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Cannabis Can Help Manage Neuropathic Pain, Irish Study Suggests


A new study undertaken by Ireland's Health Research Board (HRB) showed evidence that medical marijuana can be used as a treatment for various conditions. The research was conducted to provide data to a Department of Health, which reviews the existing Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme (MCap) that enables cannabis-based prescriptions for a small number of health conditions, writes Irish Examiner.

The HRB study reviewed 30 years of evidence on the clinical efficacy and safety of medical marijuana in adults with cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS) rheumatic diseases and more.


The comprehensive review proved successful in finding evidence that medical cannabis can be useful in treating nausea and vomiting in patients with cancer, MS-related spasticity and to alleviate symptoms of neuropathic pain, related to MS, diabetes or spinal cord injury.

The research focused on the efficacy of cannabis-based products included under the MCap, such as CBD oil drops, oral solutions and marijuana flower. It examined the evidence related to prescribed medical marijuana with either natural or synthetic CBD or THC of their derivatives.





Mixed Results 

"For most other conditions, including anxiety and pain in conditions such as cancer, rheumatic diseases and fibromyalgia, there is no conclusive evidence to confirm the efficacy of prescribed medicinal cannabis," researchers noted.

 

The agency made it clear that there is a general lack of quality in primary studies and reviews making it difficult to draw "well-founded conclusions about the relative benefits (or lack thereof) of medicinal cannabis" for any condition.

 

While this is one of many studies that confirm the medical potential of the plant as a treatment for various conditions, the research also found no evidence of cannabis being helpful for anxiety and pain related to cancer for example.

 

The researchers also confirmed that no serious adverse effects related to medical marijuana use appear to be common, while some side effects like dizziness, headache or dry mouth happen occasionally.

 

While the authors confirm it is hard to draw "well-founded" conclusions about either the benefits or lack thereof of medical marijuana it is worth mentioning that many studies over the recent years confirm the plant's huge potential in treating various conditions. For example, a recent huge study revealed cannabis provides similar pain relief benefits as opioids without negative consequences.

 

Some industry experts believe that the most important benefits provided by marijuana is pain relief and as a sleep aid for cancer survivors.

 

HRB research officer Dr. Kathryn Lambe concluded that additional high-quality research is needed in this area. The medical marijuana industry lacks valid research due to the decades-long stigma and prohibition, which is bound to change based on recent developments such as confirmation in the U.S. that marijuana indeed has medical value.



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