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British study to determine if marijuana really relieves pain

Posted by Sharon W on 8/20/03 at 16:58 (127435)

I was interested to hear about this one; at the moment what they are studying is the effectiveness of cannabis to relieve pain after surgery, but this research could open the door to other medical uses of marijuana for pain relief:

Sharon

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http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030820/hl_nm/health_britain_cannabis_dc_1

http://www.idmu.co.uk/cltr.htm

Here are some excerpts from that first reference:

'Hundreds of Britons are being recruited to take cannabis capsules after operations, as part of a major study.'

'Anecdotal evidence suggests cannabis -- taken by many thousands of people across the world as a recreational drug -- does soothe pain, but British scientists said on Wednesday it was now time for proper clinical tests.'

'British biotech firm GW Pharmaceuticals hopes to launch a Cannabis-based medicine for multiple sclerosis sufferers by the end of this year.'

'Clinical trials of the GW medicine -- which is sprayed into the mouth -- found that it reduced nerve pain, spasticity and sleep disturbance in MS sufferers.'

'But post-operative patients hoping to get an added high as well as pain relief from the drug may be disappointed -- doctors leading the study say the dose will be small, controlled and very unlikely to produce a high.'

'We are giving a standardized preparation so we know the dose content,' Holdcroft told Reuters. 'We can't say that there won't be any effect on mood, but you won't get a high as you would if you took a large quantity of the drug very rapidly.'
:-?

Re: British study to determine if marijuana really relieves pain

Richard, C.Ped on 8/22/03 at 07:59 (127631)

Before I started this business, I worked in a home infusion pharmacy. About 90% of our patients were AIDS related. I can't tell you the number of times I have seen bags of marijuana lying around their homes. One guy had a large bedside commode filled with the stuff. I became bold and finally stared asking them why they used it. They told me that it helped with pain as well as helping to increase their appetite. Most of them had tried Marinol, a synthetic form of THC..the strongest componet of marijuana, without success.

I have to say that I do not have a problem with marijuana becoming legal, as long as it remains a controlled substance with a CII classification. Of course, there are pros and cons to everything.
Richard

Re: British study to determine if marijuana really relieves pain

Sharon W on 8/22/03 at 09:25 (127640)

Richard,

The smoking aspect is the part that bothers me most about the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Annother effective delivery method must be found in order for it to really be a viable treatment alternative. But it does seem very silly to me for the US medical community to use morpheine, codeine, opiates, anti-epileptic drugs, etc. medicinally and yet refuse to even CONSIDER legitimate uses for marijuana (such as controlling pain and nausea).

I should say that, while the large post-surgery study about to get underway in the UK will apparently use oral cannabis, and the MS study (which produced successful results) used a mouth spray, I have seen at least one report of a study that showed cannabis is ineffective unless smoked. I don't know. I was a child of the 70's and I do know that while the stuff was sometimes cooked in brownies, etc., it took more of it to get people 'high' that way. (But I have no real 'expertise' in that area...)

I was wondering if, perhaps, a nose spray would be more effective than taking it by mouth...?

Sharon
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Re: British study to determine if marijuana really relieves pain

JudyS on 8/22/03 at 10:09 (127647)

I'm with you, Richard. I have a hard time understanding (could be pure ignorance on my part) why marijuana cannot be legally used for pain relief. After all, many narcotics (which pot may or may not be) are used, legally, for pain relief. As far as the possible use/abuse of it I wonder if the incident of that wouldn't be any more severe than the incident of any other narcotic.

Re: British study to determine if marijuana really relieves pain

Sharon W on 8/22/03 at 10:22 (127649)

Richard,

There is also some new research out there (according to an Aug 11th Reuters Health article) showing that 'a selective activator of peripheral CB2 cannabinoid receprors' called AM1241 'inhibits neuropathic pain' in a rat model. This Reuters report was a summary of aone from the Proceedings of the National Acadmeny of Science USA 2003.

The study was done by a Dr. Malan from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and they found that AM1241 (dose-dependently) inhibited heat/cold and touch hypersensitivity in rats after spinal nerve ligation. The researchers did note, however, that there is some possibility AM1241 might inhibit immune cell functioning, so that possibility will have to be thoroughly tested.

Sharon
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Re: British study to determine if marijuana really relieves pain

john h on 8/22/03 at 11:51 (127662)

Having never somoked anything would you have to inhale to receive any effect from marijuana? I am not sure I could inhale anything into my lungs without gagging.

Re: British study to determine if marijuana really relieves pain

marie on 8/24/03 at 20:09 (127870)

I know people who have tried the Marinol after Chemo. The problem is that they can't hold it down. It makes them throw up. Smoking is an easier way to get it into your blood stream. I don't think someone who is critically ill and needs marijuana to help them function is worried about inhaling smoke into their lungs.

I don't understand why they won't approve marijuana for medicinal use. I am very anti drug....but I really feel it is time to make medicinal marajuana available to critical and terminal patients.

Re: British study to determine if marijuana really relieves pain

Dorothy on 8/24/03 at 23:41 (127876)

I am very anti-drug as well but the attitudes about medicinal marijuana and also the growing of hemp as an agricultural product seem to me to be very rigid and unsupported. It is most bizarre that the government subsidized the growing of tobacco in the poorest areas of the country for eons, but when those same areas might be converted to growing hemp for clothing, paper, oil and so on, that can't happen because hemp is from the same family as marijuana - not the same plant or the same effect at all, but in the same family. It's like saying that all members of the nightshade family (potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes....) taste the same. Yet, at the same time, we allow the importation of hemp products from other countries. Those farmers can make a living off hemp, but not U.S. farmers. Meanwhile, while these kinds of really stupid decisions are made, drug use in this country is rampant and illegal aliens continue to build drug enclaves in the national parks to either manufacture or grow illegal drugs while the government refuses to properly support Park Service Rangers while they are forced into positions of INS and police and drug enforcement.... And so it goes. If I ruled the world.....free New Balance or Birkenstocks or Danskos for everyone!