Updated: Dec 13, 2018
What is Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain is a complex, chronic pain state that usually is accompanied by tissue injury. With neuropathic pain, the nerve fibers themselves may be damaged, dysfunctional, or injured. These damaged nerve fibers send incorrect signals to other pain centers.
Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial published in The Journal of Pain in July 2015 provide supportive evidence that inhaled, aerosolized cannabis may be effective for reducing pain experienced by patients with diabetes experiencing neuropathic pain. In separate testing sessions, 16 human participants were administered a placebo (i.e. inactive agent) and 3 different THC doses (low/1%, medium/4%, high/7%).
“This adds preliminary evidence to support further research on the efficacy of the cannabinoids in neuropathic pain.”
At each increasing dose, there was a more significant reduction in spontaneous pain (i.e. the response was “dose-dependent”). Further more, at the highest dose, there was a reduction in the level of induced pain, and decreased performance on 2/3 psychological tests. Although this was a small study and the highest dose of THC caused an acute decrease in performance on cognitive tests, the results are both reaffirming and impressive given that:
this was a high-quality study design
diabetes currently affects approximately 387 million people worldwide (and that number is expected to increase by an additional 205 million people worldwide by 2035)
neuropathic pain can be debilitating and can severely impact quality of life, and
there are currently a limited number of safe and effective treatment options for people experiencing neuropathic pain caused by diabetes
According to the researchers, “This adds preliminary evidence to support further research on the efficacy of the cannabinoids in neuropathic pain.”