Update on Cannabis and Pain Relief Research

Update on Cannabis and Pain Relief Research

By Staff

Although a US congressional panel recently blocked medical cannabis research, deciding that the federal government’s search for potential solutions to the nation’s prescription opioid crisis should not include cannabis, other countries exploring cannabis research are seeing very interesting results.

Treatments with cannabinoids have been shown to have more benefits than risks, resulting in a growing number of physicians and patients calling for more clinical research and broader use of medical cannabis.

Some important news comes from the Negev desert of southern Israel, where, according to a new study from the Ben-Gurion University (BGU), medical cannabis users experience significant pain relief and function with only minor side effects. In Israel medical cannabis has been legal for treating pain and other symptoms for over a decade, and approximately 20,000 patients have a permission to use medical cannabis.

The research team, led by Prof. Pesach Shvartzman (Faculty of Health Sciences), presented their findings at the Sixth International Jerusalem Conference on Health Policy.

The study focused on the medical cannabis users themselves. Researchers observed socioeconomic characteristics, previous treatments, and side effects. They wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment to the patients’ overall improvement. Over 2,000 cancer and non-cancer patients participated in the study. Patients were interviewed by telephone in the first three months of treatment and subsequently every four months for two years.

Most study participants benefitted from treatment. Their symptoms of pain, anxiety, appetite, and overall mood was improved. Less than one in ten stopped taking the drug due to side effects or ineffectiveness after the first interview, and only 6% stopped after the second interview.

The result are impressive as almost all of the participants (99.6 percent) decided to try a medical cannabis prescription after trying some conventional medication that proved ineffective to their case. Almost 56% they sought for cannabis because of the unbearable side effects caused by their previous medication.

Another new study also provides evidence for the clinical efficacy of cannabis therapy.

In an article published in the latest issue of Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology (JBCPP), a Canadian researcher, says that cannabinoids have analgesic effects.

Mary E. Lynch, who is a leader in the field of alternative pain therapy, explained that 25 of 30 randomized controlled trials have proved that cannabinoids work effectively against pain. These findings are important because the numbers of patients with chronic pain will increase as a result of new therapies are increasing life expectancy.

As long as research proves that cannabis compounds like cannabidiol (CBD) provide relief to symptoms like pain and nausea associated with cancer and other pain conditions, and are proven to have a high degree of safety, society will continue viewing cannabis in a very light.

As research continues to show that cannabinoids can be used effectively in the management of pain, perhaps governments will continue to ease restrictions to these therapies.

In the US, that may also solve another of its major problems – the opioid abuse epidemic – because, as the Journal of the American Medical Association states, the rate of death due to overdose were 25% lower in state with legal medical marijuana laws.

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Authored by: Staff

There are 11 comments for this article
  1. Cannabis Care at 7:05 pm

    Of course they do – because Cannabis works!

    Experts on all sides want to study cannabis. But certain interests prevent it. Sometimes it all seems like theater.

    It’s so curious how “medical” and “recreational” cannabis are treated differently. While the situation is quite dissimilar in Canada, the opinions are no less intense. It seems like things might be shaking out for the greater good though, finally.

  2. JOHN S at 10:32 pm

    To Chronic Pain sufferer :

    Please DO NOT hold your breath. The federal government has been growing cannabis for over 60 years – why ? No study by the Feds will be completed in our lifetime.

    If a WEED or Plant that can be grown for just a few bucks was found to be of benefit by our government then how would they replace all that money generated by the big pharmaceutical companies ?

    Harm ? what about the harm done by our VA Hospitals when they overload pain patients with new or even old meds that were designed for depression or seizures.

    A friend was told by the VA that Lexapro will help his chronic pain. He started taking it 10 days ago and within 5 days he was a different person. Falling asleep while sitting at his desk, having a conversation with himself, eating all the time and he’s 50 Lbs. overweight now. His mood changes constantly, up down up down, he thinks everyone is out to get him. I told him to tell his Dr. the new medicine is not working but the Dr said to give it 30 to 45 days. Dam, by then he could be in serious trouble and his pain is much worse than it was prior.

