Press Release: Study Confirms Medical Marijuana Pain Relief

[Courtesy of Marijuana Policy Project] 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 17, 2008

Study Confirms Medical Marijuana Pain Relief
University of California Clinical Trial Shows Relief of Neuropathic Pain, Mild Side Effects

CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications, 202-215-4205

DAVIS, CALIFORNIA -- A clinical trial conducted at the University of California at Davis and just published online by the Journal of Pain has demonstrated significant relief of neuropathic pain (pain caused by damage to nerves) stemming from a variety of causes. This is the second study in just over a year to show that marijuana relieves neuropathic pain, which is notoriously resistant to treatment with conventional pain drugs, including opioid narcotics. A UC San Francisco study published last year showed relief of HIV/AIDS-related neuropathy.


    In the new study, 38 patients experiencing neuropathic pain from diabetes, spinal injury, multiple sclerosis and other causes were given marijuana cigarettes of three different strengths: Zero percent THC (placebo), 3.5 percent THC or 7 percent THC. In each session, patients took the same number of puffs, following a standardized procedure to ensure uniformity of the dose received at each strength.


    Both doses of marijuana reduced pain significantly, producing marked declines in pain intensity that lasted over five hours. Researchers Barth Wilsey and colleagues wrote that side effects "were relatively inconsequential," and "psychoactive effects were minimal and well-tolerated." Although the scientists did express caution about the neurocognitive effects of the higher dose -- reflected in lower scores on some tests of memory and problem solving, the study was not designed to examine the potential for marijuana to allow reduced doses of narcotic painkillers that also cause cognitive impairment, a benefit widely reported by patients. For a copy of the complete study, contact MPP director of communications Bruce Mirken at 202-215-4205.


    "This is yet more proof that the American College of Physicians was right that U.S. government policy on medical marijuana is totally divorced from scientific reality," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "Congress needs to act to end the federal war on medical marijuana, but in the meantime states should act on their own to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest, as several states are considering right now."


    States where legislators are presently considering medical marijuana legislation include Illinois, New York and Minnesota. A medical marijuana initiative has qualified for Michigan's November ballot.


    With more than 23,000 members and 180,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.

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Location: 
Davis, CA
United States

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