Cannabis decreases neuropathy

Dr. Abrams (and others), who has a history of working on treatments to improve the quality of live for HIV patients, has co-authored a small but statistically significant trial on the effects of smoked cannabis on the neuropathy associated with HIV. The nerve pain in question is characterized by hypersensitivity to even the smallest stimuli, like the brushing of clothing on the skin, and has some similarities to the intense burning and pain associated with shingles, the herpes zoster infection.
Here is a quick summary of some of this placebo-controlled study's findings:
  • Over the course of the study, smoked cannabis reduced daily pain by 34%, versus 17% with placebo.
  • 52% of the cannabis group reported at least a 30% reduction in pain, compared with 24% in the placebo group.
  • The first cannabis cigarette reduced chronic pain by 72%.
  • No serious adverse events were reported.
And, bottom line: "Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy. The findings are comparable to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain". This is a significant result: not only is chronic neuropathy very difficult to deal with, both as a patient and as a clinician, but conventional drugs like neurontin (not to mention the narcotics) leave a lot to be desired.
This trial provides yet another safe and effective clinical use for this much-maligned botanical medicine.

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