By Novell Zwange – Marijuana smoked three times per day reduced the intensity of neuropathic pain, improved sleep and was well tolerated. In a randomized crossover trial of 23 patients, Canadian researchers used three strengths of cannabis as well as placebo to test the effects of the drug. These findings are suggestive, but they need to be confirmed in larger long-term safety and efficacy studies, say the Canadian researchers.
In a three-month study which followed 23 patients, researchers tested three strengths of marijuana and a placebo to test the effects of the drug on those with chronic pain who had not responded well to traditional medications.
They found that those who smoked the strongest cannabis – that with the highest levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, often called THC – experienced the greatest benefit.
Nevertheless, although there was a clear reduction in pain, it was very modest.
These findings are only suggestive, lead researcher Mark Ware of McGill University in Montreal and his colleagues wrote, and need to be confirmed in larger long-term safety and efficacy studies.
The primary side effects of the strongest dose of THC were “headache, dry eyes, burning sensation in areas of neuropathic pain, dizziness, numbness and cough.”
The researchers said there was no reduction in mood or quality of life from the treatment.