Research Supports Medicinal Marijuana
AIDS Patients in Controlled Study Had Significant Pain Relief
By Rick Weiss
Tuesday, February 13, 2007; Page A14
AIDS patients suffering from debilitating nerve pain got as much or more relief by smoking marijuana as they would typically get from prescription drugs -- and with fewer side effects -- according to a study conducted under rigorously controlled conditions with government-grown pot.
In a five-day study performed in a specially ventilated hospital ward where patients smoked three marijuana cigarettes a day, more than half the participants tallied significant reductions in pain.
By contrast, less than one-quarter of those who smoked "placebo" pot, which had its primary psychoactive ingredients removed, reported benefits, as measured by subjective pain reports and standardized neurological tests.
The White House belittled the study as "a smoke screen," short on proof of efficacy and flawed because it did not consider the health impacts of inhaling smoke.
But other doctors and advocates of marijuana policy reform said the findings, in today's issue of the journal Neurology, offer powerful evidence that the Drug Enforcement Administration's classification of cannabis as having "no currently accepted medical use" is outdated.