Further Evidence for Cannabis as Treatment of Neuropathic Pain

Selective modulation of the cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor as an emerging platform for the treatment of neuropathic pain

In Summary

A recent review has compiled further evidence for cannabis-based medicine as a treatment option for neuropathic pain. Studies suggest 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 30 suffer from neuropathic pain, frequently due to stroke, diabetes, or nerve trauma, and that pain greatly reduces their quality of life and productivity. The currently accepted treatment for neuropathic pain is various combinations of tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants, however, the treatments are often ineffective, leaving patients in constant suffering. Cannabis has been shown to alleviate this pain in multiple studies but has had little impact on the community suffering from neuropathic pain due to select states legalizing its use and the lack of federally funded data. 

This study highlights the possible implications of cannabis-use within the opioid-crisis. When antidepressants and anticonvulsants prove ineffective many patients use opioids as the second line of defense against pain, leading to addiction and abuse. Numerous studies have revealed the interaction between the endocannabinoid and opioid systems, highlighting cannabis as a possible remedy for the widespread opioid abuse, yet the legal status of cannabis limits naturalistic studies that would provide definite answers.

The study is available for review or download here

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Benjamin Caplan, MDFurther Evidence for Cannabis as Treatment of Neuropathic Pain