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Marijuana Isn’T A Pain Killer—It’S A Pain Distracter

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Marijuana Isn’t a Pain Killer—It’s a Pain Distracter

 

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2012/12/marijuana-isnt-a-pain-killer-its-a-pain-distracter/

 

 

A new study indicates that marijuana isn’t a painkiller, but a pain distracter: Under the influence of THC, the same levels of pain are simply less bothersome.

 

One of the chief arguments for the legalization of medicinal marijuana is its usefulness as a pain reliever. For many cancer and AIDS patients across the 19 states where medicinal use of the drug has been legalized, it has proven to be a valuable tool in managing chronic pain—in some cases working for patients for which conventional painkillers are ineffective.

 

To determine exactly how cannabis relieves pain, a group of Oxford researchers used healthy volunteers, an MRI machine and doses of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Their findings, published today in the journal Pain, suggest something counterintuitive: that the drug doesn’t so much reduce pain as make the same level of pain more bearable.

 

“Cannabis does not seem to act like a conventional pain medicine,” Michael Lee, an Oxford neuroscientist and lead author of the paper, said in a statement. “Brain imaging shows little reduction in the brain regions that code for the sensation of pain, which is what we tend to see with drugs like opiates. Instead, cannabis appears to mainly affect the emotional reaction to pain in a highly variable way.”

 

As part of the study, Lee and colleagues recruited 12 healthy volunteers who said they’d never used marijuana before and gave each one either a THC tablet or a placebo. Then, to trigger a consistent level of pain, they rubbed a cream on the volunteers’ legs that included 1% capsaicin, the compound found that makes chili peppers spicy; in this case, it caused a burning sensation on the skin.

 

When the researchers asked each person to report both the intensity and the unpleasantness of the pain—in other words, how much it physically burned and how much this level of burning bothered them—they came to the surprising finding. “We found that with THC, on average people didn’t report any change in the burn, but the pain bothered them less,” Lee said.

 

This indicates that marijuana doesn’t function as a pain killer as much as a pain distracter: Objectively, levels of pain remain the same for someone under the influence of THC, but it simply bothers the person less. It’s difficult to draw especially broad conclusions from a study with a sample size of just 12 participants, but the results were still surprising.

 

Each of the participants was also put in an MRI machine—so the researchers could try to pinpoint which areas of the brain seemed to be involved in THC’s pain relieving processes—and the results backed up the theory. Changes in brain activity due to THC involved areas such as the anterior mid-cingulate cortex, believed to be involved in the emotional aspects of pain, rather than other areas implicated in the direct physical perception of it.

 

Additionally, the researchers found that THC’s effectiveness in reducing the unpleasantness of pain varied greatly between individuals—another characteristic that sets it apart from typical painkillers. For some participants, it made the capsaicin cream much less bothersome, while for others, it had little effect.

 

The MRI scans supported this observation, too: Those more affected by the THC demonstrated more brain activity connecting their right amydala and a part of the cortex known as the primary sensorimotor area. The researchers say that this finding could perhaps be used as a diagnostic tool, indicating for which patients THC could be most effective as a pain treatment medicine.

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I have long said, it doesnt eliminate the pain, thus allowing for continued and/or more severe damage, but that it "Turns the Volume Down" so I can function near normally, and yet still maintain the limitations of my injuries. I am less focused on the pain I do have, as I dont notice it as much, but its there reminding me not to hurt myself more.

 

All that and not one side effect.

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To me, Medical Marijuana is like taking a half of the smallest Norco, and half of the smallest Flexeril, mixed with a little memory loss. Compared to taking pills around the clock, medicating when I need to, is a far better option..... for me. Snyder and Schuette have no clue as to the condition of this body my "spirit" currently occupies. It's damaged, and I need to do what I need to do. Surgery helped, but was not a "cure all". For me, at this point in time, MMJ is my best option, today. I don't see how trying to avoid, or at least delay, opiate addiction is a bad thing.

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Narcotics also change the perception of pain (that is how they work).

 

But the question here is 'OK, and the point is what?'. A measurement of pain I use in my practice is the need for narcotic pain medication. If you are using 6 vicodin a day, and then you start cannabis and only need 2, that is a CLEAR measure of efficacy in my book. And a major 'selling point' for cannabis to physicians.

 

Dr. Bob

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Last time I checked pain was a subjective experience. I personally used cannabis as my only method of pain relief after an appendectomy and it performed exceptionally. I also believe that it affects different nerves than what this test studied. When applied topically I have had great success treating burns, road rash, and poison ivy. Consuming this medicine seems to help with pain that is more internalized while applying it topically helps with surface pain/discomfort. I would like to know how those test subjects would have responded to a properly prepared topical form of cannabis extract.

