Up in Smoke
Many supporters of marijuana as a pain relieving agent may find that their hopes of clinical backing for the idea are up in smoke. According to a recent study published in the November issue of Anesthesiology, Marijuana users seeking pain relief will find higher doses actually intensify pain. According to Mark S. Wallace, M.D., and colleagues of the University of California, participants that received a 2% dose of THC received no relief from pain, 4% dose weaker pain response, and at 8% pain actually increased significantly.
This study comes at a time when preclinical and limited clinical studies have actually indicated a degree of validity for those that claim using marijuana relieves their pain. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:
Dr. Wallace and colleagues enrolled 15 healthy adult volunteers for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. Each participant provided a blood sample to confirm absence of plasma THC before starting the trial.
The protocol stipulated that each volunteer would participate in four dose-randomized sessions at least one week apart. During each session, participants smoked a placebo or low (2% THC), medium (4% THC), or high (8% THC) dose marijuana cigarettes. Participants who could not tolerate the highest dose were excluded from analysis.
Blood was drawn at each session before drug administration to assess plasma THC and it metabolites. Another specimen was obtained five minutes after drug administration to quantify cannabis exposure. Additionally, participants had neurosensory and neurocognitive evaluations and subjectively rated their “highness.”