The Chronic Condition

Smoking Marijuana May Help Treat Chronic Nerve Pain

Medicinal marijuana can be a polarizing topic, but recent research points to its efficacy in treating chronic neuropathic pain, or pain associated with nerve injury. (Smoke a doob, hurt yourself, get to smoke a doob: A collective "bitchin'" can be heard from surfers and snowboarders around the nation.)

In a study by McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), published in the Canadian Medical Associated Journal, patients were allowed to smoke cannabis (marijuana) at home and to monitor their responses. This is the first time researchers have conducted a study allowing these parameters.

The study participants all suffered from pain caused by nervous system injuries, whether post-surgical (such as cut nerves) or post-traumatic (such as traffic accidents). Their pain wasn't being mitigated by traditional therapies. In the study, the participants smoked three times a day over a five-day period. For each sesh, they took a single inhalation out of a pipe of low doses (25 mg to be exact) of marijuana containing approximately 10 percent THC, the active ingredient in wacky tobacky.

Researchers found that the marijuana provided modest pain reduction within the first few days. Additionally, the marijuana improved moods and helped participants sleep better (but maybe your own college studies taught you that). The positive effects were less distinct with marijuana containing less than 10 percent THC.

The lead author of the study says, "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."

But don't get too high on the study's positive findings just yet... larger-scale studies involving higher doses of THC and conducted over a longer time period are needed to further examine medical marijuana's long-term safety and efficacy in treating pain from nerve injuries. They also need more time to figure out a way to prevent cotton-mouth related incidents, munchies, brain farts and incessant paranoia...


McGill University Health Centre (2010, August 30). Smoked medical cannabis may be beneficial as treatment for chronic neuropathic pain, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from /releases/2010/08/100830094926.htm


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