Clinical Trials Support the Use of Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain occurs in over 20 percent of the
. It differs
from what medical professionals refer to as acute pain, which is a
normal nervous system sensation designed to alert an individual of an
injury or ailment. Chronic pain is persistent and untraceable to any one
injury or illness. The pain signals fire repeatedly over months, years,
or even a lifetime. Finding effective ways to help chronic pain
sufferers can change lives.

Conditions Associated with Chronic Pain

[survey]( common)
conducted by the National Institute of Health Statistics found that
chronic pain usually falls into one of four categories:

  • Lower back pain
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Facial ache

Back pain is responsible for more disability cases in the U.S. then any
other medical problem.

Current Pain Management

Pain management techniques vary, but are largely inadequate. The common
treatment protocols that include over-the-counter NSAIDS, like
ibuprofen, or prescription narcotics, such as Percocet, are rife with
side effects. Everything from stroke to heart attack to drug dependence
can be caused by current pain control options.

Review of Randomized Control Trials for Medical Marijuana

A 2011 study
published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology evaluated 22
randomized controlled trials that focused on the use of cannabinoids to
treat non-cancer pain. The systematic review highlighted the use of
smoked cannabis, oromucosal cannabis extacts, nabilone and dronabinol
(synthetic THC medications), and a novel THC analogue in the treatment
of conditions associated with long-term pain. The review looked at 766

Reviewers identified 18 out of the 22 trials showed cannabis offered an
analgesic effect for pain suffers.

  • 15 for neuropathic pain
  • 1 for fibromyalgia
  • 1 for rheumatoid arthritis
  • 1 associated with opioid use
  • 2 for mixed chronic pain such as muscular conditions or migraines

The researchers also noted that there were no serious side effects
reported with the use of medical marijuana in these trials. A few
participants reported a feeling of sedation, dizziness, and dry mouth.
That is far fewer side effects than what patients experience with more
mainstream management options for chronic pain. With one in every five
people in the world suffering from some kind of chronic pain, this
study’s findings an almost 80% positive outcome are not to be ignored.

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