Inhaled Marijuana ‘Clearly Has Medical Value’ For Hard to Treat Chronic Pain Conditions

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 2, 2010

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

    Inhaled cannabis reduces pain and improves sleep compared to placebo, and is well tolerated by patients with chronic neuropathy, according to clinical trial data published this week in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association (CMAJ).

    Investigators at McGill University in Montreal assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis on pain intensity in 23 subjects with chronic post-traumatic or post-surgical neuropathic pain in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial. Participants in the study received a single inhalation of 25 mg of 9.4 percent herbal cannabis or placebo three times daily. All of the volunteers in the study suffered from refractory pain for which conventional therapies had proven ineffective.

    Researchers reported: “[H]erbal cannabis … significantly reduced average pain scores compared with … cannabis placebo in adult participants. … We found significant improvement in measures of sleep quality and anxiety. … Our results support the claim that smoked cannabis reduces pain, improves mood, and helps sleep.

    Speaking to Web MD online, the study’s lead researcher Mark Ware said: “We’ve shown again that cannabis is an analgesic. Clearly it has medical value.”

    In February, investigators from the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research summarized the results of four separate FDA ‘gold standard’ designed clinical trials demonstrating that inhaled marijuana was safe and effective for the treatment of neuropathy.

    An estimated one to two percent of the population suffers from some form of neuropathic pain, which typically goes untreated by standard analgesics.

    Listen to NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre and NORML Advisory Board member Lester Grinspoon discuss this trial, and other subjects related to the medical use of cannabis, on NPR’s The Diane Rehm show here.

    53 responses to “Inhaled Marijuana ‘Clearly Has Medical Value’ For Hard to Treat Chronic Pain Conditions”

    1. Anonymous says:

      I wonder how many redundant studies it will take to get the politicians to stop lieing to us? Its like asking how many it takes to screw in a lightbulb………..

    2. Mike Stroup says:

      Then why is cannabis a Schedule I controlled substance?

    3. Harrison says:

      I recently heard that a very big reason the FDA refuse to see marijuana as medicine because there “have been no test concluding that inhaled marijuana” has proven to be an effective medicine … so we win right? You would hope that after a test like this we could get one done in the United States to prove the same facts. Of course my thoughts right now seem simple but I’m sure it’s because of my lack of understanding in the process(es) that needs to be done.

      Activism has taken a great turn towards medical marijuana though. I would really like to see a group of people like myself bringing back the name of cannabis through hemp. While cannabis is great when inhaled, it’s even better when it provides food, clothes, housing, medicine and much more to American families. Just throwin that one out there.

    4. […] Inhaled Marijuana ‘Clearly Has Medical Value’ For Hard to Treat Chronic Pain Conditions | NORML …. […]

    5. Smokey Joe says:

      As a member of the 1-2% group of folks suffering with this kind of constant pain, I just have a couple words to say about this research, which I have also verified at least several thousand times:

      NO DUH!


    6. fishcreekbob says:

      Nerve damage in my left leg give me pain 8-10 range 24/7 that narcotics can’t touch. Pot gets it down to 1-3 Just saying.

    7. claygooding says:

      I sent Kerli a copy of the CMCR studies when they first came out and received an e-mail back from an aid at the ONDCP that they were aware of the clinical study regarding the efficacy of smoked marijuana but that the Drug Czar had issues with the study. No explanation of what issues but I feel the biggest issue was the possible shrinkage in his budget if cannabis were rescheduled and they lost control of the studies allowed.

    8. Paul Revere says:

      Two years ago I was run over by heavy machinery.
      Two years later and being released to go back to work, I had to stop smoking cannabis so I can land a decent job because wouldn’t you know it, thanks to Eliott Spitzer, NYS Workmans Comp doesnt pay forever anymore. well thats fine, I’m a proud man who enjoys the fruits of labor. But DAMB IT! I have been in unconsionable pain since I stopped smoking July 4th. In 2 months the pain in my body had progressed worse and worse as the cannibinoids disapear from my body. Consiquentially I have been injesting more oxycodone to take the edge off, but it does not take the pain away like cannabis did.

      I want to work
      I want to provide for my family
      I want to not hurt 24 hours a day
      Please, for the love of God, Legalize this stuff, it does work, better then any opiod I was ever prescribed.

    9. James says:

      How many legitimate medical journals around the world have to report that medical cannabis is in fact medical and safe for practical use before our government will listen?