Inhaled cannabis reduces pain in diabetic peripheral neuropathy patients, study suggests

Tue, 28 Apr 2015
A small study finds that inhaling cannabis could demonstrate a dose-dependent pain reduction in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Researchers at the University of California, United States conducted a study in which 16 patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy were given placebo, or single doses of cannabis.

These doses were either low (one per cent tetrahydrocannibinol, THC), medium (four per cent THC) or high (seven per cent THC).

Tests were first performed on baseline spontaneous pain, evoked pain and cognitive function. Subsequently, participants either inhaled the cannabis or placebo, with measurements of pain intensity and cognitive function assessed over a three-hour period.

The higher the content of THC participants inhaled, the less pain they felt. The high dose of THC had a significant effect when researchers evoked pain using foam brush and von Frey.

These are tools used to test neuropathic pain in patients - von Frey are a set of filaments that test the pain of a patients by pushing against the skin to assess when the sensation becomes painful.

Patients on the high dose of THC showed impaired performance on the neuropsychological tests, but researchers concluded the pain reduction of patients adds further evidence on the efficacy of cannabis in treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

The results of this study were published in the Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacology.

Earlier this month, the CBD compound in cannabis was reported by researchers as a potential treatment for diabetes.
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