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Study: Medical Cannabis Treatment Associated with Sustained Relief, Decreased Use of Analgesics in Chronic Pain Patients

Haifa, Israel: Patients diagnosed with chronic pain experience sustained relief from the use of medical cannabis, and many of them reduce or eliminate their use of analgesic drugs over time, according to longitudinal data published in the European Journal of Pain.

A team of Israeli investigators evaluated the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis treatment over a one-year period in patients with chronic pain. Most subjects in the study consumed cannabis via smoking.

Following treatment, subjects’ average pain intensity declined from baseline by 20 percent. Nearly half of the subjects who had been using analgesic medications at the start of trial were no longer using them by the study’s end.

Authors reported: “Forty-three percent of the patients who had been using analgesic medications prior to MC [medical cannabis] treatment initiation were no longer using them. This was true for all classes of analgesic drugs including over the counter analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anticonvulsants and antidepressants. As for opioid use, 24 percent and 20 percent of the participants who had been using weak or strong opioids, respectively, at baseline stopped using them by the time they reached the 12-month follow-up.’

They concluded, “This prospective study provides further evidence for the effects of medical cannabis on chronic pain and related symptoms, demonstrating an overall mild-to-modest long-term improvement of the tested measures and identifying possible predictors for treatment success.’

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis treatment for chronic pain: Outcomes and prediction of response,’ appears in the European Journal of Pain.

Clinical Trial: Sublingual Administration of CBD Is Effective in Patients with Diabetic Neuropathy

West Bloomfield, MI: The administration of a proprietary, water-soluble CBD tablet mitigates neuropathic foot pain compared to placebo, according to randomized clinical trial data published in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism.

Researchers affiliated with Pure Green Pharmaceuticals assessed the efficacy of sublingual CBD tablets (20mg) versus placebo in a cohort of subjects with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (pDPN) pain in their feet. Subjects were administered either the active drug or a placebo three times per day for 28 days.

Those taking the active drug reported significant reductions in pain compared to placebo and no adverse side-effects. Subjects taking CBD also reported improvements in their sleep quality and reduced levels of anxiety.

Authors concluded: “This 28-day trial revealed statistically and clinically significant improvement in pain and a clinically significant improvement in sleep quality and in anxiety reduction for those in the CBD treatment group. Additionally, subjects taking CBD affirmed these results by having a statistically significant greater response to treatment as compared with subjects taking placebo. The benefit of this study demonstrates that the sublingual 20 mg CBD tablet should be considered as a safe and effective treatment for pDPN.’

Numerous placebo-controlled clinical trials similarly document the ability of whole-plant cannabis to mitigate neuropathic pain in a wide range of patient populations, including in subjects with HIV and diabetes.

Full text of the study, “Cannabidiol for the treatment of painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy of the feet: A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial,’ appears in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism.

Marijuana Legalization Laws Don’t Undermine Tobacco Smoking Prevention Efforts

Columbus, OH: State-level changes to the legal status of cannabis have not limited the effectiveness of anti-tobacco smoking efforts targeting young adults, according to data published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

A team of investigators with Ohio State University and with Purdue University in Indiana assessed the impact of medical cannabis access laws and adult-use legalization laws on cigarette smoking patterns among young adults.

They reported, “Cannabis policy liberalization is not associated with individual-level patterns of cigarette use.’

Authors concluded: “[T]he liberalization of cannabis laws does not disrupt gains made through the implementation of tobacco control policies. Also, we see no evidence that liberalized cannabis policies are directly associated with increased smoking behaviors among young adults. Within a context of rapidly changing cannabis policies throughout the U.S. and several countries, these results provide positive news that newly implemented cannabis laws may not adversely affect tobacco control efforts that have reduced cigarette use among young people.’

The findings differ from those of an unpublished working paper by a pair of students at the University of Texas, Dallas which contends that cigarette sales have slightly increased in some adult-use legalization states.

Full text of the study, “Further consideration of the impact of tobacco control policies on young adult smoking in light of the liberalization of cannabis policies,’ appears in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Survey: Over 90 Percent of Chronic Pain Patients Report Mitigating Their Use of Opioids

Tel Aviv, Israel: The overwhelming majority of pain patients provided medical cannabis treatment report either reducing or ceasing their use of opioid medications, according to data published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases.

A team of Israeli investigators affiliated with Tel Aviv University assessed the relationship between cannabis and opioids in a cohort of patients with non-cancer specific chronic pain. All of the patients enrolled in the study were prescribed medical cannabis therapy in accordance with Israel’s medical cannabis access laws.

Among those patients who reported using opioids at baseline, 93 percent either “decreased or stopped [using] opioids following cannabis initiation’ – a finding that is consistent with dozens of other studies.

Full text of the study, “Risk and benefit of cannabis prescription for chronic non-cancer pain,’ appears in the Journal of Addictive Disorders.

Case Report: Cannabis Associated with Improvements in a Patient with Refractory Stuttering

Warsaw, Poland: The use of herbal cannabis is associated with marked improvements in a patient with treatment-resistant stuttering, according to a case report published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

A team of investigators affiliated with the Medical University of Warsaw (Poland) and with Hannover Medical School (Germany) presented the case of a 20-year-old male patient with refractory stuttering. Following the daily administration of vaporized plant cannabis, the patient exhibited sustained improvements in speech fluency and also reported benefits to his overall quality of life. The patient did not report any adverse side effects from cannabis over the one-year observational period.

Authors reported: “[T]his is the first case report of a patient suffering from impairing and treatment-resistant stuttering, who markedly improved after treatment with medicinal cannabis. Based on patient’s self-report and reports of family and friends, as well as several established assessments, use of cannabis resulted not only in an improvement of stuttering but also remission of (social) anxiety, and reduced depression and stress, as well as improved sleep, attention, concentration, self-confidence, social life, and overall quality of life without any side effect. Importantly, treatment effects did not decrease over time.’

They concluded, “Medicinal cannabis could be effective in treatment of refractory stuttering, but these preliminary data have to be confirmed in controlled studies.’

While this is the first case report specific to the efficacy of cannabis in the case of a patient with a stuttering disorder, several prior studies have documented the ability of THC to improve symptoms in patients with Tourette Syndrome.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis improves stuttering: Case report and interview with the patient,’ appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

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