Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smoked Cannabis Proven Effective In Treating Neuropathic Pain

Date:
October 25, 2007
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Smoked cannabis eased pain induced in healthy volunteers, according to a new study. However, the researchers found that less may be more. The subjects were healthy volunteers who inhaled either medical cannabis or a placebo after pain was induced.

Smoked cannabis eased pain induced in healthy volunteers, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR.) However, the researchers found that less may be more.

In the placebo controlled study of 15 subjects, a low dose of cannabis showed no effect, a medium dose provided moderate pain relief, and a high dose increased the pain response. The results suggest a "therapeutic window" for cannabis analgesia, according to lead researcher Mark Wallace, M.D., professor of anesthesiology at UCSD School of Medicine and Program Director for the UCSD Center for Pain Medicine.

The study used capsaicin, an alkaloid derived from hot chili peppers that is an irritant to the skin, to mimic the type of neuropathic pain experienced by patients with HIV/AIDS, diabetes or shingles -- brief, intense pain following by a longer-lasting secondary pain. The subjects were healthy volunteers who inhaled either medical cannabis or a placebo after pain was induced. The marijuana cigarettes were formulated under NIH supervision to contain either zero, two, four or eight percent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC.)

"Subjects reported a decrease in pain at the medium dose, and there was also a significant correlation between plasma levels of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, and decreased pain," said Igor Grant, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), professor and Executive Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, the director of the CMCR. "Interestingly, the analgesic effect wasn't immediate; it took about 45 minutes for the cannabis to have an impact on the pain," he said.

The results, showing a medium-dose (4% THC by weight) of cannabis to be an effective analgesic, converged with results from the CMCR's first published study, a paper by UCSF researcher Donald Abrams, M.D. published in the journal Neurology in February 2007. In that randomized placebo-controlled trial, patients smoking the same dose of cannabis experienced a 34% reduction in HIV-associated sensory neuropathy pain--twice the rate experienced by patients receiving a placebo.

"This study helps to build a case that cannabis does have therapeutic value at a medium-dose level," said Grant. "It also suggests that higher doses aren't necessarily better in certain situations -- something also observed with other medications, such as antidepressants."

The researchers stated that more and larger studies need to be conducted to measure the efficacy of cannabis, noting that medical marijuana could play an important role in treating patients who don't respond well to the usual pain relievers or can't tolerate drugs such as ibuprofen or opioids used for severe pain.

"The results of this study might help guide others doing clinical research into pain management," said Wallace.

The paper, to be published in the November issue of the journal Anesthesiology, is the second published study out of the CMCR. Headquartered at UCSD, the CMCR is collaboration between UCSD and UC San Francisco that was funded by a state-funded initiative in 1999 to rigorously study the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis in treating diseases.

Additional contributors to the study include Gery Schulteis, Ph.D., UCSD Department of Anesthesiology; J. Hampton Atkinson, M.D., professor, and Deborah Lazzaretto, M.S., UCSD HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center; Ian Abramson, Ph.D., UCSD Department of Mathematics and HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center; Tanya Wolfson, M.A., UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; and Heather Bentley and Ben Gouaux, UCSD Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Smoked Cannabis Proven Effective In Treating Neuropathic Pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024141745.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2007, October 25). Smoked Cannabis Proven Effective In Treating Neuropathic Pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024141745.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Smoked Cannabis Proven Effective In Treating Neuropathic Pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024141745.htm (accessed August 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins