Smoked Marijuana May Ease Chronic Nerve Pain
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Smoked Marijuana May Ease Chronic Nerve Pain
Posted by CN Staff on August 30, 2010 at 11:18:17 PT
 By Jenifer Goodwin, HealthDay Reporter
Source: Business Week 
World -- Smoking cannabis, also known as marijuana, reduced pain in patients with nerve pain stemming from injuries or surgical complications, new research shows.Twenty-one adults with chronic nerve pain were taught to take a single inhalation of 25 milligrams of cannabis through a pipe, three times a day, for five days. The cannabis contained one of three levels of potency of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, as well as a placebo dosage containing no THC.
All of the patients rotated through each of the four dosages, with nine days of no smoking in between.Patients smoking the highest potency marijuana (9.4 percent) reported less pain than those smoking samples containing no THC. Patients also reported better sleep and less anxiety, according to the Canadian study.On an 11-point scale, the average daily pain intensity was 6.1 for those smoking 9.4 percent THC concentration, compared to 5.4 for those smoking cannabis containing no THC."Patients have repeatedly made claims that smoked cannabis helps to treat pain, but the issue for me had always been the lack of clinical research to support that claim," said Dr. Mark Ware, director of clinical research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. In this small but randomized, controlled trial, "the pain reductions were modest, but significant," he said. "And it was in people for whom nothing else worked."The study is published in the Aug. 30 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.Persistent nerve pain, clinically known as neuropathy, can be very difficult to treat, Ware said. These patients had tried other treatments for neuropathy, such as opioids, anticonvulsants, antidepressants and local anesthetics, with little relief, Ware said.In addition, the THC potency levels used in the study were kept at 2.5 percent, 6 percent and 9 percent -- considerably less than the 12 percent to 15 percent often found in marijuana sold on the street, Ware said.Researchers kept the levels low for two reasons, Ware explained. One was to minimize the psychoactive effects, such as feeling lightheaded, dizzy, detached, nauseous or euphoric. Secondly, because this was a randomized, controlled clinical trial, minimizing the obvious signs of being "high" helped keep participants in the dark about what potency they were smoking.In an accompanying commentary, Dr. Henry McQuay, a professor in the chronic pain unit at Oxford University in England, called the study well-designed, adding that it provides more evidence cannabis can help relieve pain.But the unwanted side effects of cannabis can be significant, McQuay said."If you regard each paper like a brick in a wall, we have a number of studies, including this one, that suggest some pain patients are helped by cannabis," McQuay said. "The usual caveat is, 'Do the side effects to the nervous system outweigh the benefits, if they have to push the dose?'"In his experience working with pain patients, few have seen long-term benefits of smoked cannabis, he said. Most find morphine and other painkillers more effective.Side effects are a real problem with using smoked cannabis, Ware said. While recreational users are seeking an altered state of mind, research shows that legitimate medical marijuana users are not looking to get high. Instead, they only want to smoke what they need to reduce their pain so they can work and function more normally.Efforts to legalize marijuana for medical purposes has been controversial in the United States. While federal law prohibits marijuana use, in 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana usage with a prescription from a doctor. More than a dozen states have followed suit.Yet under the Bush administration, dispensaries continued to be raided under federal law. After President Barack Obama took office, in March, 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would no longer conduct raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, as long as the dispensaries were abiding by their own state laws.Medical marijuana is legal in Canada.To minimize the risks of smoke to the lungs, THC could be delivered through a vaporizer, in which the plant resin containing THC is heated to the point that the oils are released in a mist, Ware said. Oral THC is another possibility, though getting dosages right has proved problematic.More information:The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has information about the health risks of marijuana.Sources: Mark Ware, M.D., director, clinical research, Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal; Henry McQuay, D.M., professor, chronic pain unit, Oxford University, Oxford, England; Aug. 30, 2010, Canadian Medical Association JournalSource: Business Week (US)Author: Jenifer Goodwin, HealthDay ReporterPublished: August 30, 2010Copyright: 2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.URL: bwreader businessweek.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #14 posted by Universer on September 01, 2010 at 11:39:02 PT
Canna-Talk on NPR
FiddleMan: I certainly hope so. That a Mexican slang term has become legal parlance is stupifying and stupid.----------------------Sorry if repost:A couple of cannabis-related segments on WAMU, my local NPR station.-- Kojo Nnamdi Show of D.C.'s impending implementation of medical cannabis, and general discussion of same.-- Diane Rehm Show discussion of medical and non-medical cannabis and its regulation. Featuring Dr. Lester Grinspoon and Allen St. Pierre among others.
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Comment #13 posted by FiddleMan on August 31, 2010 at 09:18:42 PT
Genus Name BEFORE Slang!
"Smoking cannabis, also known as marijuana"...Is this a step toward the media dropping the old prohibitionist slang? Sweet!Legalize Cannabis Now!
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on August 31, 2010 at 05:24:31 PT
John Tyler
Thank you for a great song to start the day.
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Comment #11 posted by John Tyler on August 30, 2010 at 21:48:05 PT
a brick in a wall, really?
“Like a brick in a wall” he wrote. Is this a coded message or something, or is this guy a Pink Floyd fan, because who else talks about bricks and walls etc., so here it is. your screen as it is in high definition. For those medically enhanced minds doesn’t the white light at the end remind you of the clear light of the void?
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on August 30, 2010 at 17:11:16 PT
Opinions: Should California Legalize Pot?
August 30, 2010URL:
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on August 30, 2010 at 16:37:39 PT
Nothing New Under The Sun
Kapt, I have always believed that. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on August 30, 2010 at 16:36:17 PT
People that say people are lying are speaking from a frame of mind rather then really knowing what it's like to walk in another person's shoes. 
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on August 30, 2010 at 16:30:27 PT:
They keep forgeting why cannabis tinctures
were in the US pharmacopeia for maybe five generations...namely, that they worked as prescribed. By doctors. For illnesses.The longer I live, the more I agree with the old Biblical saying about there's nothing new under the sun. Meaning that what is often common knowledge and immutable truths are often forgotten and have to be rediscovered again. What's happening with cannabis is a perfect example. Paradoxically, we're learning more about cannabis after it was banned than when it was legal. And we're learning that there is even less rational reason to ban it now than when the ban was imposed.The mountain of evidence is piling up...and threatens to crush the prohibs should the lies about cannabis be challenged in an arena where those lies have consequences. Oh, speed the day!
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on August 30, 2010 at 15:52:58 PT
I understand that FoM
I only knew, for a very long time, that others said it helped with their pain. I had not experienced it until that one night I told you all about.But I had absolutely no reason, even before my personal experience, to believe that those who said it helped them were somehow lying. 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on August 30, 2010 at 15:18:26 PT
One thing I have always felt is important is for me not to comment on what I have not experienced. I would rather keep my mouth shut rather then open it and be thought a fool if I do not know anything about an issue. There are people who are against marijuana because they know that people like to reason that are under the influence. It reminds some people of our generation standing up and saying no more to the 50's way of life.
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on August 30, 2010 at 14:21:49 PT
I love the way herb eases my pain.
Like when prohibitionist give me something like a pain in the neck only a lot lower.
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on August 30, 2010 at 14:21:02 PT
littleinfo To Air Nation's First Medical Marijuana Advertisement Monday
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on August 30, 2010 at 13:46:12 PT
The people that know it reduces pain
know, because they know. They've experienced it.But the people that don't really know... the people that don't really have a clue... and have no way of knowing...have the unmitigated gall to claim those that really know are liars or somehow deceived.It's very strange.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on August 30, 2010 at 12:17:47 PT
I'm convinced: Cannabis helps reduce pain.
Another study which indicates cannabis helps reduce pain.There is no study which shows cannabis does not reduce pain.
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