Jun 2, 2016 9:15 AM

Using Marijuana for Nerve Pain Helps Diabetic Patients

Does marijuana help nerve pain?” is a common question among patients with diabetes. Though some studies have already shown the efficiency of cannabis for treating nerve pain, the effects of weed on patients with diabetes are not sufficiently studied. However, a new study has discovered that inhaling cannabis can relieve diabetic nerve pain for several hours.

Although the National Institutes of Health reports that nerve pain is a widespread syndrome among patients with diabetes, there are limited treatment options that can really help manage this type of pain. Moreover, most drugs available now have dose-limiting side effects.

Fortunately, scientists from the University of California at San Diego conducted a promising study that investigated the efficacy of inhaled marijuana on painful diabetic neuropathy. For this study, the researchers recruited 16 diabetes patients suffering from nerve damage in their feet.

The participants were randomly assigned to inhale one, two, or three doses of marijuana through vaporization, or to receive placebo. Vaporization was chosen because of its limited side effects, as it allows weed to release the active compounds without burning. Thus, cannabis users can feel the effects of the weed faster and avoid inhaling hazardous carbon monoxide produced by burning. The test was repeated in two weeks by crossing the patients over to a different dosage of marijuana.

The study results showed that the participants who got cannabis experienced euphoria and sedation, as well as a significant lessening of their pain. The analgetic effect of marijuana lasted for four hours, and the patients with the highest dose of cannabis reported least pain. In contrast, the participants from the control group experienced more intensive pain than all the other participants.

The researchers concluded that cannabis can relieve pain and inflammation by stimulating cannabinoid receptors available in the human nervous system and inflammatory cells. These findings are especially important because neuropathy affects about 60-70% of people with diabetes. The scientists also looked into the cognitive effects of medical cannabis and were pleased to discover that these effects were minimal.

The study results allowed the researchers to confirm that using medical marijuana for diabetes-related nerve pain leads to beneficial effects for patients. Though some cannabis physicians are still concerned about the “high” effect of marijuana, the scientists from the University of California put their hopes on cannabinoid, a cannabis compound that does not have any psychoactive effects.

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