Cannabis for Pain

By Joseph Gustaitis

Cannabis for Pain

The trouble with some pain medications is that although they work, they carry risks and side effects. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs (medicines such as Motrin and Celebrex), are a case in point. They alleviate pain, but recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised the warning level regarding the heightened risk of heart attack and stroke for both prescription and over-the-counter NSAIDs.

So it’s intriguing news that researchers in Israel are looking into developing an alternative method of pain relief involving cannabis—the plant from which marijuana is derived. Medical marijuana has been in the news recently, and studies have indicated that, in some cases, it might bring pain relief in addition to having other physical benefits. The scientists at Israeli company One World Cannabis are following up this research by investigating the use of cannabis generally as a substitute for NSAIDs and specifically as a pain reliever for fibromyalgia and migraines.

The research, however, doesn’t involve smoking marijuana or even ingesting edible substances containing it. The problem with smoking, eating or taking oil extracts of marijuana is that it’s difficult to control the dosage. One World Cannabis instead intends to use formulations made up of chemicals found in cannabis—cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, which have been shown to be what are known as neuroprotective antioxidants, or agents that help protect and preserve the structure of neurons in the body and help prevent inflammation. This way, the company says, it will be much easier to scientifically measure the dosage.

The first stage of the research, which is just getting underway, involves a clinical study on fibromyalgia. The second stage will examine the effects of the cannabis compounds on migraines. In the words of Dr. Yehuda Baruch, director of research and regulatory affairs for One World Cannabis, the goal is to find “an effective and safe alternative to acute and chronic treatment of pain.”



Last Reviewed 02/01/2016

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Dr. Jackson Rainer is a board-certified clinical psychologist who helps people living with chronic illnesses.

Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

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