Study: Cannabinoids Are Safe, Effective For Pain Treatment

pain_reliefCannabinoids are safe and effective for the treatment of chronic pain, according to the results of a systematic review of randomized controlled trials published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.

Investigators from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and McGill University in Montreal evaluated the results of 11 placebo-controlled trials conducted between the years 2010 and 2014. Trials assessed the use of various types of cannabinoid preparations, including herbal cannabis, liquid and oral cannabis extracts, and nabilone (a synthetic analog of THC), in pain treatment.

Cannabinoids possessed “significant analgesic effects” and were “well tolerated” in the majority of studies reviewed.

Authors concluded, “The current systematic review provides further support that cannabinoids are safe, demonstrate a modest analgesic effect and provide a reasonable treatment option for treatment chronic non-cancer pain.”

A 2011 review of 18 separate randomized trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids for pain management similarly reported, “[C]annabinoids are a modestly effective and safe treatment option for chronic non-cancer (predominantly neuropathic) pain.”

In September, Canadian researchers reported that pain patients who consumed herbal cannabis daily for one-year experienced decreased analgesia and no increase in serious adverse side effects compared to matched controls.

An abstract of the study, “Cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain: An updated systematic review of randomized controlled trials,” appears online here.

24 thoughts

  1. “…support that cannabinoids are safe…”

    “… provide a reasonable treatment option for treatment chronic non-cancer pain.”

    No shit.

    Thousands of Americans have known, and been saying, this for DECADES.

    Time for our leaders to get on the train,
    even the medical scientists, though hindered by our failed policies, are catching on.

    Forget the CSA classification II, (aka cocaine)

    Time for America to TAKE CONTROL of itself.

  2. @ Ben
    I agree with your comment all the way! I support Marijuana because of its multi-medicinal qualities and zero side effects! I also support Marijuana for recreational use because Marijuana is a non-toxic plant which is a Million times safer than alcohol and tobacco combined! With that being said, We need to completely remove Marijuana from the US Federal Controlled Substances Act!

  3. While the evidence of marijuana’s medical efficacy mounts up, so is Congressional review of DEA director Rosenberg and his recent comment that medicinal marijuana is a “joke.” Check out Rep. Bleumenhower on CSpan rip’m a new one;

    I cant help but say that it doesnt matter how many heads of the hydra we cut off during the climax of this American Marijuana Tragedy, firing DEA directors is like chopping cactus without pulling the roots out, and the roots of this tragedy are the Controlled Substances Act itself.

  4. Rather than the fulsomely advertised Quick Relief you are urged to buy from the drug companies this article connects cannabis with “PAIN MANAGEMENT”.

    In our society and epoch a goodly percentage of the pain is associated with Metabolic Syndrome (see Paul’s other story this week how cannabis reduces that), like, the strain of lugging the bellyfat around with you etc.

    My guess how cannabis helps reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, abdominal fat, etc., etc. is that it encourages (“Inspires”) the body to do various wondrous adventurous metabolisms and exercises which are at once good work and great pain management.

    “Munchies?” Maybe if you choose good food, not HFCSjunk, the prior tokes of cannabis will help you ENJOY CHEWING real food long enough to introduce Nature’s Most Intelligent Substance, Saliva, to EVERY MOLECULE of food so that with the help of Good Bacteria you will digest it for energy not storage. Well think what a resurgence of understanding for chewing real food will do to the huckster corplords who market HFCS chewing gum and bubble gum, sugar pop and other here,quickgulpculture.

    I personally after a toke take nothing but water the first hour, maybe tenminutechew one piece of orange or melon (digest all that calcium!) during second hour, maybe more slight intake and long chew fruitveg during next two hours (Anti-Fascist Hash Fast, Our Four Hour Tour).

    Pain? Me? Bought one $15 bottle of glucosamine for since-beaten arthritis in 2001, otherwise zero medication or medical service expenditures since 1973.

  5. @Ivan – Actually there are side effects when using cannabis for various ailments like pain. However, unlike the stuff manufactured by big pharma the side effect is something that most people like (e.g. relaxation, a feeling of peace, increased appetite, and even a feeling of forgiveness… to name a few).

    Could it be those side effects that the haters hate so much?

  6. At this point, while public opinion has crossed the theoretically critical point where greater than 50% of surveyed citizens are in favor or DEFINITIVELY improving our handling of cannabis-
    our leaders aren’t getting it, (or at least, the system is stuck in gear, and seems not to OFFICIALLY budge.)

    Therefore, I submit to you, my fellow Americans:

    If you, or someone you know, partakes of cannabis, and you don’t want to see them in jail/prison vote for the TOP-DOWN leader that will push for proper legislation.
    Bernie is the ONLY one who will champion our cause. Clinton is as bad as Christie.

