Study Finds Inhaled Cannabis Helps with Diabetic Neuropathy
July 21st, 2015
Policy, Top News
Inhaled cannabis helps reduce diabetic neuropathy and the analgesic effect is dose-dependent, according to a new study appearing in The Journal of Pain.
University of California San Diego researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind study that evaluated 16 patients to assess the efficacy and tolerability of inhaled cannabis for treating pain caused by diabetic neuropathy. After four outpatient treatment sessions spaced two weeks apart, researchers found a dose-dependent reduction in pain intensity from inhaled cannabis, which is consistent with results of other trials of the drug for diverse neuropathic pain.
“We hypothesized that inhaled cannabis would result in a dose-dependent reduction in spontaneous and evoked pain with a concomitant effect on cognitive function,” said lead author Mark S. Wallace, M.D., professor of anesthesiology, University of California San Diego School of Medicine. “These findings along with previous studies suggest that cannabis might have analgesic benefit in neuropathic pain syndromes, including treatment-refractory DPN.”
The authors noted that all subjects experienced either euphoria or somnolence, which might limit the acceptability of cannabis as an analgesic. However, the inhaled cannabis had only a modest impact on cognition (attention and memory) and no dramatic declines or impairments, which suggests a fairly good safety profile.
Diabetic neuropathy occurs in half of diabetes patients and 15 percent have pain, especially in the feet. Many patients do not achieve satisfactory relief from two FDA-approved treatments. Animal research in models of neuropathic pain suggest that cannabinoids may be effective in reducing pain, but no studies have focused specifically on painful DPN.
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