Montreal, Quebec: Smoking marijuana completely eliminated pain and improved symptoms of dystonia in a 42-year-old chronic pain patient, according to findings of a case study published in the current volume of The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. After using cannabis, the patient did not require any analgesic medication for the following 48 hours. The patient had previously reported suffering from “continuous debilitating pain” for the prior 15 years.
Authors wrote that the patient’s subjective pain score on a 10 cm visual analog scale (0-none, 10-sever) was a 9 without medication and, at best, a 4 with medication. “Cannabis therapy resulted in a pain score of zero,” authors concluded. “No other treatment intervention to date had resulted in such dramatic overall improvement in [the patient’s] condition.”
According to a 1999 review by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, “the available evidence from animal and human studies indicates that cannabinoids (compounds in marijuana) can have a substantial analgesic effect.” Last week, British researchers reported that cannabinoid extracts drastically reduced chronic pain suffered by Multiple Sclerosis and spinal cord injury patients. Preliminary results from a separate, large-scale patient trial by the British Medical Research Council are expected next month.
Canadian health officials approved funding last summer for researchers at the McGill University Health Center in Montreal to study the analgesic effects of inhaled marijuana. However, that study remains delayed because Health Canada has yet to grant McGill researchers access to the agency’s supply of cultivated cannabis. Health Canada officials did announce this week that researchers at the Community Research Initiative of Toronto (CRIT) would soon begin evaluating the therapeutic effects of smoked marijuana on HIV and AIDS on an outpatient basis.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-8751. Full text of the case study appears in Volume 24, Issue 1 (July) of The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.