  7. Cannabis has a reasonable safety quotient better than all current studies combined. Malpractice insurance premiums should lessen and quality of life decisions become more clear due to an end to prohibitive energies fogging up the view.

  8. living proof here! I have had a number of surgeries in my adult life …back, neck, hernia repairs…. I saved my insurance company a lot of money by consuming cannabis after 90% of them. was not a lot either.. every couple three hours it was puff, puff and , it was all good. screw pain meds!!kept me in the perfect state of mind! yea, I still had pain but, my mind did not dwell on it and I was able to function normally, get out of bed and begin walking per doctors orders. cannabis has benefitted me in many ways in the thirty two years that I have consumed it. I believe in its power for mind and soul!!!

  9. I sure hope Pennsylvanians don’t get a screwing by the prohibitionists.

    Breaking News, see below!

    A vote on legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania could come as early as Monday.

    The state House has scheduled a vote on Senate Bill 3, which passed overwhelmingly in May, and which Gov. Tom Wolf has said he would sign.

    Still, medical marijuana supporters are worried about what a final bill will look like — dozens of members of the more conservative House have indicated they will propose amendments to the Senate-passed bill, which was authored by state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon.

    Folmer’s bill, which would allow medical marijuana to treat about a dozen conditions and allow a large growing and distribution network, has been embraced by groups that have waged a years-long push for medical marijuana. These includes parents of children with severe seizures, and people, including veterans and their advocates, who want access to medical marijuana to treat chronic pain.

    But now they fear changes such as the rumored amendment that would cap the level of the active ingredients of medical marijuana.

    A House working group recently came up with a list of recommendations aimed at finding an acceptable middle ground.

    Some opponents of medical marijuana fear it will provide a gateway to illegal drug use. Supporters argue that hasn’t been the case in the 23 states that allow medical marijuana.

    Medical marijuana supporters in the House include state Rep. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, a former federal drug enforcement agent who argues many suffering Pennsylvanians, including cancer patients, need access to medical marijuana.

    Prominent Republican opponents include House Speaker Mike Turzai of Allegheny County.

    Earlier this week, the House rules committee passed the bill by a 25-8 vote, with ten of the committee’s 18 Republicans voting yes.

  10. Pennsylvania prohibitionist House Speaker cries John Boehner style in opposition to legalizing medical cannabis. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong.

    A proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is now positioned to receive a full vetting in the state House of Representatives but it was not before some tears were shed.

    The House Rules Committee on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to move the Senate-passed bill to the full House for consideration.

    This came following what some Republican members described as an emotionally charged closed-door caucus discussion that had House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, breaking down in tears over his opposition to legalizing medical cannabis, according to three GOP sources who witnessed the outburst.

    They confirmed it was what one of them called a “John Boehner-like breakdown,” referring to the former U.S. House speaker who was easily moved to tears.

    Attempts to reach Turzai for comment late Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

    The lawmakers interviewed asked not to be identified in order to discuss what are traditionally private meetings.

    One of them described the caucus discussion that pit Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, who supports its legalization, against the speaker as “surreal.”

    Reed rationalized its legalization by sharing poll results that show strong support for it and comments he heard favoring its legalization at townhall meetings in his even-keel manner. Turzai, however, became so emotionally overwrought at times it was difficult to understand what he was saying, members said.

    Following his passionate remarks, he walked out of the room before hearing other members’ views on the issue, which was a source of irritation for some members, sources said.


    The state House rules committee voted 25-8 in favor of a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

    The bill still requires a vote by the full House. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he will sign a bill.

    Folmer added that “the devil will be in the details” regarding possible House amendments.

    But one of those parents, Latricia Bentch of Swatara Township, said late Wednesday “we are just terrified” over what they’ve heard regarding amendments.

    Bentch said she has seen no language, but has heard amendments will cap the level of THC in medical marijuana, and prevent anyone who has ever had a drug possession conviction from being the caregiver of a person being treated with medical marijuana.

    “I guess what’s really bothersome is the secrecy,” she said, adding that there was a high level of transparency in the Senate, which she said regularly sought the views of advocates and compromised with them.

    In September, a working group of House members issued recommendations that would allow medical marijuana to be used to treat 14 medical conditions, including seizures, post traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, cancer, HIV/AIDs, and several neurological conditions.

    One of the important open questions involves how many growers, processors and dispensers to allow.

    Among the Republican majority on the rules committee, ten voted yes and eight voted no. All 15 Democrats voted yes.

    Among the yes Republican votes was House Majority Leader Dave Reed of Indiana County, who also is the head of the rules committee. The Republican no votes included House Speaker Mike Turzai.

