Open Mon-Thur 9am - 8pm & Fri-Sun 8am - 8pm

The Science Behind Cannabis and Pain Relief

So you want to use cannabis for pain, but you have no idea what you’re looking for – you’re in luck, you’re in the right place. 

It’s well known that cannabis has a host of beneficial properties, but not many people understand the science behind why that is, making it that much harder to identify the right product at the dispensary. 

No matter why you choose to consume – dealing with chronic pain, recovering from a strenuous workout, or needing a good night’s sleep – understanding the science behind cannabis is crucial for optimizing its benefits and tailoring your experience to your individual needs and preferences. 

At The Pass, we recognize the importance of providing this knowledge, so we are committed to offering a welcoming space where your questions are met with no judgment and evidence-based insights. 

Although we are not licensed medical professionals, we are cannabis experts and have been using and studying these products since the inception of the legal market. We spoke with our staff to get you all the answers to your questions. 

Keep reading to get the full breakdown of the science behind using cannabis for pain relief.

How does cannabis relieve pain?

The simple answer is this: cannabis relieves pain because its various chemical and organic plant compounds fit like puzzle pieces into various systems of the body that modulate physiological processes, such as pain sensation (among other things).

To understand the full science behind this, you need to know about the endocannabinoid system and the entourage effect.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, is a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids spread throughout the body. So, when you’re in pain, this network springs into action, sending alerts throughout your body to let your brain know something is wrong.

It does this by releasing endocannabinoids that bind to the cannabinoid receptors located throughout the nervous system. 

When you consume cannabinoids through cannabis products such as CBD or THC, they get in the way of these “alerts.” THC binds to your cannabinoid receptors in the ECS to modulate the various processes (such as triggering sleep, hunger, or pain), while CBD inhibits the endocannabinoids that are released to stop the process or signal (such as feeling fatigued, hungry, or in pain). 

By interrupting these pain signals and inducing a euphoric or sedative sensation, cannabis relieves the pain you feel. 

Beyond CBD and THC, there are many other cannabinoids like CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol), each with its own unique therapeutic potential. CBN, for instance, demonstrates promise as a sleep aid along with possible anti-inflammatory properties, making it a valuable ally in combating conditions characterized by chronic inflammation. Meanwhile, CBG shows the potential to regulate pain perception and promote neuroprotection

Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is the idea that the more compounds of the original cannabis plant present, the more you can “layer” the benefits. For instance, a cannabinoid like CBD will act in conjunction with another type of compound called terpenes

Terpenes are organic compounds found in many different plants that are responsible for their aroma and therapeutic properties. Examples include pinene, myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene. These terpenes work together with cannabinoids to amplify the potential benefits of the cannabis plant. 

So, when you layer CBD with, say, limonene, which is known for its uplifting qualities, you’ll get a strain or cannabis product that enhances mood and focus, offering a burst of energy and clarity.

Understanding the entourage effect will help you have a more informed shopping experience at a dispensary. However, it’s important to use evidence-based sources as you learn about these concepts, particularly if you want to leverage terpenes and cannabinoids for pain relief.

What types of pain will cannabis help with?

According to Harvard Health, cannabis among adults ages 65 and older has increased eightfold in recent years, and as many as 80% of these seniors use it to treat and manage pain.

The fact is there are so many different products and associated benefits celebrated around cannabis. Based on current research and data, cannabis and CBD may help you with:

At the end of the day, we empower you to take your wellness journey into your own hands. Do thorough research, consult with your healthcare professionals when necessary, and engage with our knowledgeable budtenders in-store regularly to ensure safe and effective integration into your routine. 

Elderly, people hiking and happy in park with fitness outdoor, relax on bridge while trekking in nature together. Health, wellness and hiker group, sport and active lifestyle motivation with cardio

Who can use cannabis for pain?

Almost any adult can use cannabis for pain. At The Pass, we see a range of uses, from people looking for post-workout recovery to those suffering from painful conditions such as arthritis or tendinitis.

As a recreational-only dispensary, we welcome anyone to purchase cannabis products at our store to manage pain, among other reasons. 

