Marijuana pill more effective pain treatment?
Marijuana may be more effective taken as a pill than smoked, at least when it comes to pain relief. That’s the conclusion of research done at Columbia University and published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
For the study, 30 people who were already marijuana smokers were asked to either smoke marijuana, take an oral version of marijuana – a drug called Dronabinol – or take a placebo. Then, each subject was asked to take a ‘cold pressor test’. In the test, the subjects immerse their hand into a bath of very cold water for up to two minutes. Researchers noted how long it took each subject to report feeling pain and then to remove his or her hand from the water.
The patients who either smoked marijuana or took Dronabinol reported lower subjective ratings of pain, reduced pain sensitivity and increased pain tolerance over those who were on a placebo. However, the subjects on Dronabinol had reduced sensitivity to pain for a longer amount of time than those who smoked marijuana. Those who took Dronabinol were also less susceptible to “abuse associated outcomes,” according to the researchers.
More research is needed to test the effects of Dronabinol for pain relief on people who did not previously use marijuana. Dronabinol is already approved for use by chemotherapy and AIDS patients to reduce nausea and vomiting.