    Much of the expected opposition in the House comes from members who believe medical marijuana will end up in the hands of young people and will serve as “gateway” to regular drug use.

  12. It’s always the same siht. I never bought anything else.

    Who’s business is it anyways? Anybodies fck’ng guess? And who the hell are
    you recruiting to deliver it? It’s absurdly priced. You know when
    people are buying because they are stealing from you. And then what’s
    with the never ending crackdowns? Pot’s not going away. You are.

    Another question is why are they guarding it? You don’t see me guarding it do
    you? Should we all be guarding it? This is an embarrassment to the
    State of Mexico. And you know this is work that I do not want to do.
    It is third behind seed picker and stem remover. You pay people to
    stand there. If I see someone standing there they are not getting one
    thin dime. Not of mine, not of the states nor of anyone else’s. If I
    had GI’s out guarding a patch of strawberries I’d be on an island

  13. Caught this report from the Guardian on Oregon’s emerging… Or merging… medical marijuana market:

    It appears that the state with no sales tax that decided to tax recreational and provide tax free marijuana through medicinal dispensaries is facing a rising recreational demand and overcrowded medicinal supply. Medical dispensaries wish to remain tax free but under the current law that separates dispensaries, if they don’t merge into recreational, they won’t stay in business. Legislation is being introduced in January to allow mergers of medicinal and recreational dispensaries that allow patients to identify medical cards and recieve tax credits in recreational dispensaries as done in Colorado.
    Sounds like California could learn a lesson here that could prevent a repeat of their last failed attempt to legalize when Californians preferred to sit on their medical cards than vote to legalize. Just think of the options California! In Oregon we have more than popularity of recreational gaining attention; the state revenue from recreational is prompting legislation that favors a new merging medical-recreational market… Meaning representation does follow taxation.

    I always knew recreation was a form of medicine, but I never thought medicine was a form of recreation until I saw the mason jars full of recommended strains for various symptoms without the detrimental side effects of common pharmaceuticals.
    Got arthritis? Try some trainwreck! Let the fresh aroma of pinenes take the pain out of picking your guittar! Side effects may include increased appetite, relaxation, a desire to enjoy people and music and a propensity to laugh at the random ironies of life.

  14. Prohibitionist Republicans in Pennsylvania are out to kill the state’s MMJ legislation as death by a 100 amendments, basically keeping cannabis prohibition in place.

    The Commonwealth is looking for sources of revenue, won’t tax Marcellus Shale gas extraction because the Republicans control the legislature and won’t allow it, and Republicans are against raising the state sales taxes so much, and all the while the cannabis community is willing to be taxed in exchange for legalized adult recreational.

    End of rant, beginning of excerpt from article

    Jan Murphy at PennLive reported that Turzai stormed out of a closed-door caucus meeting trying to urge his GOP party members to oppose medical marijuana. Turzai was “emotionally overwrought” in his frustrated arguments against the bill while Rep. Reed easily articulated his support.

    The conflict between the Majority Leader and Speaker could mean bad news for the bill in the House. Advocates have already been concerned at the lack of transparency and slow progress.

    Now word has leaked that there may be almost 100 individual floor amendments planned. Some were expected. Most hint at further restrictions to an already limited piece of legislation. Things like caps on THC content, limits of strains of cannabis and fewer dispensaries have been discussed. The bill already prohibits smoking and patients would not likely ever get their hands on whole plant material.

    The adding numerous floor amendments is a strategy often employed to kill a bill.


  15. Seems every time I read a story about opposition to legalization, it’s because some idiot lawmaker thinks it’s a gateway drug or need to keep it illegal so kids can’t get it. And these are the people that are supposedly running this country. First of all, people like me have been smoking pot for 40 years or more and have not even tried other drugs. As far as children getting a hold of pot, I’ve had a 12 year old in Kansas get me some cause I couldn’t find any..that was several years ago, the point is that if it were legal it wouldn’t be so easy for kids to get. Legalize it, it’s that simple. Of course voting idiots out of office would help too.

  16. Light yerself a bowl when you got an hour and watch this documentary of Dr. Mechoulam, the Bulgarian-Israeli scientist who first isolated and identified THC back in the sixties;

    “So we published our work” (discovering how children could prevent vomiting and nausea from chemotherapy back in 1995 by consuming cannabis oil), “And then? Nothing… Children are still being denied this medicine from cannabis to this day.”
    -Dr. Mechoulam

    Meet the researchers, Americans and scottish and from around the world that shape history and see the future of cannabis research. Learn why Dr. Mechoulam continues to travel to meetings (with the help if his wife), in order to learn “the next step.”

