Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New Clinical Tests Positive For Pain Medication

What do you know. We have a new drug avaiilable for kinds of pain that were previously difficult to treat.

Ever since California and other states began passing medical marijuana laws in 1996, the federal government has claimed that -- as a 2003 White House press release put it -- "research has not demonstrated that smoked marijuana is safe and effective medicine." A new study, just published in the journal Neurology, definitively refutes that claim and underlines the urgent need for the federal government to change its prohibitionist policies.

The study, conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California at San Francisco, found marijuana to be safe and effective at treating peripheral neuropathy, which causes great suffering to HIV/AIDS patients. This type of extreme pain, which is caused by damage to the nerves, can make patients feel like their feet and hands are on fire, or being stabbed with a knife. Similar pain is seen in a number of other illnesses, including multiple sclerosis and diabetes, and cannot be treated effectively with conventional pain medications. Standard pain medicines -- even addictive, dangerous narcotics -- have little effect on this type of pain.

Marijuana doesn't cure neuropathy, but in the UCSF study marijuana was clearly shown to give relief. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (the design that's considered the "gold standard" of medical research), a majority of patients had a greater than 30 percent reduction in pain after smoking marijuana. For many, that level of relief means having a bearable quality of life.
Well I guess the drug is not really new. It does confirm the anecdotal evidence we have from diabetes sufferers and people with multiple sclerosis.


Anonymous said...

The only problem I have with stuff like this is why does it have to be smoked?

There seems to be plenty of people saying the Marijuana is great stuff medically. Wonder drug and all that stuff. Fantastic. Usually, the next shot, if its on tv, will be of a whole bunch of old hippies sitting around in Greatful Dead shirts getting stoned. For the sake of argument, I can accept that marijuana, in whole or in part, has great medical value. What I can't accept and what no one seems to be discussing is why does it have to be smoked to be effective? The fact that I really haven't seen anything other than the hippies makes me suspicious.

I'd say I have about as much faith in the medical marijuna community telling me it's good for you as I have in the feds telling me it's bad for me. It's like that crap about how marijuna has never killed anyone. Fine, no one has overdosed on it, but lets do some research into how many people who only smoke pot die of lung cancer or motor vehicle accidents when driving stoned.


linearthinker said...

Nick said:
...a whole bunch of old hippies sitting around in Greatful (sic) Dead shirts getting stoned. like it was a bad thing.

I'd say Nick needs more faith...

And, though not an expert in these things, I suspect the THC is ingested to the blood stream faster and in greater concentration via the lungs than by pill or suppository.

All good things in moderation, I say. Regarding recreational use, for kids, no. For adults, hell yes. If you want to fly or drive a train or bus, or be a paramedic, nurse, or physician, then there are just some things ya can't it is with alcohol.

Anonymous said...

You might be right Line, I don't have a lot of faith when it comes to this general subject. Mostly becuase I find the propaganda aspect of it annoying. Not that is happening here, just in general. I do have issues, qualms maybe a better word, with marijuana, but those are because of my own life experiences. I do think thought that we have a terrible policy and terrible laws towards it though.

I don't have a whole lot of problems with some random dude who smokes a ton of pot (or a litte) getting up and saying "I smoke pot. I like it. we need to legalize it." It's a straight forward argument you know where he stand and what's going on. The problem I see with the medical marijuana people is that they will get the most wretched case, like some 90 year old blind lady who has chronic pain in her spine and her ears bleed and she'll say, "this makes me feel better" and right behind her will be some fat white guy with dreads and a bob marley tee shirt complaining about a stubbed toe and how he needs 6 joints to ease the pain. yes, I know this is a bit of an exageration.

I guess put another way, I have a feeling that if a doctor said, "I have this marijuana pill. Does everything smoking does, but does it better/faster/stronger, with less side effects." The med-mar people wouldn't want it.

Anonymous said...

oh, sorry, last comment was me.