When taking specific prescription cannabis products with higher THC to CBD proportions, people with chronic pain may have mild to moderate pain relief in the short term; nevertheless, there are some unsettling side effects, according to recent research.
The ingredient in the marijuana plant known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is what gives you the high. The second most common active ingredient in cannabis is cannabidiol, or CBD, but it does not cause intoxication. Both have been linked to reducing pain.
Yasmin Hurd, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences, neuroscience, and psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, stated, “The findings are in keeping with what we know.” She wasn’t a part of the investigation.
According to Hurd, the head of the Mount Sinai Addiction Institute, “there is some suggestion of weak-to-moderate pain alleviation depending on the THC/CBD ratio, but there is an increase in adverse effects such as dizziness and sleepiness.”
None of the over-the-counter THC or CBD extracts made from the entire marijuana plant, however, were found to have these advantages.
Jodi Gilman, an associate professor at the Center for Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study, said: “Unfortunately, the available evidence is largely inconclusive, due to the small number of studies and the variation in cannabinoid products among these studies.”
Gilman continued, “To understand the benefits and hazards of cannabis for chronic pain, large, placebo-controlled trials in hundreds of patients who are all receiving the same identical product at the same doses are needed.
Non-prescription extracts offer no advantages.
Nearly 15,000 persons were included in 25 clinical trials and observational studies that were examined. Researchers discovered a moderate improvement in pain alleviation with the prescription medications dronabinol, which is made of 100% synthetic THC, and nabilone, which is almost 100% THC, but a higher risk of sleepiness and dizziness.
According to a research released on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, nabiximols, an under-the-tongue spray with comparable quantities of THC and CBD, improved pain relief and function to a lesser extent but also carried a risk for drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea. The prescription medication nabiximols is unavailable in the US.
Even while these “are also common negative effects of other pain drugs,” Gilman added, some patients were unable to continue using the goods due to these side effects.
According to Gilman, patients who use marijuana for pain management should be “closely watched by their doctors to establish whether these drugs are useful” and assess whether any potential benefits outweigh any potential drawbacks.
“Even though there is not much pain alleviation, some who experience chronic pain could decide it is worth the risk. Since THC clearly has a lower safety profile than CBD, it’s critical to closely monitor products with high THC levels “added Hurd.
Before attempting cannabis, she advised people to think about conventional medications that have received clinical approval. Additionally, individuals must utilize cannabis products with extreme caution because many of them lack adequate quality control and may not even contain the THC or CBD levels that the package suggests they do.
Furthermore, Hurd cautioned, “smoking’recreational’ cannabis as medicine is not suitable.” Smoking marijuana can harm the lungs and raise the risk of respiratory illnesses, just like smoking cigarettes. According to her, frequent cannabis usage has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks.