Article by Ricardo Oliveira, Lift News
A recent investigation led by Dr. Barth Wilsey from the University of California Center for Medical Cannabis suggests that vaporized cannabis has strong therapeutic effects on patients with intractable neuropathic pain resulting from spinal cord injury and disease. The study was published in the Journal of Pain and can be assessed from here.
Neuropathic pain results from damage to neurons in the somatosensory nervous system. It is characterized by extreme chronic pain as well as psychological suffering caused by the loss or impairment in mobility, bowel and bladder function, digestion and breathing.
Previous research revealed that most patients suffering from this condition had abandoned conventional medication, due to its side effects (in the case of opioids) or lack of efficacy. More than 70% of the patients were seeking alternative treatments, of which massage and cannabis were considered the most helpful. Importantly though, both cannabis and conventional therapies failed to provide relief lasting more than a few hours.
Cannabis has a peculiar mechanism of action that distinguishes it from other types of painkillers. Instead of changing the conductance of ion channels or modulating endogenous inhibitory circuits, cannabinoids act on non-neuronal cells that are implicated in inflammation. Clinical and preclinical studies show that current cannabinoid-based medicines produce significant analgesia in neuropathic pain.
However, several researchers think that these medicines lag far behind whole-plant extracts. A testament to this – as the authors state in their study – is the fact that cannabis-based medicines have not enjoyed much success, despite having been in the market for over a decade.