New Delhi (NVI): Cannabis does not reduce pain but makes it more bearable, according to a study.
The findings were reported by researchers from Oxford University’s Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) in the journal Pain.
The authors added that people in pain act differently to cannabis, according to their brain imaging study.
In the research it was found that an element called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in cannabis reduces the activation of the parts of the brain responsible for feeling pain. This increases the ability of patients to fight and tolerate it.
When volunteers took oral tablets of THC, they tended to find the experience of pain more tolerable. There was no evidence that THC reduced pain intensity.
Using the ‘brain imaging’ technique, researchers found that cannabis contains some elements that reduce the activation of a particular part of the brain. Researchers say that this is the part of the brain that is related to the emotional aspect of pain.
Lead researcher, Dr Michael Lee, said, “We know little about cannabis and what aspects of pain it affects, or which people might see benefits over the side-effects or potential harms in the long term. We carried out this study to try and get at what is happening when someone experiences pain relief using cannabis.”
“Our small-scale study, in a controlled setting, involved 12 healthy men and only one of many compounds that can be derived from cannabis. That’s quite different from doing a study with patients. My view is the findings are of interest scientifically but it remains to see how they impact the debate about use of cannabis-based medicines. Understanding cannabis’ effects on clinical outcomes, or the quality of life of those suffering chronic pain, would need research in patients over long time periods.”
For a number of patients who have not responded adequately to drugs, cannabis or cannabis-based medications are an effective way of controlling their pain. Many, however, report no benefits from cannabis and some undesirable side effects.
In the medical language, cannabis, called Sativa, is used a lot in Ayurvedic treatment. Cannabis is used differently in Ayurveda depending on the symptoms and causes of the disease.
It is used in the treatment of pain, nausea and vomiting. It is also used in the treatment of loss of weight due to diabetes and nervous system diseases. If taken in the right amount, it can help treat fever and dysentery, prompt digestion and increase appetite.
Cannabis can also be used to treat arthritis, depression and anxiety, while it is also beneficial in the treatment of skin diseases. Many people complain of dry and rough skin and it has been found that by applying a paste of fresh hemp leaves, the skin heals.