According to a new study in The Journal of Pain, patients with nerve pain showed reduced pain intensity from smoking marijuana. The report has expanded the growing body of evidence that marijuana could be effective as a pain reliever.
Researchers at University of California Davis evaluated whether marijuana produces analgesia for patients with neuropathic pain. Thirty-eight patients were examined and administered with high-dose (7%), low-dose (3.5%) or placebo cannabis.
It was reported by authors that identical levels of analgesia were produced at each cumulative dose level by both concentrations of the agent. Cannabis, as with opioids, does not rely on a relaxing or tranquilizing effect but minimizes the core component of nociception and the emotional aspect of the pain experience to an equal degree. The smoke of cannabis leads to undesirable consequences such as feeling high or impaired but it does not inhibit tolerability or cause anyone to withdraw from the study.
The authors also noted that since high and low dose cannabis produced equal analgesic efficiency, a case may be made to test lower concentrations for determining if the analgesic profile can be maintained while reducing potential cognitive decline. The authors said further research could probe whether adding the lowest effective dose of cannabis to another analgesic drug may lead to effective neuropathic pain treatment for patients who otherwise are treatment-resistant.
Barth Wilsey, Thomas Marcotte, Alexander Tsodikov, Jeanna Millman, Heather Bentley, Ben Gouaux and Scott Fishman. A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial of Cannibis Cigarettes in Neuropathic Pain. The Journal of Pain, (in press)