Chronic Pain Improved By Cannabis Smoking

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A new research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal — CMAJ, says that for people who suffer from chronic pain, smoking cannabis helps improve mood, reduces pain and improves sleep.

The research was carried out by a team of researchers from McGill University Health Center (MUHC) and McGill University, as it is known that some people who undergo chronic neuropathic pain caused by damage or a dysfunction of the nervous system, don't have many treatment options.

The few things that actually seem to work are opioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and local anesthetics, but these are not all equally efficient and they also have side effects that limit their administration.

As for substances present in cannabis and administrated orally, they had some success in treating pain but can differ from smoked cannabis in risks and effects.

For the smoked cannabis research, the scientists carried out a controlled randomized trial in 21 participants 18 years and older, that suffered from chronic neuropathic pain.

In order to investigate the analgesic effect of inhaled cannabis, they used three different concentrations of active drug - 2.5%, 6% and 9.4% of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), as well as a 0% placebo.

As the THC content increased, patients reported a better sleep quality, as well as lower anxiety and depression in the 9.4% THC group compared to the placebo group.

"We found that 25 mg herbal cannabis with 9.4% THC, administered as a single smoked inhalation three times daily for five days, significantly reduces average pain intensity compared with a 0% THC cannabis placebo in adult subjects with chronic post traumatic/post surgical neuropathic pain," said lead author Dr. Mark Ware, Director of Clinical Research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit of the MUHC.

Scientists said that this is the first outpatient clinical trial of smoked cannabis that was ever reported, and also one is too few studies conducted on smoking cannabis and neuropathic pain.

The authors recommend more studies with higher potencies of THC, that could last longer and have flexible dosage, so that it can also study the long-term effect on the safety of cannabis smoking for medical purposes.

Dr. Henry McQuay of Balliol College, Oxford University, UK, says about this study that "the authors should be congratulated for tackling such a worthwhile question as: does cannabis relieve neuropathic pain?, particularly because the trial must have been a major nightmare to get through the various regulatory hurdles.

"What makes it a worthwhile question is the continuing publicity that patients see, hear and read, suggesting analgesic activity of cannabis in neuropathic pain, and the paucity of robust evidence."

He concludes that the results of this study confirm that cannabis could really help some of the patients who are fighting the disease, e! Science News reports.

Source: Chronic Pain Improved by Cannabis Smoking - Softpedia
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