Pot For Pain: The Verdict Is In

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 28, 2011

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories and legislative updates delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for ‘NORML News’ here.]

    Cannabis inhalation and the administration of cannabinoids are both associated with “significant analgesic effects” in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain, according to a systemic review of randomized controlled trials to be published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

    Investigators from the University of Toronto, Hospital for Sick Children, conducted a literature review regarding the efficacy of cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and mixed chronic pain. Eighteen randomized controlled trials published between 2003 and 2010 involving a total of 766 participants met inclusion criteria. Four of the trials assessed inhaled cannabis, while other studies assessed the analgesic properties of either plant-derived cannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoids.

    “Overall the quality of trials was excellent,” authors wrote. “Fifteen of the eighteen trials that met inclusion criteria demonstrated a significant analgesic effect of cannabinoid as compared to placebo, several reported significant improvements in sleep. There were no serious adverse effects.”

    Researchers noted that all four trials involving inhaled cannabis “found a positive effect with no serious adverse side effects.” They added: “Of special importance is the fact that two of the trials examining smoked cannabis demonstrated a significant analgesic effect in HIV neuropathy, a type of pain that has been notoriously resistant to other treatments normally used for neuropathic pain. In the trial examining cannabis based medicines in rheumatoid arthritis a significant reduction in disease activity was also noted, this is consistent with pre-clinical work demonstrating that cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory.”

    Investigators concluded, “[C]annabinoids are a modestly effective and safe treatment option for chronic non-cancer (predominantly neuropathic) pain. Given the prevalence of chronic pain, its impact on function and the paucity of effective therapeutic interventions, additional treatment options are urgently needed. More large-scale trials of longer duration reporting on pain and level of function are required.”

    NORML has additional information on the analgesic properties of cannabinoids in its handbook, Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids, here.

    37 Responses to “Pot For Pain: The Verdict Is In”

    1. Mr.Cot. says:

      I work at a dispensary and I love the fact that I help people cope with suffering whatever form it is. i have had an l5/s1 surg on my spine and can assure you its no joke. Unless you have really suffered , you may not know how much of a blessing it can be to be allowed to use cannibus. I hope the world can see its not all stoners and kids trying to just rebel and light up.
      Take care!

    2. tdub says:

      the best thing is when you have the flu,and you ache all over,you dont feel like moving and it takes the aching feeling away, so you can at least get up and move around and you dont feel like crap!!!

    3. stroker says:

      does anyone ever mention (besides what we hear in music lyrics) the social benifits of pot. some of my most fond memorys are of the small groups of people together (usually in some unpopular spot) shareing a joint, the reaching out, the touching someone,the laughter. i have never heard any one mention how this also affects society, something we all need so much. surely this benifit cannot be overlooked

    4. stroker says:

      the government knows exactly what marajuana is all about it makes you COOL. just what they dont want you to be.

    5. Jason says:

      Please put all of your seeds in your bird feeders. This will end the war against cannabis medicine globally. Cannabis is our medicine given to us by GOD ALMIGHTY! Let GOD provide the solution. Just let his wonderful birds spread the truth.Spread the word please to anyone you know that can help. Sow a seed, you & I…we will reap the harvest. We are GOD’S Children.

    6. Sergeant Patches says:

      Cannabis is becoming legal. We need to get the truth out there faster to be successful in legalizing marijuana. All of us who side with NORML know so much about cannabis. We know it is medicine. We know it is not toxic. We know it is morally sane. We even know the fiber of it can be used patriotically. We know cannabis is one of the most useful plants on earth. The more people who know this, the better. Let everyone you know know that cannabis is natural, and we should not condemn people for making use of a plant.

      The only real block from legalization, is silence from fear, that’s when propaganda thrives. I think many of us would speak up more if we knew that we didn’t have to be afraid of speaking about it with peers or politicians, or educating the masses.

    7. Nick B. says:

      Years back I had dental problems and found myself in the E.R. the doctor gave me narcotic pain pills. Well after that forget it I was hooked. Waking up everyday and only thinking about how to get more pills! That was my living hell. After putting myself into rehab and cleaning up I worked with a doctor who after some testing and stuff basically said I was self medicating for being Bipolar and had also been suffering from bipolar depression. Which then on as much as 800mg of seroquel a day,20mg saphris a day, and 60mg of celexa a day. Now all this medicine I put on almost 100 pounds and was a zombie 24 hours a day plus all the horrable side effects, and I could only amagine the damage it was doing to my body that i didn’t know about. Basically it makes me so angry that they can give you all these cemicals to put in your body and then ook at this amazing natural plant that can help people with different problems with out the high risks and criminalize the amarican public for making a safer choice in what the put in their bodies. Come on people wake up. It’s up to us to educate our neighbors and our communities that cannabis is the safer choice and is our choice not our government nobody should have the right to keep us from a natural resource. Oh and also I have smoked cannabis before but haven’t put any mind controlling substance in my body in years, but when I deside to medicate or relax and unwind it won’t be with prescriptions, or with alcohol these substances kill people not cannabis!

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