In a study, Canadian researchers tested the strengths of marijuana and the benefits associated with chronic pain. The case patients were not responding to traditional painkillers. Dr. Mark Ware, assistant professor of anesthesia and family medicine at McGill University in Montreal evaluated 21 adults who were suffering from chronic pain after an injury or surgery.
They found that those who inhaled controlled doses of the strongest cannabis with the highest levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, often called THC, experienced the greatest pain relief. Patients who had chronic pain because of damage to the nervous system had less pain when they inhaled marijuana instead of a placebo. They also experienced less melancholy and anxiety.
While all of them reported loss of pain, the reduction was minimal.
About 2 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from chronic neuropathy – pain from damaged nerve endings caused by disease or injury. The condition is often treated with a number of different medicines depression and epilepsy.
The study lasted only 5 days and was too short to assess any effect on patients who might need treatment for longer periods of time, even months. The scientists could not be sure that any of the responses would have long lasting effects.
Dr. Ware stated that using marijuana might help some patients as an alternative when pharmaceutical drugs do not help in controlling the pain. The cannabinoid family, which includes marijuana, is “emerging as an interesting new class of drugs for pain management,” Ware said.