Cannabis: Pill better than smoking for pain relief

April 22, 2013

Marijuana provides greater pain relief when taken in pill form than when it is smoked, according to a study published on Monday that touches on a controversial medical issue.

Cancer and multiple-sclerosis doctors are looking more and more closely at cannabis for patients seeking relief from pain, and some jurisdictions allow the medical use of the drug for this purpose.

But also carries health risks, for it carries carcinogens and respiratory irritants and users tend to inhale deeply and hold their breath to gain maximum effect.

in the United States have now carried out what they say is the first scientific study to compare pain relief between smoked marijuana and pills with , or THC, which is the active ingredient in the drug.

A team led by Ziva Cooper and Margaret Haney of Columbia University in New York asked 15 male and 15 female volunteers, all of them daily cannabis smokers, to carry out a pain test after having smoked marijuana, taken a pill or a dummy look-a-like called a placebo.

The experiment entailed a "cold pressor test," in which the participants immersed a hand into a bath of extremely cold water for up to two minutes, during which they reported on the sensation of pain.

Both smoked marijuana and the THC decreased and boosted tolerance to pain compared to the placebo.

But the pill beat marijuana for long-lasting decreases in pain.

The findings are promising for medical uses of the THC pill, but more work is needed to determine its impact on individuals who do not smoke marijuana, say the investigators.

The study appears in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Explore further: 1 in 10 fibromyalgia patients uses marijuana to ease pain

Related Stories

Montel Williams: Israel leads in medical marijuana

October 31, 2011

(AP) -- Emmy Award-winning television personality and patient activist Montel Williams said Sunday he was impressed with Israel's liberal attitude toward medical marijuana, and he believes the U.S. could learn a thing or ...

Recommended for you

How much video gaming is too much for kids?

September 27, 2016

(HealthDay)—Playing video games might improve a child's motor skills, reaction time and even academic performance, but new research shows that too much gaming can be linked to social and behavioral problems.

How we handle objects depends on who owns them

September 27, 2016

From scissors and staplers to car keys and cell phones, we pass objects to other people every day. We often try to pass the objects so that the handle or other useful feature is facing the appropriate direction for the person ...

Dogs ignore bad advice that humans follow

September 27, 2016

Dogs are less likely to follow bad advice than children, according to a new study conducted at the Canine Cognition Center at Yale. In contrast to children, dogs only copy a human's actions if they are absolutely necessary ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JRi
not rated yet Apr 22, 2013
How about eating brownies, seasoned with marihuana? Would that do?
manifespo
1 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2013
How about vaporizing healing herbiage? Fkcombustion!! Gotvape

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.