 

Former combat medic and nationally registered EMT. I know a little about pain management, certainly not everything though. Its good to see people attempting to do research on this, regardless of what their motives for the study may be.

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And WTF is this crap about pain being in the mind? Pain is my world. Physicians have told me that because it does not square with objective medical findings it has everything to do with my fukkedupness. Bullschit. The arrogance that physicians exhibit in their insistence that they are not wrong just makes me laugh weakly any more. My wife and I have seen how inaccurate medical testing and clinical observation can be. A softball sized abscess was dx'd the size of a navy bean until surgeons got into a lung, and they took a third of the organ with it, leaving infection throughout the chest cavity. Afterward they offered no explanation in answer to my questions how it was that they could have missed it by such a wide margin. This was a near fatal incident. Imaging is a long way from accurate. For years I was told that there was no reason for my reports of shoulder pain, until it became apparent that there are and have been several partial to full thickness tendon tears. Medicine is no better than the law. Extreme paternalism stands where respect once held. Some would argue that this arises from professional self promotion and is a function of capital, while others insist it is an outgrowth of the neo-liberalism that has removed us from competency to dependency . I suspect both are at work, and it is a chicken and egg argument. An economics professor once said in a lecture that specialization is the root cause of price inflation. He gets no argument from me. The maxim caveat emptor should, but does not often, provide adequate protection from professions and their clowns, What I can respect is the hard work and dedication that many professionals bring to their practice, and for that I am grateful.

 

In regard to the thread, and having several types of pain, it is apparent that the topic is only partly correct. Cannabis does distract. For pain from inflammation and joint pain I find that reasonably accurate. When it becomes too severe, even the dope can't handle it. There are some conditions, however that respond to it to the point that the pain does disappear; sometimes joint stiffness and pain, and it depends to a point whether or not I have been using it constantly or intermittently. I find that it works as a systemic in controlling neuropathy when used regularly. Without it that pain ramps up to the point that it feels like cherry red fire under my skin. I have not suffered that pain in that extreme since 2009.

Edited by GregS

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I don't know - seems like something is being left out of this study.  THC has helped with MS, Alzheimers, Seizures, etc..  These are not subjective things.  There is a physical effect other than distraction that does not seem to have been taken into account here.

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Natural marijuana used for medical purposes is a great helper for humans. Of course, using large quantities of it will not give anything good, and vice versa, it will only take your health. To many, it helps to cope with moral pain and exhaustion, and this is already harder and more serious at times than physical pain, as it lives somewhere inside and can lead to terrible consequences.

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On 12/7/2018 at 1:08 AM, hidean said:

 Of course, using large quantities of it will not give anything good, and vice versa, it will only take your health. To many, it helps to cope with moral pain and exhaustion, and this is already harder and more serious at times than physical pain, as it lives somewhere inside and can lead to terrible consequences.

How do you define large quantities and what terrible consequences are you referring to? I have been given large and frequent doses of narcotics and large and frequent doses of cannabis and the problems from cannabis (if any) are minuscule compared to the narcotics.

For quite awhile my standard dose of cannabis was four grams. It never incapacitated me the way the narcotics did.

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1 hour ago, Wild Bill said:

How do you define large quantities and what terrible consequences are you referring to? I have been given large and frequent doses of narcotics and large and frequent doses of cannabis and the problems from cannabis (if any) are minuscule compared to the narcotics.

For quite awhile my standard dose of cannabis was four grams. It never incapacitated me the way the narcotics did.

Well, not incapacitated, this is not exactly what I had in mind. I talked about health:

Namely, the brain suffers heavily from the effects of grass. Regular smoking leads to the development of disturbances in the processes of thinking and understanding. With the use of marijuana in smokers, the risks of developing pharyngitis and bronchitis, chronic pathologies and cancer processes in bronchopulmonary structures increase. Since under the influence of weed there is a pronounced increase in heart rate and pulse, and the pressure rises sharply, the probability of occurrence of cardiovascular pathologies sharply increases. Grass strongly affects the reproductive system of smokers of both sexes. In men, it leads to testosterone deficiency. Long-term smoking can significantly change the hormonal status, which causes a serious impairment in the sexual development of adolescents. In adult males, under the influence of weed, sperm quality deteriorates — the total number of sperm decreases, their physical activity decreases, and a significant part of the ejaculate is an abnormal sperm. Gradually, sexual desire decreases and erectile dysfunction develops.

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I believe a number of those claims have been discredited.  Other than the bronchitis I think they are all bogus claims. Cannabis has in fact been shown to reduce cancer.

Reefer madness science.

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4 hours ago, Wild Bill said:

I believe a number of those claims have been discredited.  Other than the bronchitis I think they are all bogus claims. Cannabis has in fact been shown to reduce cancer.

