One of the more infamous of herbal remedies, cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been shown in a small but well-designed study conducted in Canada, to help relieve some of the discomfort experienced by people who suffer from chronic pain. Marijuana has been used in pill form for a number of years as a treatment for certain types of pain, but the risks and benefits associated with smoking the herb until now have been mysterious.
Dr. Mark Ware is an assistant professor of family medicine and anesthesia at McGill University in Montreal. He was determined to find out more about the effects of marijuana, so with the help of several colleagues he designed a study based on a randomized controlled trial, considered the most thorough way to discover efficacy for a medication. Dr. Mark had 21 adults with chronic neuropathic pain inhale cannabis in what is said to be the first outpatient clinical trial of smoked cannabis.
The subjects were divided into four groups, each getting a different percentage of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. Also included was a placebo which contained no THC. According to the authors of the study, which was published in the on-line issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, “We found that 25 mg herbal cannabis with 9.4 per cent THC, administered as a single smoked inhalation three times daily for five days, significantly reduces average pain intensity compared with a zero per cent THC cannabis placebo in adult subjects with chronic post traumatic/post-surgical neuropathic pain.”