People who suffer chronic neuropathic or nerve pain from damage or dysfunction of the nervous system have few treatment options with varying degrees of effectiveness and side-effects.
Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to nerves that don't repair, which can make the skin sensitive to a light touch.
Cannabis pills have been shown to help treat some types of pain but the effects and risks from smoked cannabis were unclear.
To find out more, Dr. Mark Ware, an assistant professor in family medicine and anesthesia at Montreal's McGill University, and his colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial — the gold standard of medical research — of inhaled cannabis in 21 adults with chronic neuropathic pain.
Investigators used three different strengths of the active drug — THC levels of 2.5 per cent, six per cent and 9.4 per cent, as well as a zero per cent placebo.
"We found that 25 mg herbal cannabis with 9.4 per cent THC, administered as a single smoked inhalation three times daily for five days, significantly reduces average pain intensity compared with a zero per cent THC cannabis placebo in adult subjects with chronic post traumatic/post surgical neuropathic pain," the study's authors concluded in Monday's online issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/08/30/marijuana-medical-neuropathic-pain.html#ixzz0yrdJmxoi
"The authors should be congratulated for tackling such a worthwhile question as: does cannabis relieve neuropathic pain? particularly because the trial must have been a major nightmare to get through the various regulatory hurdles," Dr. Henry McQuay of Balliol College, Oxford University, U.K., said in a journal commentary accompanying the study.
McQuay concluded that the trial adds to the "trickle of evidence that cannabis may help some of the patients who are struggling at present."