The researchers found that an oral tablet of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tended to make the experience of pain more bearable, rather than actually reduce the intensity of the pain.
MRI brain imaging showed reduced activity in key areas of the brain that substantiated the pain relief the study participants experienced.
‘We have revealed new information about the neural basis of cannabis-induced pain relief,’ says Dr Michael Lee of Oxford University’s Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB).
He adds: ‘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.’
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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education