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Does Cannabis Help Relieve Pain? Study Finds

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Does Cannabis Help Relieve Pain Study Finds

(CTN News) – You’re not alone if you’ve tried one of the many medicinal Cannabis preparations from a Weed Online Dispensary to relieve chronic pain.

Of the many millions of Americans who use products containing cannabinoids, the primary active ingredient in Cannabis, treating pain is by far the most often cited benefit.

According to a recent analysis in JAMA Network Open, there is strong evidence that a cannabis placebo — a material made to look like, smell like, taste like, and feel like the genuine thing — offers remarkably comparable pain relief as a cannabis-based treatment. Yet why?

 

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What did this research look at?

This meta-analysis of 20 randomized controlled trials looked at the impact of favourable media coverage on patients’ hopes for cannabis-based pain treatment.

A total of 1,459 participants participated in the research, most of whom suffered neuropathic pain or pain from multiple sclerosis.

The two primary marijuana cannabinoids, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), as well as the prescription medications nabilone (Cesamet), dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros), and nabiximols were utilized as active therapies in these trials (Sativex).

The medications—along with the placebos—were administered as pills, sprays, oils, smokes, or vapours.

Researchers discovered that both groups of patients—those receiving active therapy and those receiving a placebo—reported experiencing almost the same pain reduction.

According to Ted J. Kaptchuk, head of the Program in Placebo Studies and The Therapeutic Encounter at the Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the results of this well-conducted research are not shocking.

Except for opioids, he claims that most painkillers are marginally more effective than a placebo.

In reality, placebos provide about the same pain alleviation as real pharmaceuticals in scientific studies of widely used painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen.

However, this does not negate the physiological effects of the active drugs. Instead, a placebo’s results equal or resemble the real thing. According to Kaptchuk, they use various neurological pathways to function.

How does a placebo affect the brain?

According to Kaptchuk, “we have known since the late 1970s that when you give someone a placebo, distinct neurotransmitters are produced in the brain, and particular areas of the brain are stimulated.”

Endocannabinoids, which resemble cannabis’ active ingredients structurally, are among these neurotransmitters. But it’s still unclear exactly what causes the production of these compounds.

The conventional explanation for the placebo effect is expectation: you think the therapy you’re receiving will make you feel better, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, as Kaptchuk and colleagues noted in a 2020 review in TheBMJ about placebos in chronic pain.

Has media attention increased the demand for medicinal cannabis?

The authors of the current meta-analysis claim that a large amount of favourable media coverage led to anticipation and may help to explain their findings.

They discovered that cannabis studies attracted greater media attention than other published research, independent of the size of the placebo response or the therapeutic value of cannabis, in a separate review of 136 news articles in conventional media and blogs.

While media hype may be at work in this case, it’s important to remember that unhyped medications like ibuprofen can have strong placebo effects, according to Kaptchuk.

When patients get care and attention from a medical expert during therapy, which prompts conscious and unconscious thoughts that they will feel better, the placebo response may also occur.

More ritualistic therapies, like getting an injection or smoking, are also likely to heighten the placebo effect more than taking a pill.

How does this affect you?

What should you make of these results if you use or are considering a cannabis-based painkiller? According to Kaptchuk, “a doctor would claim cannabis products don’t work – they’re no better than a placebo.”

This is according to the rigorous dogma of contemporary medicine.

But the problem is that a clinical study is not a true representation of life. Treatment for chronic pain is notoriously challenging.

Additionally, the chance of side effects and other undesirable outcomes, such as dependence and addiction, increases with a drug’s ability to cure pain effectively.

He adds, “I would say go ahead and take it if anything helps reduce your discomfort and doesn’t create any severe damage.” But first, see your physician and pay attention to our medical marijuana recommendations.

Related CTN News:

Cannabis Sales in U.S. have Declined Since the Pandemic Surge

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