Pot found to ease HIV-associated pain
Feb 16,2007 00:00 by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources

Smok­ing ma­ri­jua­na re­duced in­tense foot pain as­so­ci­at­ed with HIV in­fec­tion by 34 per­cent in a ran­dom­ized tri­al, re­search­ers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of California-San Fran­cis­co re­port.

The smok­ers’ pain re­duc­tion was found to be twice as much as that of a com­par­i­son group, who smoked ma­ri­jua­na with the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent re­moved.

The clin­i­cal tri­al was the first in many years in the Unit­ed States, and helps fill in a ma­jor gap in know­l­edge re­sult­ing from the pau­ci­ty of such re­search, said the uni­ver­si­ty’s Igor Grant. 

“There has been in­suf­fi­cient light shed on the pos­si­ble ther­a­peu­tic val­ue of can­na­bis,” or ma­ri­jua­na, said Grant, a psy­chi­a­trist who di­rects the uni­ver­si­ty’s Cen­ter for Me­dic­i­nal Can­na­bis Re­search. 

The study was the first com­plet­ed of sev­er­al clin­i­cal tri­als of can­na­bis be­ing con­ducted un­der the cen­ter’s aus­pic­es, and the lat­est vol­ley in a dec­ades-long de­bate over ma­ri­jua­na’s mer­its or dan­gers. 

One re­cent paper pro­posed that the drug can be ei­ther
healthy or bad, de­pend­ing on the dose. 

The foot stu­dy, pub­lished in the Feb­ru­ary 13 is­sue of the re­search jour­nal Neu­rol­o­gy, looked at 50 peo­ple with HIV-as­so­ci­at­ed sen­so­ry neu­rop­a­thy, a pain­ful and of­ten de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tion. Oc­cur­ring usu­al­ly in the feet and char­ac­ter­ized at times by tingling, numb­ness, pins-and-nee­dles sen­sa­tions, burn­ing, and sharp in­tense pain, se­vere cases can make walk­ing or stand­ing dif­fi­cult.

“There is a meas­ur­a­ble med­i­cal ben­e­fit to smok­ing can­na­bis for these pa­tients,” said Don­ald I. Abrams, the lead au­thor. Pa­tients smoked the study cigarettes three times a day for five days un­der su­per­vi­sion. The ma­ri­jua­na re­sponse “was com­pa­ra­ble to strong pain re­liev­ers we have stud­ied, such as mor­phine,” said co-au­thor Kar­in L. Pe­tersen.