University of California Trials Suggest Inhaled Cannabis Halts HIV Pain

Inhaled Cannabis Halts HIV Pain, Study Says Clinical Trial Results Undermine Feds' 'Flat Earth' Position That Pot Lacks Medical Efficacy

San Diego, CA:  Inhaled cannabis significantly reduces HIV-associated neuropathy compared to placebo, according to clinical trial data published online on the website of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Investigators at the University of California at San Diego, in conjunction with the University of California Center for Medical Cannabis Research, assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis in 28 HIV patients with neuropathic (nerve-related) pain not adequately controlled by other pain-relievers.  Researchers reported that the proportion of subjects achieving a pain reduction of 30 percent or more was greater for those smoking cannabis than among those smoking the placebo.

“Smoked cannabis … (1-8% THC) significantly reduced neuropathic pain intensity in HIV-associated DPSN (distal sensory polyneuropathy) compared to placebo, when added to stable concomitant analgesics,” authors concluded.  “Mood disturbance, physical disability, and quality of life all improved significantly during study treatment.  … Our findings suggest that cannabinoid therapy may be an effective option for pain relief in patients with medically intractable pain due to HIV-associated DSPN.”

The study is the third clinical trial conducted by CMCR investigators to determine that inhaled cannabis significantly reduces chronic neuropathy, a condition that is typically unresponsive to both opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

Commenting on the study, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “It is becoming increasingly apparent why the US government has tried 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.”

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, “Smoked medicinal cannabis for neuropathic pain in HIV: a randomized, crossover clinical trial,” will appear in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology

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