Clinical Trial Paves Way for Accurate Customized Pain Management Using Cannabis

August 27, 2020

A team of researchers from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Rambam Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, and the Sheba Medical Center has published promising results from research on the impact of small, metered cannabis doses delivered via inhaler on chronic pain. Their findings were published in the European Journal of Pain. The study was led by the dean of the Professor Elon Eisenberg, dean of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion, and Dr. Shlomo Almog of Sheba Medical Center and Tel Aviv University.

Cannabis is an effective means of treating chronic pain, but determining an optimal dosage is a difficult task, preventing the standardization of these treatments and discouraging many doctors from issuing cannabis prescriptions. One way to allow accurate dose allocation is to use a small, portable vaporizer, commonly known as an inhaler. The current study was conducted using an inhaler manufactured by the Israeli company, Syqe Medical.

The clinical study involved 27 individuals who received treatment, which entailed small cannabis doses (0.5 mg or 1 mg). The researchers examined several aspects of treatment with respect to the placebo: pharmacokinetics (the actual quantity of the drug that reaches the desired site of action); analgesic effect (ability to relieve pain); cognitive performance; and safety of aspirating 0.5 mg or 1 mg cannabis doses.

Both doses of cannabis, but not the placebo, alleviated chronic pain for a prolonged period of about two and a half hours. Side effects were mostly mild and resolved themselves and there was no evidence of impairments in cognitive performance or significant health risks. According to Prof. Eisenberg, who heads the Rambam Medical College Pain Research Unit, “To our knowledge, this is the first time that pain relief has been achieved through such a small, selective, and accurate dose of THC, the active substance in cannabis. We believe the present study will pave the way for accurate customized pain management using cannabis.”

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