensity can be observed with minimum side effects and the possibility to help patients (Seneca, 2014).
On the other hand, many adverse effects cannot be neglected by people who are going to use cannabis for medical purposes, including psychosis, sleep disorder, dependence, depression, anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, and euphoria (Whiting et al., 2015). At the same time, such factors as anxiety and depression are defined as the conditions that may be treated with the help of cannabis in case an appropriate dosage is defined, and the patient is under control of a caregiver (Corroon et al., 2017). Still, there are situations when the use of cannabis promotes the development of new negative outcomes and the necessity to take urgent actions. Therefore, it is not enough to investigate the pros and cons of cannabis legalizations for medical purposes. It is necessary to understand the nature and statistical worth of each factor identified.
The role of cannabis in treating various psychological and mental disorders is important indeed. Treatment with the help of cannabis can be used for management neuropathic pain and muscle spasticity (Grant et al., 2012). Many patients admit certain positive effects of cannabis in their attempts to reduce the level of pain. The point is that people may be afraid of cannabis because they do not understand what kind of help can be offered. Their lack of knowledge and trust and the inability to gain an understanding of its medical benefits can cause numerous doubts and challenges (Bottorff et al., 2013).
There are some cases when patients suffer from the lack of confidence and guidelines on how to choose a dosage, deliver cannabis as a medication, and follow all quality control issues (Corroon et al., 2017). People make mistakes in their decisions to increase a dose, prolonged treatment, and use cannabis without any portion of the control. Such mistakes lead to various types of analytical errors and promote the creation of statistics that scares ordinary people and puts the worth of cannabis as medication under a question (Schmarzo, 2013).
Negative arguments that can be introduced in the discussion of cannabis and its effects on pain millions of people suffer from regularly include the possible dependence on an illegal substance, energetic safety concerns, and low-quality evidence that can be used to support cannabis (Grant et al., 2012). As a rule, cannabinoids are associated with numerous short-term risks and insignificant improvements in nausea or appetite problems caused by chemotherapy (Whiting et al., 2015). Bottorff et al. (2013), as well as Seneca (2014), believe that the number of positive effects prevails the number of negative concerns that can be developed in regards to cannabis used for medical purposes. However, their poorly developed statistical analyses and the use of quantitative methods for gathering information promote the development of errors that can lead to a wrong or inappropriate understanding of the issues (Schmarzo, 2013).
In general, the investigations developed by Bottorff et al. (2013), Corroon et al. (2017), Grant et al. (2012), and Whiting et al. (2015) can be used to recognize the positive and negative aspects of cannabis usage in terms of reducing the level of pain people can suffer from. Though their qualitative and quantitative research cannot be defined as strong-quality evidence due to the possibility of analytical errors or poorly developed statements that mislead people, create wrong judgments, and do not introduce a whole picture of the situation.
The question of cannabis and its possible medical benefits remains to be under frequent discussions and is characterized as a problem with no clear solution given. There are still some people who want to believe that cannabis can help to treat patients. Many people do not trust caregivers who use cannabis as a method of treatment. Regarding the sources chosen for the systematic literature review developed above, it is hard to introduce a single hypothesis because several facts are used to support or oppose the use of cannabis for medical purposes to reduce pain.
Bottorff, J., Bissell, L., Balneaves, L., Oliffe, J., Capler, R., & Buxton, J. (2013). Perceptions of cannabis as a stigmatized medicine: A qualitative descriptive study. Harm Reduction Journal, 10(1), 1-10. Web.
Corroon, J., Mischley, L., & Sexton, M. (2017). Cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs – A cross-sectional study. Journal of Pain Research, 10, 989-998. Web.
Flom, P. (2010). Do you need help with Steven’s typology? Web.
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Grant, I., Atkinson, H., Gouaux, B., & Wilsey, B. (2012). Medical marijuana: Clearing away the smoke. The Open Neurology Journal, 6, 18-25. Web.
Schmarzo, B. (2013). Understanding type I and type II errors. Web.
Seneca, M. (2014). Meta-analysis of herbal cannabis therapy for chronic pain. UNF Theses and Dissertations, 503, 1-36. Web.
Thompson, C. (2009). Descriptive data analysis. Air Medical Journal, 28(2), 56-59. Web.
Whiting, P., Wolff, R., Deshpande, S., Nisio, M., Duffy, S., Hernandez, A.,… Kleijnen, J. (2015). Cannabinoids for medical use: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA, 313(24), 2456-2473. Web.