Low-Dose Pot Eases Pain While Keeping Mind Clear

Low-Dose Pot Eases Pain While Keeping Mind Clear
Posted by CN Staff on April 30, 2008 at 13:07:26 PT
By Anne Harding
Source: Reuters
New York -- Giving carefully calibrated doses of smoked marijuana to people with neuropathic pain, which can be difficult-to-treat and extremely painful, can ease their pain without clouding their minds, California researchers report.Neuropathic pain can result from spinal cord injury, diabetes-related nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, or other types of nerve injury, and is typically treated with a wide range of drugs including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids, and anti-inflammatories, the study's lead author, Dr. Barth Wilsey of the University of California, Davis Medical Center, told Reuters Health.
Wilsey became interested in testing marijuana for treating neuropathic pain, he said in an interview, after many of his patients told him they were already smoking pot to cope.To examine the pain-fighting effects of pot scientifically, he and his colleagues had 38 people with neuropathic pain smoke high-dose joints containing 7% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (9-THC), a lower dose version containing 3.5% 9-THC, or a placebo cigarette from which all 9-THC had been extracted.Each study participant went through a trial of each of the three cigarettes, using a standardized system for puff timing and inhalation length developed at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. All study participants had abstained from smoking pot for at least 30 days beforehand, and smoking sessions were separated by at least 3 days to allow the drug to leave their systems.The low- and high-dose marijuana cigarettes produced identical levels of pain relief and reductions in the intensity and unpleasantness of pain, the researchers found. But study participants were more likely to report feeling "high," "stoned" or "impaired" when smoking the higher-dose joint. They also had impairments in attention, learning, memory and fine-motor coordination and speed. The lower-dose cigarettes produced some impairment in learning and memory, but to a lesser degree."The lower dose did not adversely affect people's thinking," Wilsey said. "There might be a therapeutic window that we could advise for using smoked cannabis in treating nerve injury pain."Nevertheless, he and his colleagues note, medical marijuana should only be prescribed with "caution" for treating neuropathic pain, "especially in instances in which learning and memory are integral to a patient's work and lifestyle." The drug's use in younger patients should also be examined carefully, they add, given that smoking pot has been shown to increase the risk of psychosis in some people.Wilsey and his team are now planning studies of marijuana cigarettes containing 1.75% 9-THC to determine if an even lower dose can produce equal pain relief with fewer side effects. They also are planning to test vaporized cannabis, to avoid the health effects of smoke.Source: The Journal of Pain, April 17, 2008. Source: Reuters (Wire)Author: Anne HardingPublished: April 30, 2007 Copyright: 2008 Reuters LimitedCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #3 posted by Commonsense on May 01, 2008 at 21:31:03 PT
This article is useless
I hate articles like this where they don't tell you how much the participants are consuming. Are they smoking a whole joint by themselves? How much is in each joint? A big one gram joint of 3.5% THC weed is going to have a lot more THC in it than a few hits of 10% weed. And if you abstain for 30 days and then smoke a big fat joint of mediocre weed you are going to get really stoned, but keep smoking that same weed regularly after that and it won't be long until smoking it barely impairs you if at all. 
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Comment #2 posted by paulpeterson on April 30, 2008 at 15:31:15 PT
Marijuana stimulants production of brain cells
Production of new brain cells in encouraged by cannabis-Why? It appears the gentle "sleep cycle" produced causes the brain to sense the need for new "recruits", which then increase thought production, similar to brain trauma.Just some thoughts here. PAUL
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on April 30, 2008 at 15:00:48 PT
learning and memory
I don't buy the memory and learning side effect to the extent they insinuate here.My work involves learning complex manufacturing, systems, and softwares as well as memory of large volumes of distinct and interrelated files etc.I do not believe my memory and learning would be affected to that great an extent. Certainly not beyond the short term effects of cannabis. I do think at the height of the effects from a larger dose
you could lose your train of thought and it would not be that useful to try and understand something highly complex for those couple hours. Nor would I try to do something highly complex if I were tired, or had been drinking alcohol.I think people read this sort of thing about memory and learning and then project that cannabis must make you essentially a retarded, blithering idiot. I don't believe that to be the case. The blithering idiots are that way from the get go, cannabis or not.
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