By Marco Torres
A man with excruciating pains following multiple traumas was monitored, daily, over one year while managing chronic pain by self-administering quantifiable amounts of natural cannabis. Tetrahydro-cannabinol, Cannabidiol, and Cannabinol were all measured in tinctures, capsules, smoke-able product plus some baked goods, prior to their administration. By allowing standardization, the man was able to develop a daily regimen of pain management that was resistant to a battery of most patented analgesics.
More than 100 million people in the United States suffer from debilitating chronic pain. Pain resulting from a severe on-the-job injury is a frustrating experience both for the patient as well as the treating health practitioners and physicians. If pursuing conventional medical care, it leads to chronic dependence on opiate painkillers and anti-depressants which eventually cause toxicity of the brain and metabolic function. However the relief of pain may be less desired if quality of life of such individuals is poor. The physician and the patients are left with no option but to resort to alternative modes of therapy.
Cannabis has been documented to be one of such measures, especially in advanced cases of cancer. It holds an enormous potential as medicines derived from cannabis plant exhibit a phenomenon termed strain specific symptom relief. It has been documented to be of proven value in arthritis and multiple sclerosis; however few controlled clinical trials for its use in chronic intolerable pain have been reported.
Some studies have examined the effect of adding a cannabinoid to the regimen of patients with chronic pain who report significant pain despite taking stable doses of potent opioids.
An investigational cannabinoid therapy helped provide effective analgesia when used as an adjuvant medication for cancer patients with pain that responded poorly to opioids, according to results of a multicenter trial reported in The Journal of Pain, published by the American Pain Society.
When patients begin to consume cannabis, there is a notable decline in the amount of prescribed medications taken, such as antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and pain relievers. These drugs have severe side effects. There is not one clinical study which examined the use of cannabis for pain relief where subjects were not able to reduce their drug intake.
A U.S. Patent 6630507 was initiated in 2003 when researchers found that cannabinoids, high ratios which are found in marijuana, had specific antioxidant properties making them useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.
The person involved in this study was a member of the Green Cross Society of British Columbia, which has Federal tax number to distribute cannabis for medical purposes. The Society provides natural product (cannabis, herbal medicine) to its qualified members.
The volunteer, a 33 year old Caucasian male, volunteer was selected from the membership based on his record keeping ability, the severity of his injury, plus his daily presence at the Society, allowing continuous monitoring. The man kept detailed notes of his condition, including pain charts, medications and dietary habits, allowing comparison by study observers. The individuals note taking allowed an in depth review of his condition. The case described here is strikingly similar to four others of its type, run over the same year, with comparable observations and outcome.
The cannabis supplied by the Societys contracted growers was optimized for THC concentration through genetic selection of specific strains, growing conditions and fertilizers. Organic growing conditions were a priority.
For 15 months the man was monitored for all forms of cannabis use. They accumulated data on the amount of smoke-able, encapsulated, edible and tincture preparations consumed by the man on a daily basis. His prescription record, physicians notes, urine (drug) tests, plus daily interviews were maintained and examined. Daily cannabis use totaling 10 g of natural product cannabis, translating to an average of 420-500 mg of THC, 40-80 mg of CBD and 20-60 mg CBN, was required to achieve a sufficient degree of pain management.
Significant reductions in daily pain scores as well as improved sleep, muscle spasm and general quality of life were achieved. The patient was able to get back to the daily activities, do some part time volunteer work, go to the gym, and lead what resembles a normal life.
He consumed 10-15 g of cannabis per day. He also found benefit in a number of supplements: for chronic pain and depression, including, GABA(500 mg), L- Tyrosine (500 mg), L-Tryptophan (550 mg), DL- Phenylalanine (500 mg) and S-adenosyl methionine (liquid) 40 drops a day. For the breakthrough pain he used cannabis tincture at 10 mg THC/drop; 2 mg CBD/drop: 15-25 drops (as needed), which relieved intense pain, in a couple of seconds. He also used Volcano (vaporizer), 2-4 g a day. A medical examination showed all liver functions to be normal, including clearance of the hypercholesterolemia.
There Is No Longer Doubt That Cannabis Addressed Pain Relief
The analgesic properties of cannabis are becoming well established in the literature. The purpose of this case study was to observe the efficacy and usefulness of the standardized whole plant cannabis
medicine. Indeed, the complexities of elucidating the efficacy of such preparations is a difficult task, yet the benefits of the natural product far outweigh the contrary in consideration of toxicity, efficacy and side-effects. With regard to the latter, more frequently unwanted side effects from cannabis result from overdose than any other parameter. And, most frequently, this overdose results from oral ingestion of un-standardized baked goods (i.e. brownies).
Overdose results in confusion, paranoia and fear that subsides after four to six hours, often into sleep. In no case, has it been observed to cause permanent physical or mental damage, but can often leave the individual with extreme caution to repeating the event. The second most frequently observed un-wanted side effects arise from incorrect strain selection for the symptom.
For example, a person seeking pain relief and also suffering from anxiety, chooses a strain containing high concentrations of CBN, with little comparative CBD and low THC, may experience increased anxiety, with little or no pain relief. Another important observation is that there is a genealogical factor in tolerance experienced by individuals of different ethnic backgrounds. Persons of Celtic descent (Scottish, Irish or Welsh) appear to be 3 to 5 times more tolerant to cannabis than persons of middle European or African descent. The person described in this study had a Scottish mother, which may explain the high THC levels required by him, but not by persons in similar studies but of different ethnic background.
Proven Results With Cannabis
With 70% of the members treating chronic pain the same phenomenon is observed over and over that people achieve a significant degree of pain management using standardized natural product cannabis. Often a better quality of life is attained with cannabis use only. The subject in this study was nearly one year using only natural product cannabis plus supplements for his severe pain. He then went through yet another two surgeries to back and hand using only cannabis for postoperative pain.
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.