    “In research, we never know where were going to end up; only where we started.”
    -Dr. Mechoulam

  17. Legalization in Pennsylvania? Prohibitionists are still in the way, with upwards of 70 amendments on the state’s MMJ legislation.

    Sadly, they won’t listen to reason or embrace the inevitable without putting off legalization as long as possible. They only way they’ll legalize is if they have no other choice.

    Background, Pennsylvania has been without a state budget since July. By law, the state was supposed to have passed a budget by the end of June 2015. Nothing. The squeeze is on. It looks like you have to keep on putting the squeeze on in Pennsylvania until Harrisburg is ready to legalize both medical and recreational in order to avoid the fumbles and foils of later having to combine the oversight and consolidation for efficiency and profitability years later like is being done in states that first legalized MMJ then a few years down the road legalized adult recreational. That means the state has to go without a budget until more people agree on legalizing adult recreational as a way out of the fiscal mess. Extraordinary problems call for extraordinary solutions, basically.

  18. Orchestrate things so that they have no budget, and have no other choice but to legalize for both medical and adult recreational purposes. I venture to say most of the prohibitionists are Republicans, and the politicians who most want to privatize the state monopoly on liquor are Republicans, so I would urge them to dispatch their own experts to Washington state which used to have a state controlled liquor distribution system. I would also urge them to send a group to Colorado to see how they can copy or adapt how cannabis some of the cannabis taxes, revenues, are used to benefit public education, which the public generally considers to be sorely underfunded in Pennsylvania.

    Talk is cheap. You know, I hear these politicians like Rep. Mike Regan (R) on PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network) and yet it’s crickets on sending people to other states to bring back recommendations on how to set regulation and taxation up in Pennsylvania.

  19. I am 100% sure that none of the prohibitionists will utter any kind of heartfelt apology to the victims of their Reefer Madness. As someone who has been battling cancer for too many years already, I can tell you it’s always different when it’s you, when someone you know and care about could benefit from cannabis, but until then, it’s like Mike Folmer (R) state senator who came out big time in favor of cannabis after he was diagnosed with cancer.

    No prohibitionist will ever come right out and tell the parents of these kids with seizures who can be helped with cannabis they don’t care if their kids dies.

    WTF! Maybe by spring 2016, Passover, Easter, the equinox, Pennsylvania will have been squeezed enough for legalization, seriously, to happen. Unfortunately, that means letting a whole lot of hurt happen unnecessarily to unfunded human services, state to county and school funds on hold, and generally unnecessary suffering.

    I mean, it’s unnecessary suffering. That’s what prohibitionists do: cause unnecessary suffering for those who can benefit from cannabis.

  20. That is not to say however, that there is not a need
    For the THC component in addition to CBD. As in
    The use of CBD for seizure patients- it will not work
    Without a certain percentage of THC in it-parents
    Must be made aware of that, and physicians need
    To know that not one type or pct THC will be the
    Same from patient to patient! All diagnoses must
    Be taken into account, and the correct mix be
    Provided as an option for those who need this
    Medicine. Why do we have different dosages and
    Combinations of different meds for hypertension,
    Or Diabetes? Why would it be different for the use
    Of Cannabis? I do not think that those of us on
    Opiods for pain control will be helped simply by
    CBD. That is asking a lot. Like an incorrect strength
    Or dosage would be of prescription meds!!!

  21. “No prohibitionist will ever come right out and tell the parents of these kids with seizures who can be helped with cannabis they don’t care if their kids dies.”

    There are two reasons for this and neither is money, that is just the mortar joining Narcissism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. One, narcissists are not capable of empathy, hence why they do not care about our kids’ lives. Two, obsessives have thought patterns that don’t make sense. They want to protect the kids and when you’re obsessive, the worst thing to you is the implication of disorder, that something is out of place and their anxiety starts rising. Like black and white kids talking, they can’t handle the disorder of it, they know something bad will come of it. So disordered the idea of helping people turns into mental poison. It doesn’t matter marijuana is the only medicine that works, that just don’t matter to an obsessive, keeping the appearance of order at the expensive of order is what Obsessive Compulsives do. Obsessive Compulsives that also have Narcissism will be the worst Prohibitionist as they absolutely do not empathize with anyone and anything the threatens their idea of order automatically becomes Public Enemy #1. These are disordered emotional responses to NORML stimuli and these folks need counseling or termination from their jobs as Law Enforcement and from their jobs as Lawyers. If you cannot empathize, how can you judge?

  22. I can’t understand why we are having to hurt with, neurogical pain & also be cheated of our states being robbed of income and funding ,cannabis will bring in,in revenue from sales

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