A Little Marijuana Helps, But Lots May Hurt

A Little Marijuana Helps, But Lots May Hurt
Posted by CN Staff on October 24, 2007 at 10:50:27 PT
By Brandon Keim
Source: Wired
USA -- A moderate dose of medical marijuana can soothe your hurts, both mental and physical -- but getting flat-out toasted may actually make the pain worse. So conclude two recently-published studies, one published in The Journal of Neuroscience by McGill University researchers and the other published in Anesthesiology by researchers from the University of California. But just how strong are these findings?
In the University of California study, doctors shot capsaicin -- the pepper spray compound -- under the skin of 15 healthy volunteers, then got them high. After 45 minutes, those who smoked only a moderate dose said their pain was much better. Those who smoked a lot said their pain was worse (though, as the BBC so dutifully reports, "They did, however, feel "higher" than counterparts who had taken moderate doses.") At McGill University, low doses of marijuana increased levels of serotonin -- a mood-regulating neurotransmitter -- in rats, but high doses made their serotonin levels plummet. The verdict? Both studies are limited but intriguing. The University of California study needs to be conducted on a far larger group of subjects suffering from the sort of pain -- back pain, migraines -- that marijuana is used to treat in real life. However, serotonin and pain thresholds have been linked. If too much marijuana actually decreases serotonin, as shown in McGill's rats, it makes sense that pain, both physical and mental, would worsen.BBC: Too Much Cannabis Worsens Pain: Wired Magazine (CA)Author: Brandon KeimPublished:  October 24, 2007Copyright: 2007 Wired Digital Inc.Website: newsfeedback wired.comCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on October 31, 2007 at 10:52:06 PT
Right Dose of Pot Can Ease Pain 
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking marijuana can help alleviate pain, but only when used at the right strength, a U.S. study finds.A team at the University of California, San Diego, found that a low dose of pot produced no effect, a moderate dose provided moderate pain relief, and a high dose actually increased smokers' pain.Researchers used capsaicin -- the "hot" component in chili peppers -- to induce skin pain in 15 healthy volunteers, who then smoked marijuana cigarettes with different levels of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis."Subjects reported a decrease in pain at the medium level (4 percent THC by weight), and there was also a significant correlation between plasma levels of THC ... and decreased pain," Dr. Igor Grant, professor and executive vice-chair of the department of psychiatry, and director of the university's Center for Medical Cannabis Research, said in a prepared statement."Interestingly, the analgesic effect wasn't immediate; it took about 45 minutes for the cannabis to have an impact on the pain," Grant said.The findings, published in the November issue of the journal Anesthesiology, suggest that there's a "therapeutic window" for cannabis pain relief."This study helps to build a case that cannabis does have therapeutic value at a medium-dose level. It also suggests that higher doses aren't necessarily better in certain situations -- something also observed with other medications, such as antidepressants," Grant said.More informationThe National Pain Foundation has more about marijuana and pain relief. 
Copyright: 2007 ScoutNews, LLC.
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Comment #13 posted by akira- on October 24, 2007 at 22:14:47 PT:
the pepper spray compound..
maybe they don't feel relieve from the pepper spray after they smoke because god never ment for pepper spray to cause "PAIN"? and god made marijuana to "cure" pain.. like actual pain, like cuts, broken bones, diseases?, etc. you kno.. all that junk, what god knows "pain" as?.. maybe im just really high lol..
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Comment #12 posted by mykeyb420 on October 24, 2007 at 17:29:39 PT
if a little heps a little,,and alot may hurt,,but NONE hurts the most,,if the govt takes it away,,only the poor suffer,,,just like katrina
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Comment #11 posted by charmed quark on October 24, 2007 at 17:10:44 PT
I early on noticed that there was an ideal dosage for neuropathis pain. I can tell you from personal experience that Marinol makes it very difficult to hit this dose. Especially because oral absorption is so variable.BTW - perhaps this is why some of the early THC pain studies from the 1999-2000 period got negative results. These studies blasted the patients with very high doses of THC. 
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Comment #10 posted by greenmed on October 24, 2007 at 13:57:49 PT
whig - comment #6
I understand and agree with what you said. Perception and tolerability are two very different aspects of pain. When I was dealing with peripheral neuropathy with pain meds that didn't quite do the job, I found that Cannabis put some "emotional distance" between me and the pain, and made it more tolerable.
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Comment #9 posted by greenmed on October 24, 2007 at 13:45:50 PT
Absolutely. Besides the harm-reduction value, vaporization also makes medicating more acceptable to those who do not tolerate smoke well. That may be of significant importance as Cannabis reenters the officially sanctioned pharmacopoeia.
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Comment #8 posted by whig on October 24, 2007 at 12:59:59 PT
You're exactly right, and titration is key. Nothing is as titratable as smoked cannabis, but vaporization has many advantages as you know.
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Comment #7 posted by whig on October 24, 2007 at 12:57:09 PT
"Worsen" is a wrong word
Cannabis does not WORSEN pain. It makes pain manageable for people.
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Comment #6 posted by whig on October 24, 2007 at 12:55:54 PT
Cannabis and pain
I have said many times, and it is the case for me that cannabis may increase my perception of pain sometimes, but makes it more tolerable even so.
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Comment #5 posted by greenmed on October 24, 2007 at 12:51:36 PT
McGill University is in Montreal. I suppose that makes them Canadian, not necessarily British, researchers.
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Comment #4 posted by greenmed on October 24, 2007 at 12:38:36 PT
The positive message in these two articles is the implication that THC should be taken in titratable form. Marinol is known for its delayed onset of action and its' unpredictable and sometimes overwhelmingly strong psychotropic effect. Use of Marinol to treat (most) peripheral pain is clearly contraindicated by the UCa study.From the British researchers:Dr Mark Wallace, the lead researcher, said the findings could have implications for the way medicinal cannabis was offered, both in pure and drug form.Couldn't be clearer: medicinal cannabis should be offered in pure titratable form:Rx: Herbal Cannabis for pain. Take as needed.Dr Laura Bell, of the MS Society, said: "Many people with MS report benefits to symptoms such as pain from taking cannabis, however studies to date on the effects of cannabis on pain are small and difficult to draw firm conclusions from.What's the problem Dr Bell? If many people with MS report benefits... taking cannabis, the BMS should be advocating for their constituents by calling for medical access, not more studies.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 24, 2007 at 12:06:32 PT
Well the last time I asked the rats in the study they were going ouch ouch ouch ouch! Why do they torture animals anyway? 
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on October 24, 2007 at 11:57:34 PT
Here we have a half baked article about two half baked cannabis studies.Thanks to Wired and to these goofy researchers for their tremendous contributions to the issue....Sheeesh!Synthetic THC injected into rats? Whaaa?
Pepper oil under the skin? Huh?At some point I guess you just have to laugh at this BS, go have a couple puffs after work, relax for awhile and then sleep like a baby.
Oh yea, keep me posted on how the rats are doing, oh, and stay away from me with those damned pepper injections....ya buncha nuts.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on October 24, 2007 at 10:54:08 PT
Thanks so much!
I'll keep this in mind the next time I inject peppers or torture rats! This stuff is SO valuable! I hope all those doctors put down their Paxil-sponsored presciption pads and read all about it.
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