by David Downs
Weed reduced pain in five out of five randomized controlled trials of smoked marijuana, TheAnswerPage.com reports today, as part of a controversial, ongoing physician education program sponsored by The Massachusetts Medical Society, publisher of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Neuropathic pain results from a wound or disease of the nerves, TheAnswerpage notes. In five out of five highly controlled trials, cannabis therapy significantly reduced neuropathic pain.
"Two of the five trials enrolled patients with painful HIV peripheral neuropathy. One of the five trials consisted of mixed neuropathic pain due to peripheral or central dysfunction of the nervous system (i.e., complex regional pain syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and traumatic focal nerve or spinal cord injury). Patients were allowed to continue their usual regimen of analgesics. The results of these trials indicated that cannabis significantly reduced pain intensity. Of significance, 46%-52% of individuals on cannabis reported at least a 30% reduction in pain while only 18%-24% of the placebo group reported a 30% decrease in pain (31). A decrease of pain intensity of 30% often coincides with an improved quality of life."
"In these trials, the study participants smoked cannabis cigarettes containing from 1% to 8% THC by weight (4 to 32 mg THC) or placebo cannabis cigarettes from which THC had been extracted."
Cannabis remains a federally illegal schedule 1 drug considered by Congress to have no medical benefit and a high potential for abuse, even though it cannot cause overdose and is extremely less addictive than opiates like OxyContin. About eighteen women die every day nationwide from prescription painkiller overdose. Prescription painkillers were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined, the US Centers for Disease Control reports.