Chronic Pain


A 1999 study commissioned by the White House and conducted by the Institute of Medicine recognizes the role that
cannabis can play in treating chronic pain.
"After nausea and vomiting, chronic pain was the condition cited most often to the IOM study team as a medicinal use for marijuana."

The study found that "basic biology indicates a role for cannabinoids [a group of compounds found in cannabis] in pain and control of movement, which is consistent with a possible therapeutic role in these areas. The evidence is relatively strong for the treatment of pain and intriguingly, although less well established, for movement disorder."
According to the Report, a number of brain areas that have an established role in sensing and processing pain respond
to the analgesic effect of cannabis, such that cannabinoids have been used successfully to treat cancer pain, which is often
resistant to treatment with opiates.

The Report further notes that cannabinoids serve as an anti-inflammatory agent, and so have therapeutic potential in
preventing and reducing pain caused by the swelling of body tissues.

In addition to cannabis's analgesic properties, the Report indicates that cannabis, like its synthetic cousin Marinol,
can help treat the nausea often induced by opiate therapy, especially when other antiemetics prove ineffective.
In short, the IOM Report recognizes the potential benefits of cannabis for certain patients, including:

* Chemotherapy patients, especially those being treated for mucositis, nausea, and anorexia.
* Postoperative pain patients (using cannabinoids as an opioid adjunct to reduce the nausea and vomiting).
* Patients with spinal cord injury, peripheral neuropathic pain, or central post-stroke pain.
* Patients with chronic pain and insomnia.
* AIDS patients with cachexia, AIDS neuropathy, or any significant pain problem.