Neuropathic pain (nerve pain) is one of the most common indications for treatment with medical cannabis. In the survey This year, two-thirds of Israel's pain doctors said they would prescribe cannabis for neuropathic pain.
However, there are quite a few medical experts who claim that cannabis does not really deal with pain, but merely numbs the feeling by influencing the mood.
The study was conducted at Ichilov Hospital on 15 patients with chronic neuropathic pain. The subjects underwent fMRI scans and rated their pain on a scale ranging from 1 to 100. Then half of them received THC under the tongue at a dose of 0.2 mg / kg of body weight, and half of them received placebo.
Two hours after THC or placebo, the subjects again underwent fMRI scans and re-rated their pain.
Subjects receiving THC showed a significant decrease in pain rating compared with placebo. The average pain rating of subjects before treatment was 53, and it decreased to 35 in subjects receiving THC. Patients receiving placebo also experienced a reduction in pain (due to the placebo effect) - but it was milder, with an average pain rating of 43.
When we examined fMRI scans, we found an association between analgesia after THC and decreased functional connectivity between the ACC cortex, which is responsible for the emotional and cognitive awareness of pain, and the sensory-motor cortex, which is responsible for the pain itself.
In other words, THC severed the connection between two different areas of the brain that are responsible for processing two different components that together create what we recognize as pain - on the one hand, the pain itself, which is processed in the sensorimotor cortex, and on the other hand the pain sensation caused by ACC.
According to Dr. Hagai Sharon, the results suggest that, unlike common painkillers, "the effect of cannabis on pain is achieved by reducing pain experienced by pain - not just by reducing the pain itself."
He also notes that ACC, which is responsible for the sense of suffering in pain,Cannabinoids Many of the CB1 types to which the THC binds, which explains why its effect on this region is so strong.
According to Dr. Sharon, further studies are needed, among other things, to examine whether the combination of THC andCBD Have a stronger effect on neuropathic pain compared to THC alone, as seen In studies of oncological pain.
Further studies of chronic pain are needed to see whether the results of this study are exclusive to neuropathic pain, or whether THC can also alleviate other pain through the same mechanism identified in this study.