Cannabis reduces nerve pain

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Cannabis use can relieve chronic nerve pain. A Canadian study found that.

(08/31/2010) Smoked cannabis in the form of so-called "joints" can relieve chronic nerve pain. For the first time, this study dealt with the smoked use of cannabis and its medicinal benefits. Marijuana smoking relieves pain, improves general mood, and helps people sleep, says Dr. Mark Ware of McGill University in Montreal told the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Several other studies have already explored the medical benefits of cannabis - especially the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). For example, changes to the Narcotics Act are intended to release medicinal products with the active ingredient THC for particularly serious diseases in the future.

What is new is that scientists are now researching not only the health consequences of drug use from cannabis smoke, but also the medical added value. "To our knowledge, this is the first published study on smoked cannabis with outpatients," the authors report. Numerous scientific studies have already examined the effects of THC in tablet form. The effect of smoked cannabis in the form of "joints" must be differentiated from that of oral preparations.

A total of 21 adults with chronic nerve pain participated in the study. Under medical supervision, the study participants consumed 2.5 percent, 6 percent and 9.4 percent THC. For comparison, some of the test subjects also consumed placebos without any active ingredient. If the dose of THC was increased, the symptoms of the disease also decreased. The subjects were able to sleep better with increasing doses, and nerve pain was significantly reduced at the highest THC dosage.

Three daily smoked cannabis doses with 9.4 percent THC over 5 days would have significantly reduced the pain compared to the placebo, the researchers report. In order to confirm the findings, further studies with significantly more test subjects and a longer study period should now be carried out.

The study is based on the search for new treatment options. For nerve pain, there are very few preparations available, some of which do not even achieve the desired therapy goals. In nerve pain (neuralgia), the nerve structures are damaged. The damage in the nervous system leads to an abnormal excitability of the nerve cells, which then continuously emit melting impulses to the brain. As a result, the patients suffer from chronic pain. Typical symptoms are constant burning pain, severe pain attacks and an increased sensitivity to touch. (sb)

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