Davis, CA: Cannabis significantly reduces neuropathic pain compared
to placebo and is well tolerated by patients with chronic pain
conditions, according to clinical trial data to be published in The
Journal of Pain.
Investigators at the University of California at Davis, in
conjunction with the University of California Center for Medical
Cannabis Research (CMCR), assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis
on pain intensity among 38 patients with central and/or peripheral
neuropathic pain in a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.
Researchers reported that smoking low-grade (3.5 percent THC) and mid-
grade (7 percent THC) equally reduced patients' perception of
"[A] significant … reduction in [a 100-point visual analog scale of]
pain intensity per minute was noted from both 3.5 percent and 7
percent cannabis compared to placebo," authors wrote. "Separate
appraisals using the patient global score and multidimensional
[eleven-point neuropathic pain scale also] revealed that both active
agents alleviated pain compared with placebo."
Investigators added: "[N]o participant withdrew because of
tolerability issues. Subjects receiving active agent endorsed a 'good
drug effect' more than a 'bad drug effect.'"
They concluded: "In the present experiment, cannabis reduced pain
intensity and unpleasantness equally. Thus, as with opioids, cannabis
does not rely on a relaxing or tranquilizing effect, but rather
reduces both the core component of nociception (nerve pain) and the
emotional aspect of the pain experience to an equal degree."
The study is the second clinical trial conducted by CMCR
investigators to conclude that inhaled cannabis significantly reduces
chronic neuropathy, a condition that is typically unresponsive to
both opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as
Commenting on the study's the findings, NORML Deputy Director Paul
Armentano said: "With the results of each published study it becomes
increasingly apparent why the US government has tried consistently to
stonewall clinical research on the therapeutic effects of inhaled
cannabis. Each new trial the Feds approve provides additional
evidence undermining the government's 'flat Earth' position that
cannabis is without medical value."