Vicodin And Marijuana For Pain Relief- Uses, Risks & More
Chronic pain is one of the most common conditions among Americans. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 50 million American adults i.e. 20.4% of the total adult population in the country suffer from chronic pain.
Vicodin is a common prescription medication for managing moderate to severe pain. It’s a combination of acetaminophen, a non-opioid pain reliever, and hydrocodone, an opioid pain medication.
Another treatment for pain management that has gained popularity over the past decade is cannabis. With scientific evidence that cannabinoids in the herb are effective in reducing pain, more chronic pain patients are applying for 420 evaluations online.
So, among Vicodin and marijuana—which is better? What are the uses and side-effects associated with each? Read on to learn more.
Vicodin Use For Pain Management
For patients suffering from chronic pain, it’s quite difficult to perform daily activities and focus on work. Vicodin is a popular painkiller that works by blocking the pain signals in the brain. Thus, it helps in decreasing the ability to feel pain.
How long does it take for a Vicodin to kick in?
Vicodin provides pain relief for 4-8 hours. Its active ingredient acetaminophen has a half-life of 1.25 to 3 hours. However, it may vary from person to person, depending on factors such as weight, genetics, age, etc. Usually, it takes 24 hours to pass through the urine. Another ingredient hydrocodone is deactivated to half after four hours and remains in the urine for up to 72 hours.
Don’t take this medication if you have an allergy to hydrocodone or acetaminophen. Moreover, if you have used alcohol, sedatives, or other narcotic medications, avoid taking Vicodin.
If you have taken a MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks, delivering Vicodin to the system can lead to a dangerous drug interaction.
Always seek a licensed doctor’s advice to use Vicodin. Never take high dosages of this medication as the overdose can damage the liver and cause death as well. Hydrocodone can be addictive, even if you take regular doses. Thus, you should not share your medication with anyone, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse.
Side-Effects of Vicodin
Although Vicodin can help in reducing pain, it can cause several side-effects such as-
- Swelling of the face, mouth, and throat
- Lack of appetite
- Yellowing of skin
The major signs of Vicodin overdose are-
- Stopped/slowed breathing
- Excessive sleepiness
- Loss of consciousness
- Liver damage
- Cold, clammy skin
- Slowed heartbeat
- Change in color (blue) of skin, lips, and fingernails
Medical Marijuana Use For Pain Management
Marijuana is effective in relieving pain. It contains over 100 cannabinoids, which have ultimate medicinal properties. When cannabinoids are delivered to the body, they bind to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), thus reducing pain and controlling other functions such as appetite, sleep, mood, and memory.
The two important cannabinoids are-
- THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)- A psychoactive cannabinoid that binds to the brain’s CB1 receptors, and produces high or euphoric effects.
- CBD (cannabidiol)- It can help in treating seizures, inflammation, nausea, depression, anxiety, and pain. Unlike THC, it doesn’t cause high effects.
According to Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy report, marijuana is effective for reducing pain, and it can be used as an alternative to addictive pain medications. A 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that medical marijuana legalized states saw nearly 25% reduction in opioid overdose deaths, between 1999 and 2010.
Additionally, researchers have found that the reduction in opioid use has resulted in saving $165.2 million per year in medical costs.
Side-Effects of Medical Marijuana For Pain Relief
Smoking marijuana can lead to several breathing problems such as coughing and wheezing. Additionally, it might cause air-filled cavities, which are linked to symptoms such as soreness, difficulty breathing, and chest pressure.
However, consumers who have trouble smoking can try some other marijuana consumption methods. Cannabis-infused food products (edibles) such as gummies, chocolates, baked goods, drinks, etc. can help you receive medicinal benefits of the herb. Other options are—tinctures, oils, lotions, etc.
It’s unsafe to use marijuana during pregnancy. However, if you do so, it passes through the placenta, thus slowing the growth of the fetus. Using marijuana during pregnancy can also lead to childhood leukemia and abnormalities.
Marijuana use is unsafe during breast-feeding. The compounds present in cannabis can pass through the milk, thus slowing down the development of the baby.
Marijuana may make it difficult to control blood sugar levels. It may also increase the chances of diabetes and other related complications.
Marijuana use may worsen the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Consumers may experience depression. It can also worsen the symptoms, thus producing thoughts of suicide.
Marijuana’s effects may vary from person to person, and depend on various factors such as age, genetics, and severity of condition. So, before starting medical marijuana treatment, make sure you talk to a licensed doctor and seek professional advice for what’s right for your condition.
If compared with Vicodin, marijuana is a safe treatment for chronic pain. It isn’t addictive and doesn’t cause death.
Can You Combine Vicodin And Marijuana?
Vicodin can interact with other medications, herbs, and vitamins you may be taking. This may change the way the drug works. However, it can lead to harmful effects such as breathing problems, coma, and even death.
Moreover, if you combine both the substances, it could be difficult to evaluate the effects of Vicodin and marijuana on the body.
Always talk to your doctor and seek professional advice regarding what’s right for your condition, get a prescription for alternatives that don’t interact. Don’t drink alcohol or adjust doses without your doctor’s approval. Moreover, avoid driving heavy machinery until you analyze how these substances affect your body.
It’s important to have an open discussion with your doctor regarding the medications, vitamins, and herbs you’re already taking.
Medical Marijuana Legality in The United States
Marijuana is an effective, safe treatment for various conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. But, in the United States, it’s illegal as per federal regulations. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), it’s listed as a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.
Still, 33 US states allow medical use of marijuana. Only patients who hold valid medical marijuana cards can access cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries.
Top Marijuana Strains For Pain Management
Marijuana’s effects on your body depend on the type of strain you smoke. Everyone has a different condition, thus require different strains for alleviating the symptoms.
You can find a wide range of strains with different CBD and THC levels at medical dispensaries. Here’s a list of top marijuana strains for relieving chronic pain-
- Blue Widow
- Blueberry Kush
- Jack Herer
- Sour Diesel
- The White
- Blueberry Headband
- Master Kush
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in a Legalized State?
To get legal access to medical marijuana, you need a doctor’s recommendation, which shows that you’re using cannabis for treating your condition. With telemedicine services, applying for 420 med evaluations has become very easy. You can receive your MMJ recommendation letter within a few minutes without leaving your sweet home. The process involves-
- Sign up an account
- Talk to a licensed doctor over a HIPAA-compliant platform
- Receive your MMJ recommendation letter through the email
However, you can also renew your MMJ card online. The process is the same. But, you don’t have to pay as much as you pay for a new medical marijuana card. For more details, you can contact a reputed MMJ clinic in your city.
Chronic pain is a common condition affecting millions of people in the United States. For pain management, there’s a wide range of prescription medications available—Vicodin is a popular one. It works by blocking the pain signals. But, this medication can cause several side-effects such as nausea, drowsiness, constipation, lack of appetite, seizures, and slowed breathing. Marijuana can also help in reducing pain. There’s scientific evidence that cannabinoids in marijuana can be effective in pain management without causing any unpleasant side-effects like Vicodin. However, marijuana’s effects may vary from patient to patient, thus it’s important to seek expert advice from a licensed doctor before you start medical cannabis treatment.
So, now you have learned about the uses, risks, etc. of Vicodin and marijuana for pain management. Which treatment would you prefer? Do you have a history of any of these treatments for relieving pain? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below! We feature the best story in our next blog posts!