    As far as Cannabis – no serious side effects found other than pain relief. What’s interesting is that in states that have medical marijuana use; Opiate deaths are down at least 25%. I don’t use Pot for pain ( violates my pain contract ) but Pa legalized it for medical use and in 2 years doctors will be able to prescribe it for cancer pain and then 10 or 12 other medical conditions.

    Does anyone see a very weird kind of > Lets drag our feet even though we know this stuff works for chronic pain. Take our time, at least 2 years to get up and running and start with cancer patients.

    Our government is not interested in finding a cheap replacement for opiates. After growing it for over 60 years they must have some real good weed – so what are they doing with it ? The problem isn’t opiates, the problem is the US Government.

    Thanks,

    John S

  3. Laurence E. Badgley, M.D. at 4:29 am

    A Cannabis survey I conducted of my patients discovered that amongst those using cold-water hash for pain relief one gram of hashish per day provided similar pain relief as a formerly used amount of 30 mg of hydrocodone per day.

  4. Chronic Pain Sufferer at 6:01 pm

    Isn’t blocking medical cannabis research severely negligent, given that experts suggest newer forms of cannabis or its particulates will likely produce great solutions for chronic pain and other medical problems?

    I personally don’t use cannabis, however many declare that it relieves pain symptoms and helps improve sleep. I would try it after medical research is completed.

  5. Doug at 2:59 pm

    Vote these boneheads out in November. Your elected officials are supposed to be in office working for you, not their own bank accounts. I don’t care if your political views are Republican, Democrat or Independent, the Jerks that are supposed to be looking out for our best interest could care less. It’s time to fire them all and get suitable replacements!

  6. Steve at 11:47 am

    I can see why you got out of pain management as I had dismal and distressing consultations with one PM doc. Absolutely uncaring, disbelieving, eventual abandonment, tossing chart on desk and walking out with no termination.

  7. MichaelL at 10:37 am

    Yet these same people will also say that opiates do not control pain! For many people they do. To doctors and nurses who know how much pain their patients suffer, …Give me a break! Any person who thins they know how much pain a person is having, is fooling themselves. They should try doing what an old doctor that I worked with said…”LISTEN TO THE PATIENTS, They will tell you what is wrong!” If you don’t believe a patient has pain, don’t treat them for it. But, please, don’t give them a bunch of dangerous medication that could result in their premature death. The opiates, although dangerous t the extent of a possible overdose, are safer than most. I would say much safer than the anti-epileptics, like gabapentin. Let patient go “cold turkey” with that and see if they don’t go into DT-s, the deadly portion of alcohol withdrawal, not seen with, even, the opiates. In conclusion, listen to the patients and don’t be a Dr Drew who thinks everyone is addicted to opiates if they use them. It does not fit the psychiatric definition of addiction. That is why so many studies do not prove chronic pain patients addicted. They will risk the complications of withdrawal to prove it. I, personally, saw it several times in my short practice of pain management. You can guess why it was shortened! No room for compassionate doctors in medicine! And, God forbid, don’t be more educated than 95% of your peers (100% of the “peers” I had to work with!)

  8. Mark ibsen md at 2:03 am

    Steve
    Congress has its own connections

  9. Cat at 5:31 pm

    I’m just curious as to why the U.S. Govt. owns more than one patent on marijuana if they don’t believe it is of value.

    For example: US Patent 6630507 titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services.
    The patent claims that – “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”

    Odd, don’t you think?

  10. Sheryl Donnell at 2:07 pm

    Very hard to look at these results and ignore them. If the CDC continues to insist on taking opioids away they must look for alternatives that are not addictive.

  11. Steve at 8:41 am

    As America’s most privileged, but not smartest, class, Congress once again dooms chronic pain patients. While they undoubtedly have access to the best that Obamacare doesn’t provide, you’d think some of them, statistically, would develop chronic pain and look for options.