Reefer madness science. 

Everyone can speak as he is comfortable: the cannabis seller can argue that the grass is harmless, moreover, he heals, thereby increasing sales and increasing the bank account, and some proffesor a weary jacket who gets $ 2000 for a lifetime A month that has almost nothing, can prove that weed is killing, but few people can hear it, because the grass seller can order the paid articles at his own expense and buy all the scientists. There is a very difficult question, and it is very serious at the moment. I do not want to say that marijuana is killing and so on, I just want to say that at least there is a minimum amount of benefit from it. If only to get rid of the pain.

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16 hours ago, hidean said:

Well, not incapacitated, this is not exactly what I had in mind. I talked about health:

Namely, the brain suffers heavily from the effects of grass. Regular smoking leads to the development of disturbances in the processes of thinking and understanding. With the use of marijuana in smokers, the risks of developing pharyngitis and bronchitis, chronic pathologies and cancer processes in bronchopulmonary structures increase. Since under the influence of weed there is a pronounced increase in heart rate and pulse, and the pressure rises sharply, the probability of occurrence of cardiovascular pathologies sharply increases. Grass strongly affects the reproductive system of smokers of both sexes. In men, it leads to testosterone deficiency. Long-term smoking can significantly change the hormonal status, which causes a serious impairment in the sexual development of adolescents. In adult males, under the influence of weed, sperm quality deteriorates — the total number of sperm decreases, their physical activity decreases, and a significant part of the ejaculate is an abnormal sperm. Gradually, sexual desire decreases and erectile dysfunction develops.

None of that is true. Wow, what a pile of total BS.

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49 minutes ago, hidean said:

Everyone can speak as he is comfortable: the cannabis seller can argue that the grass is harmless, moreover, he heals, thereby increasing sales and increasing the bank account, and some proffesor a weary jacket who gets $ 2000 for a lifetime A month that has almost nothing, can prove that weed is killing, but few people can hear it, because the grass seller can order the paid articles at his own expense and buy all the scientists. There is a very difficult question, and it is very serious at the moment. I do not want to say that marijuana is killing and so on, I just want to say that at least there is a minimum amount of benefit from it. If only to get rid of the pain.

There is an infinite amount of health benefits from cannabis. I've been studying cannabis for over 40 years and still find new health benefits from all the different ways to use it. To the point that I have learned that all cannabis use is medical. The people who have been labeled recreational users have been falsely labeled. Some don't even understand their medical use until some basic ideas are revealed to them. Then they have that eureka moment when they understand their use better. They crawl out from under the wet blanket of guilt and see the bright light of their healthy use. They see how they have been helping their mind and body cope with the world using cannabis.

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7 hours ago, Restorium2 said:

There is an infinite amount of health benefits from cannabis. I've been studying cannabis for over 40 years and still find new health benefits from all the different ways to use it. To the point that I have learned that all cannabis use is medical. The people who have been labeled recreational users have been falsely labeled. Some don't even understand their medical use until some basic ideas are revealed to them. Then they have that eureka moment when they understand their use better. They crawl out from under the wet blanket of guilt and see the bright light of their healthy use. They see how they have been helping their mind and body cope with the world using cannabis.

Can you show any of your official data of any experiments, experiments, examinations? It’s just that in the common heap of human lies in all areas of science and life it’s very difficult to trust simple words and statements, forgive me. Everyone speaks in the way that benefits him in our world, unfortunately.

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7 hours ago, Restorium2 said:

None of that is true. Wow, what a pile of total BS. 

Refute this not with words, but with facts (preferably official). I do not claim that this information is 100% correct and true, just tell us how it really is, with the support of your words with some documents.
Words like: "this is all a lie, this is not true, marijuana is good for health, the blind one begins to see from it and even sometimes the dead are resurrected" - they look like an empty shaking of air, forgive me.

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16 hours ago, hidean said:

Refute this not with words, but with facts (preferably official). I do not claim that this information is 100% correct and true, just tell us how it really is, with the support of your words with some documents.
Words like: "this is all a lie, this is not true, marijuana is good for health, the blind one begins to see from it and even sometimes the dead are resurrected" - they look like an empty shaking of air, forgive me.

You certainly had no facts when you posted the cannabis accusations. Cannabis is innocent until proven guilty.

You will never prove her guilty of things I haven't seen among my fellow users that I have observed with numbers in the thousands. 

The studies come and go filled with mostly false info. Sometimes they use only 17 users in a study!

Ask the community if you have a question. Don't ask a study paid for by folks who get the pre conceived answer they paid for.

