A study by scientists at the University of California has found that Neuropathic pain can be eased by medicinal doses of Cannabis. The abstract for the report (available by subscription at http://www.jpain.org) reads:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) report that no sound scientific studies support the medicinal use of cannabis. Despite this lack of scientific validation, many patients routinely use ”medical marijuana,” and in many cases this use is for pain related to nerve injury.
We conducted a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study evaluating the analgesic efficacy of smoking cannabis for neuropathic pain. Thirty-eight patients with central and peripheral neuropathic pain underwent a standardized procedure for smoking either high-dose (7%), low-dose (3.5%), or placebo cannabis. In addition to the primary outcome of pain intensity, secondary outcome measures included evoked pain using heat-pain threshold, sensitivity to light touch, psychoactive side effects, and neuropsychological performance.
A mixed linear model demonstrated an analgesic response to smoking cannabis. No effect on evoked pain was seen. Psychoactive effects were minimal and well-tolerated, but neuropsychological impairment was problematic, particularly with the higher concentration of study medication.
This article presents the findings from a clinical trial examining the effect of smoking cannabis on neuropathic pain. Although this herbal medicine has analgesic properties, neuropsychological impairment was problematic and methods should be sought to diminish cognitive impairment before recommending medical marijuana to patients with neuropathic pain.
The case for legalizing cannabis for medicinal use gets stronger and stronger. Let's hope the studies continue to show positive results.
More information about this report can be found at the Marijuana Policy Project website.