A report released this month by the Washington D.C.-based National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) confirmed something that many of us already knew: marijuana is effective at alleviating chronic pain.

Considering that, as a nation, we are in the grip of a widespread opioid epidemic, this report is a welcome scientific confirmation toward finding a replacement for opioids and other health-damaging painkillers.

Naturally, this is important, pointed out Business Insider, because it has implications for how we treat pain and assess medical marijuana. The most common reason people seek out medical marijuana is indeed for pain relief.

The report also underscores how totally off the mark the DEA is in maintaining its Schedule 1 status (the same category as heroin, meth and ecstasy) of marijuana and its absurd claim that pot has “no currently accepted medical use.”

In addition to the NASEM study, there is a growing body of authoritative research that proves the DEA to be flatly wrong and blatantly lying. Check out the Free Thought Project’s  25 Lies about Cannabis on the DEA Website – Refuted by the DEA Itself in 2016 and see for yourself.

But back to NASEM’s report: Not surprisingly, doctors still want more research to help them decide when marijuana might help a patient and when something else is a better idea. That sounds responsible.

Pain is not only hard to explain but difficult to measure.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) tells us: “Pain is a very personal and subjective experience. There is no test that can measure and locate pain with precision.”

Painful sensations, no matter where they occur in the body, are associated with our brain, which is its way of telling us something is wrong. We also know that everyone reacts to brain stimuli differently, hence the seemingly endless methods for treating pain.

According to NASEM, studies show that cannabis, smoked or vaped, is effective in alleviating pain because of the natural cannabinoid receptors in our bodies, which doctors believe play a role in pain control.

The report, according to Business Insider, contains the most up-to-date research on cannabis available. Although, at the moment, the exact mechanisms showing how marijuana relieves pain are not fully understood yet.

Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of research and our radically reactionary government’s attempt to totally eliminate scientific thought and drive us all back to the Stone Age, it could be a while before needed answers are available.

Sadly, according to the NIH, some 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain—that’s one-third of the population. Pain is the leading cause of long-term disability, the NIH confirmed.

This naturally explains the country’s dependence on opioids.

The dangerous increase in opioid use has prompted some rational lawmakers, like Elizabeth Warren, to demand that the Centers for Disease Control undertake research on marijuana as an alternative to the opioids that are ravaging our country, from our young people to our senior citizens.

For all of HIGH TIMES’ medical marijuana coverage, click here.

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