When I answer a cannabis question that involves important health information I think about all the users I have known over the decades. Then I ask other users that know thousands more and have different life experiences. Only then do I give an honest answer. I don't pick answers based on how I would like things to be. I pick answers that I can feel good about because I told the honest truth. I'm thankful that cannabis use doesn't burden me with a lot of regretful health detriments. There are only a few accounts over the years. They are few and far between and there's usually a way around them. You certainly can't BS me at this point … 

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17 hours ago, hidean said:

Can you show any of your official data of any experiments, experiments, examinations? It’s just that in the common heap of human lies in all areas of science and life it’s very difficult to trust simple words and statements, forgive me. Everyone speaks in the way that benefits him in our world, unfortunately.

Not me. You have found something unusual in your world. I will never lie about cannabis for my own benefit. 

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Cannabis use has definitely helped with my pain without dulling my mind.  In fact - when in extreme pain or anxiety I cannot work - on cannabis taking doses for pain control only, not to get high I function very highly and am getting back to work.  4 weeks ago I had surgery for a huge hernia.  In april I got a colostomy and and part of my colon removed. They could not do it robotically and I was cut open from above my belly button to below my pubic line.  The entire incision came apart at the muscle level giving me the huge hernia in addition to three peristomal hernias.  I cannot take conventional pain meds because they interfere with the ostomy.  Marijuana is all I can use and it does work.  And so can i - without a dull mind or reduced brain function.  Also - if the effects of smoking it are a concern - there are other methods including RSO and transdermal patches which both work and eliminate pain without the "smoking" hazard/stigma.  

Seriously, most of us and I myself use cannibis not to get high, but to get "normal".  Now I don't see how you can vehemently and bitterly trivialize any benefit this medicine gives us unless you have a personal axe to grind.  Numbers on paper truly stink when it comes to determining medical usefulness.  Take my radiation treatments as proof of that.  They just gave me what was on the list - not what I needed and in the process destroyed half my body.  Tell me that Marijuana is more damaging than that.  My medical marijuana provisioner advises on what products I, personally, should and shouldn't use as methods of treatment.  The medical community never gave me that option.  So please get off your high horse.  It's obvious that we aren't buying it.

 

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On 12/10/2018 at 3:56 PM, Restorium2 said:

Not me. You have found something unusual in your world. I will never lie about cannabis for my own benefit. 

Hi, I found an article about this that I think will resolve our dispute: https://thcdetox.biz/blog/marijuana-health/. Considering the number of the listed problems with the brain, the body, the psyche, addiction to marijuana, I think we should not try to convince the opposite, based only on my own opinion. Cannabis can only be helpful in alleviating pain in a serious illness. And here is not the case in the article, here is the case in logic, this is how to assert that tobacco and cigarettes are good for health or at least not dangerous.

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33 minutes ago, hidean said:

Hi, I found an article about this that I think will resolve our dispute: https://thcdetox.biz/blog/marijuana-health/. Considering the number of the listed problems with the brain, the body, the psyche, addiction to marijuana, I think we should not try to convince the opposite, based only on my own opinion. Cannabis can only be helpful in alleviating pain in a serious illness. And here is not the case in the article, here is the case in logic, this is how to assert that tobacco and cigarettes are good for health or at least not dangerous.

No such thing as it applies to drugs. Other drugs have this problem, not cannabis. Quitting cannabis is like abstaining from candy or caffeine. You might have a slight headache and miss it but it's not truly addictive.

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36 minutes ago, hidean said:

Hi, I found an article about this that I think will resolve our dispute: https://thcdetox.biz/blog/marijuana-health/. Considering the number of the listed problems with the brain, the body, the psyche, addiction to marijuana, I think we should not try to convince the opposite, based only on my own opinion. Cannabis can only be helpful in alleviating pain in a serious illness. And here is not the case in the article, here is the case in logic, this is how to assert that tobacco and cigarettes are good for health or at least not dangerous.

Next,

Cannabis helps alleviate pain for as small a thing as a torn fingernail to as serious as severe arthritis, bone pain, cancer pain, after operation pain.

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38 minutes ago, hidean said:

Hi, I found an article about this that I think will resolve our dispute: https://thcdetox.biz/blog/marijuana-health/. Considering the number of the listed problems with the brain, the body, the psyche, addiction to marijuana, I think we should not try to convince the opposite, based only on my own opinion. Cannabis can only be helpful in alleviating pain in a serious illness. And here is not the case in the article, here is the case in logic, this is how to assert that tobacco and cigarettes are good for health or at least not dangerous.

Logic tells me cigarettes kill people. Lost many to tobacco use. Only a total idiot doesn't know that. Are you actually from the planet Earth?

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To determine exactly how cannabis relieves pain, a group of Oxford researchers used healthy volunteers, an MRI machine and doses of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.Usually, the less psychoactive CBDs are used for medicinal purposes, not THC, which causes the “high”.Cannabis does not seem to act like a conventional pain medicine

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