Marijuana Eases Neuropathic Pain, Researchers Report

NEW YORK -- Giving carefully calibrated doses of marijuana to people with neuropathic pain, which can be difficult-to-treat and extremely painful, can ease their pain without clouding their minds, California researchers report. 
Neuropathic pain can result from spinal cord injury, diabetes-related nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, or other types of nerve injury, and is typically treated with a wide range of drugs including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids, and anti-inflammatories, the study's lead author, Dr.  Barth Wilsey of the University of California, Davis Medical Center, said in an interview. 
Wilsey became interested in testing marijuana for treating neuropathic pain, he said in an interview, after many of his patients told him they were already smoking pot to cope. 
To examine the pain-fighting effects of pot scientifically, he and his colleagues had 38 people with neuropathic pain smoke high-dose joints containing seven per cent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol ( 9-THC ), a lower dose version containing 3.5 per cent 9-THC, or a placebo cigarette from which all 9-THC had been extracted. 
Each study participant went through a trial of each of the three cigarettes, using a standardized system for puff timing and inhalation length developed at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. 
All study participants had abstained from smoking pot for at least 30 days beforehand, and smoking sessions were separated by at least three days to allow the drug to leave their systems.

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