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Medicinal Marijuana Eases Neuropathic Pain In HIV Patients

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 6, 2008

    Oh, so this is why the Feds do everything they can to discourage any investigation into the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis.

    Medicinal Marijuana Eases Neuropathic Pain in HIV
    via The Washington Post

    WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) — Medicinal marijuana helps relieve neuropathic pain in people with HIV, says a University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine study.

    It included 28 HIV patients with neuropathic pain that wasn’t adequately controlled by opiates or other pain relievers. The researchers found that 46 percent of patients who smoked medicinal marijuana reported clinically meaningful pain relief, compared with 18 percent of those who smoked a placebo.

    The study, published online Aug. 6 in Neuropsychopharmacology, was sponsored by the University of California Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR).

    “Neuropathy is a chronic and significant problem in HIV patients as there are few existing treatments that offer adequate pain management to sufferers,” study leader Dr. Ronald J. Ellis, an associate professor of neurosciences, said in an UCSD news release. “We found that smoked cannabis was generally well-tolerated and effective when added to the patient’s existing pain medication, resulting in increased pain relief.”

    The findings are consistent with and extend other recent CMCR-sponsored research supporting the short-term effectiveness of medicinal marijuana in treating neuropathic pain.

    “This study adds to a growing body of evidence that indicates that cannabis is effective, in the short-term at least, in the management of neuropathic pain,” Dr. Igor Grant, a professor of psychiatry and director of the CMCR, said in the UCSD news release.   

    By my count, this is the third clinical trial published in just over a year to conclude that inhaling cannabis significantly reduces neuropathic pain. (Read about the others here and here.) And that’s not even including this study that found that low doses of inhaled cannabis are more therapeutic for HIV-positive patients than Marinol (oral synthetic THC).

    Kudos to The Washington Post for publicizing this important story. And an extra ‘shout out’ to the Post‘s editors for highlighting that this trial was sponsored by California’s Center for Medical Cannabis Research and not by the US government.

    9 Responses to “Medicinal Marijuana Eases Neuropathic Pain In HIV Patients”

    1. Hi NORML – I think its super the Post picked it up. The nation is watching. Listen Monday to Day-to-Day for Producer Shereen Meraji’s piece on the state of medical cannabis in the US. Bruce Margolin,ESQ, LA NORML, was interviewed, as well as Don Duncan, California Campaign Director for Americans for Safe Access.

      Also featured are John Litrelle, US Public Defender, and the Jury ForeWoman from Charlie L’s case.

      Please listen in! Also, please stop by and see our site’s entry regarding this research and Dr. Philip Denney.

      Thanks!

    2. Robie says:

      No kidding…

    3. David says:

      “Medicinal Marijuana Eases Neuropathic Pain In HIV Patients”

      Of course it does. But so does a host of other “already legally prescribed drugs. We really are reaching far to legalize aren’t we?

    4. zeeol says:

      Legalize the ganja bush!

    5. Lex says:

      This goes to show that MJ is increasing in it’s medical abilities by helping the sick and dying….and still FEDs/GOVT turns their heads like nothing is happening..Sad ***shaking head***

    6. chronic pain says:

      I have chronic neuropathic pain (not HIV, but all neuropathies are essentially the same) and marijuana is very effective at relaxing my stiff muscles, helping me to get to sleep and most importantly; it allows me to take a much smaller dose of opioids. Anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants are still the mainstay of nerve pain management, however marijuana is extremely beneficial to some patients.

      @David, you’d rather see me take larger doses of dangerous opioids or anticonvulsants than smoke a mid-grade indica? That doesn’t make sense to me, my brain must be fried from all the ILLICIT drug use.

    7. Arlington, Tx says:

      it’s sorry to be in a place that restricts a natural medicine….reasoning??? medicinal marijuana puts pharma companies out of business and big pharma companies have strong lobbyist that make big donations to political parties.

    8. neuropathy sufferer says:

      I’ve had neuropathy for five years now and after years of being prescribed Norco, which was ineffective, I was switched to morphine ten months ago. I hate the stuff as it turns me into a zombie and has ruined my quality of life. Two weeks ago my doctor had me give a urine sample and today called to inform me that trace amounts of marijuana was found in the sample. He asked if I was using the substance. I told him I would be if I could afford it as it helped the pain a great deal. Now he’s sending me to a substance abuse counselor. He’s more worried about the DEA than he is about reducing my pain.

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