Marijuana better than pharmaceuticals at treating chronic pain, improving mood
Experts from different persuasions often argue about the alleged benefits of using marijuana for pain relief, but a new study out of McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill University (MU) has conclusively found that cannabis, the genus name for marijuana, is better than pharmaceutical drugs at relieving chronic neurological pain, and without all the harmful side effects.
Appearing in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the study reveals that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana that gives it psychoactive and analgesic properties, is linked to relieving chronic pain, improving mood and inducing better sleep in those with severe neurological pain.
Patients who took a single inhalation of marijuana smoke three times a day experienced moderate pain reduction within just a few days. The effects were more pronounced with marijuana containing ten percent THC versus varieties with less than ten percent.
"This is the first trial to be conducted where patients have been allowed to smoke cannabis at home and to monitor their responses, daily," explained Dr. Mark Ware, lead author of the study, Director of Clinical Research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at MUHC, assistant professor of anesthesia in McGill University's Faculty of Medicine and neuroscience researcher at the Research Institute of the MUHC.
"The patients we followed suffered from pain caused by injuries to the nervous system...and which was not controlled using standard therapies," he went on further to say. "This kind of pain occurs more frequently than many people recognize, and there are few effective treatments available. For these patients, medical cannabis is sometimes seen as their last hope."
For legitimate chronic pain caused by post-traumatic and post-surgical injuries, marijuana can be a safer alternative than prescription medications. As always, though, it is important not to abuse marijuana for non-therapeutic purposes.
Sources for this story include:http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/muhc-rdb082710.php