Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smoked medical cannabis may be beneficial as treatment for chronic neuropathic pain, study suggests

Date:
August 30, 2010
Source:
McGill University Health Centre
Summary:
The medicinal use of cannabis has been debated by clinicians, researchers, legislators and the public at large for many years as an alternative to standard pharmaceutical treatments for pain, which may not always be effective and may have unwanted side effects. A new study provides evidence that cannabis may offer relief to patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain.

Medicinal marijuana. A new study provides evidence that cannabis may offer relief to patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain.
Credit: iStockphoto

The medicinal use of cannabis has been debated by clinicians, researchers, legislators and the public at large for many years as an alternative to standard pharmaceutical treatments for pain, which may not always be effective and may have unwanted side effects. A new study by McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill University researchers provides evidence that cannabis may offer relief to patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain.

The results of the groundbreaking study are published in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

"This is the first trial to be conducted where patients have been allowed to smoke cannabis at home and to monitor their responses, daily," says Dr. Mark Ware, lead author of the study, who is also Director of Clinical Research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at the MUHC and an assistant professor of anesthesia in McGill University's Faculty of Medicine, and neuroscience researcher at the Research Institute of the MUHC.

In this study, low doses (25mg) of inhaled cannabis containing approximately 10% THC (the active ingredient in cannabis), smoked as a single inhalation using a pipe three times daily over a period of five days, offered modest pain reduction in patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain (pain associated with nerve injury) within the first few days. The results also suggest that cannabis improved moods and helped patients sleep better. The effects were less pronounced in cannabis strains containing less than 10% THC.

"The patients we followed suffered from pain caused by injuries to the nervous system from post-traumatic (e.g. traffic accidents) or post-surgical (e.g. cut nerves) events, and which was not controlled using standard therapies" explains Dr. Ware. "This kind of pain occurs more frequently than many people recognize, and there are few effective treatments available. For these patients, medical cannabis is sometimes seen as their last hope."

"This study marks an important step forward because it demonstrates the analgesic effects of cannabis at a low dose over a shot period of time for patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain," adds Dr. Ware. The study used herbal cannabis from Prairie Plant Systems (under contract to Health Canada to provide cannabis for research and medical purposes), and a 0% THC 'placebo' cannabis from the USA.

However, larger-scale studies with a longer time frame and higher doses of THC are needed to further evaluate the efficacy and long-term safety of medical cannabis. "Our challenge as researchers is to continue to conduct rigorous clinical studies on the medical use of cannabis with strict attention to details such as quality and dosage," says Dr. Ware. "This will allow us to move the debate forward by providing reliable scientific clinical data."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University Health Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mark A. Ware MBBS, Tongtong Wang PhD, Stan Shapiro PhD, Ann Robinson RN, Thierry Ducruet MSc, Thao Huynh MD, Ann Gamsa PhD, Gary J. Bennett PhD, Jean-Paul Collet MD PhD. Smoked cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2010; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.091414

Cite This Page:

McGill University Health Centre. "Smoked medical cannabis may be beneficial as treatment for chronic neuropathic pain, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100830094926.htm>.
McGill University Health Centre. (2010, August 30). Smoked medical cannabis may be beneficial as treatment for chronic neuropathic pain, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100830094926.htm
McGill University Health Centre. "Smoked medical cannabis may be beneficial as treatment for chronic neuropathic pain, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100830094926.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. 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