Unfortunately, doctors can’t prescribe cannabis like conventional medications, but in many states, they can recommend its use for certain conditions, including chronic pain. This official recommendation gives you eligibility to become a medical marijuana cardholder. 

Qualifying health conditions in Massachusetts include:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

If you’re interested in learning more about getting a Massachusetts medical card, check out the state’s requirements. With this in hand, you’ll receive greater access to medical-grade products (and pricing!) at dispensaries that serve patients. 

At The Pass, we specialize in recreational products that come in a wide variety of forms and flavors. Even if you are not eligible for a medical card but want to harness cannabis for its pain-relieving properties, our dispensary has something for you. 

So, whether you went on a difficult hike (and are now sore all over) or you regularly experience joint pain or inflammation, anyone can use cannabis for pain.

Best cannabis products for pain relief

The science behind cannabis is the most enjoyable part of your wellness journey. At The Pass, we offer a wide range of products for all customers, giving you an arsenal of options to choose from. 

Whether you prefer topical solutions or are looking for more long-term soothing products, we’ve got you covered. We surveyed our budtenders and regular customers and rounded up some of the best cannabis products for pain relief at our Massachusetts dispensary:

Muscle Gels

Muscle gels are topical CBD and THC applications that are ideal for localized pain, such as sports injuries or arthritis and joint pain. When applied topically to the affected area, the cannabinoids in muscle gels interact with cannabinoid receptors in the skin, muscles, and nearby tissues, providing localized relief from pain and inflammation.

Muscle gels often contain additional ingredients, such as menthol, camphor, or essential oils like eucalyptus or lavender, to further enhance their pain-relieving effects. Our topical recommendations here at The Pass include:

  • The Pass 2:1 Lemon-Lavender Muscle Gel (~235mg)
  • The Pass Muscle Gel (500mg) ★ 2022 & 2023 Award Winner


Tinctures provide fast-acting relief from pain, making it a great option for people who need instant relief. Their adjustable dosage makes them suitable for individual needs, and they can be consumed sublingually or added to food and beverages for convenience. 

With their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, tinctures offer an effective and customizable solution for managing both acute and chronic pain. If you’re looking for a good tincture to buy at our Berkshire dispensary, you should check out our line of Howls products:

  • Howls 1:1 Tincture (500mg)
  • Howls Daytime Tincture (500mg) 
  • Howls Nighttime Tincture (500 mg)

We have developed a line of high-quality and trustworthy CBD products to support your holistic cannabis experience. Our popular The Pass CBD Tincture (1500 mg) has a refreshing peppermint taste and aroma, perfect for consuming on its own or in your favorite drink. 


Edibles are a great product for managing pain and inflammation. Not only is it the best beginner-friendly option, but there are many different flavors and brands available while trying to find the best one for your needs.

Once ingested, edibles are metabolized by the liver, where cannabinoids like THC and CBD are converted into their active forms. This process provides long-lasting relief from pain and inflammation. Due to this process, the onset is delayed and the duration prolonged, making edibles an ideal option for those seeking continuous pain management throughout the day. 

Our budtenders recommend The Pass Blueberry Hash Rosin Gummies. Not many companies in the cannabis market provide strain-specific products like this one. Made with full-spectrum hash rosin and all-natural flavors and colorings and with an authentic, full-flavored taste, these blueberry gummies are a delicious addition to any regimen. 

Many customers also like to use our distillate gummies – particularly 1:1, 2:1, and 4:20 – for pain management. 

Get cannabis for pain relief at The Pass

Although more federally funded, peer-reviewed research on the benefits of cannabis is needed, existing data tells us that cannabis for pain relief is more than promising. 

Dealing with pain of any kind affects your quality of life, and cannabis has the potential to be instrumental in pain management, among other health applications. At The Pass, we prioritize your wellness journey so you can hop, skip, and jump into your next adventure with confidence and ease. Our team values evidence-based approaches to cannabis use, so you can always come in to talk with our budtenders about your unique circumstances. Explore our online menu to see what products may help you in your journey, or visit us in-store for a guided shopping experience.

Welcome to The Pass. Are you 21 or over?

We're sorry, you must be at least 21 to visit our site