Groundbreaking study: Cannabis and chronic neuropathic pain
For patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain – that is, injuries to the nervous system following post-traumatic events, like traffic accidents, or surgical complications, such as cut nerves – a groundbreaking study by McGill University Health Centre in Canada comes with buzz-worthy results.
In the first monitored trial of its kind, researchers followed a group of patients permitted to smoke cannabis containing varying strengths of THC (the plant’s active ingredient) up to three times a day over the course of two-week period at home.
The researchers recorded the effects of cannabis on mood, sleep and quality of life, as well as any negative reactions.
Compared to the group using the placebo pot (with zero percent THC), those who smoked low doses of cannabis experienced moderate pain reduction and better-quality sleep.
The study participants most successful in treating their pain symptoms (including burning, coldness, pins and needles sensations, numbness and itching) used 25mg of cannabis containing 9.4 percent THC. The dosage was well tolerated, with many users reporting that they were able to fall asleep faster and experienced less wakeful nights.
“The study marks an important step forward because it demonstrates the analgesic effects of cannabis at a low dose over a short period of time for patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain,” says lead researcher Dr. Mark Ware.
The results excited researchers because chronic neuropathic pain occurs more frequently than often recognized, and there are few effective treatments available for patients.
This type of pain affects one to two percent of the adult population and may resist standard pharmacologic treatments.
“For these patients, medical cannabis is sometimes seen as their last hope,” says Dr. Ware.
The researchers hope to continue conducting rigorous clinical trials, which will focus on the quality, dosage, long-term success and safety of medical cannabis.