Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Marijuana, Codeine May Be Equal as Analgesics

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Marijuana, Codeine May Be Equal as Analgesics

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Marijuana is an effective analgesic that probably can be equated with codeine in its potency, Dr. David Boyd said at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society.

Cannabinoids are difficult to study in a placebo-controlled clinical trial because patients can tell when they get active drug, but Dr. Boyd said that his review of the literature identified 25 human studies of its use as an analgesic, of which 19 reported positive findings. Of those studies, 12 were randomized clinical trials, of which 8 reported positive findings.

The evidence suggests that marijuana and its cannabinoid derivatives "are going to be a useful adjunct in some patients," said Dr. Boyd of the University of Western Ontario, London.

The indications in these studies for which marijuana or a cannabinoid derivative was used included postoperative, cancer, and neuropathic pain. Most of the trials were small, with an average of 10-20 patients; the largest trial had 40 patients.

In terms of analgesic effect, cannabinoids and codeine "may be roughly equivalent," based on the positive studies.

The evidence suggests that cannabinoids have a synergistic effect when used with opioids and capsaicins. …

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