In 2015, researchers at the University of Michigan published the first systematic comparison among medical cannabis users who use and do not use prescription pain medications (PPMs). PPM users and nonusers did not exhibit any difference in either lifetime or past-3-month use of other drugs, including cocaine, sedatives, street opioids, and amphetamines. PPM users rated the efficacy of cannabis higher than PPM for pain management and indicated a strong desire to reduce PPM usage. Longitudinal study designs are needed to better understand the trajectories of alcohol and other drug involvement over time among medical cannabis users. Read More
Management of chronic pain is one of the most common reasons given by individuals seeking medical cannabis. However, very little information exists about the concurrent use of cannabis and prescription pain medication (PPM). This study fills this gap in knowledge by systematically comparing medical cannabis users who use or do not use PPM, with an emphasis on Read More
Ethan Russo, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher. He has held faculty appointments in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Montana, in Medicine at the University of Washington, and as visiting professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is currently Past-President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, and is former Chairman of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines.
The Missoula Chronic Clinical Cannabis Use Study was published in 2002. This project, with Ethan Russo as lead author, provided the first opportunity to scrutinize the long-term effects of cannabis on patients who had used a known dosage of a standardized, heat-sterilized quality-controlled supply of low-grade marijuana for 11 to 27 years. Read More
From an 1843 issue of the Provincial Medical Journal in London, comes this reprint of Dr. William O’Shaughnessy’s report on preparation of hemp in the treatment of pain. “As to the evil sequels so unanimously dwelt on by all writers, these did not appear to me so numerous, so immediate, or so formidable, as many which may be clearly traced to over-indulgence in other powerful stimulants or narcotics-viz, alcohol, opium, or tobacco.”.
As reported in the August, 2014 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, this research shares an examination of the association between medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality. Each year after implementation of the law showed that such laws were associated with a lower rate of overdose mortality that generally strengthened over time. Read More
In 2005, as published in the journal Neuropharmacology, researchers in Germany found pain relief in a synthetic cannabinoid called ajulemic acid. Synthetic modification of the THC metabolite THC-11-oic acid through replacement of the n-pentyl side chain with a dimethylheptyl group leads to the compound 1,1-dimethylheptyl-D8-THC-11-oic acid, named ajulemic acid (AJA) In preclinical studies AJA showed high analgesic potency comparable to morphine, as well as anti-allodynic and anti-inflammatory effects. AJA appears to have no detectable THC like psychoactive properties. Read More
Chronic neuropathic pain? From the Canadian Medical Association comes a journal article published in 2010. They found that a single inhalation of 25 mg of 9.4% tetrahydrocannabinol herbal cannabis three times daily for five days reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep and was well tolerated. Read More
Neuropathic pain affects between 5% and 10% of the US population and can be refractory to treatment. Opioids may be recommended as a second-line pharmacotherapy but have risks including overdose and death. Cannabis has been shown to be effective for treating nerve pain without the risk of fatal poisoning. The author suggests that physicians who treat neuropathic pain with opioids should evaluate their patients for a trial of cannabis and prescribe it when appropriate prior to using opioids. This harm reduction strategy may reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with prescription pain medications. Read More