A comprehensive study recently revealed the efficacy of medical cannabis in alleviating neuropathic pain, showcasing not only its rapid and long-lasting therapeutic effects but also a better side-effect profile compared to traditional medicines.
The research, undertaken collaboratively by University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE Hamburg) and telehealth platform Algea Care, delved into the therapeutic impacts of cannabis on patients grappling with chronic neuropathic pain. As reported in the reputable Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids journal, the study encompassed 99 German participants, aged 20-81.
Medical specialists provided these patients with cannabis prescriptions, and the predominant form consumed was the cannabis flower, containing THC levels ranging from 12-22%. Each patient's daily intake peaked at 1g.
The study methodically assessed several parameters over six follow-up interviews, including pain intensity, sleep quality, overall health, side effects, and treatment tolerance. Comparison metrics used the non-parametric Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test.
Key findings include:
Rapid Pain Reduction: Most patients reported severe pain (average score of 7.5/10) at the onset. Remarkably, within a mere six weeks of commencing cannabis therapy, the average pain score plummeted to 3.75.
Improvements in Overall Health: At their first revisit, 90% of patients noticed their general health improving. This trend persisted, with 99% of the participants (97 individuals) reporting improvements at some point during the six-month study duration.
Positive Response to Treatment: 91% of patients, totaling 279 out of 307 across all follow-ups, expressed a positive reaction to the cannabis regimen.
Minimal Side Effects: The study did not record any severe side effects. Mild side effects mentioned were dry mouth (5.4%), fatigue (4.8%), and an uptick in appetite (2.7%).
Interestingly, despite the promising findings, Algea Care highlights that a mere 2% of Germany's doctors prescribe medical cannabis. Dr. Julian Wichmann, Algea Care's CEO, emphasized the study's significance, stating, "Medical cannabis has not just showcased its efficiency but has also proven to have notably fewer side effects in comparison to conventional medicines."
Dr. Wichmann further noted the unfortunate societal stigma associated with medical cannabis in Germany. Nevertheless, an estimated 250,000 individuals across the country have availed of its numerous benefits, ranging from relief for conditions like migraines, depression, ADHD, and chronic pain, to name a few.
Abstract Snapshot: The study affirms medical cannabis as a potent and safe treatment option for chronic neuropathic pain and associated sleep disturbances. Initial pain and sleep scores saw substantial reductions within six weeks, and these positive effects were sustained throughout the study's six-month span. Minimal side effects were reported, with an overall therapy tolerance of 91%.
Michigan proudly stands as one of the 38 states that have embraced medical cannabis legalization. Yet, a 2021 Journal of Cannabis Research study revealed a startling statistic: only 18% of Michigan's medical marijuana patients rate their primary care physician's insight on the subject as “very good” or “excellent.” Interestingly, the majority have communicated their cannabis usage to their doctors. But feedback on physician knowledge is varied, and a significant portion sought their medical cannabis licenses from external doctors.
Dr. Evan Litinas sheds light on this by stating, “A vast segment of consumers utilizes cannabis for holistic well-being. If patients feel a disconnect discussing cannabis with their doctors, they often approach local cannabis dispensaries, hoping a budtender might provide clarity.”
He cautions, however, “While many dispensaries are top-notch in assisting consumers, there are instances where they fall short in disseminating accurate information about this potent medicinal herb. This disparity can create a chasm between the consumer's understanding and expectations of cannabis.”
Dr. Litinas is collaborating with Local Roots Cannabis on ‘Medical Mondays’ throughout September and October. Every Monday, between noon and 4 p.m., he'll be at the dispensary, addressing queries on THC, CBD, and beyond. Though he won't be providing personalized medical counsel, he aims to offer a holistic understanding of cannabis's medicinal applications, from interpreting lab outcomes to elucidating cannabis's impact on specific ailments. Moreover, he wishes to instigate a dialogue among consumers and their primary physicians about cannabis.
With a career spanning over a decade in the medical marijuana realm, including contributions to cannabis research at the University of Michigan and a pivotal role as the chief medical officer for Ann Arbor dispensary Om of Medicine (now Mission Ann Arbor) till 2020, Dr. Litinas is passionate about edifying the masses on cannabis. His endeavors culminated in a harmonious alliance with Local Roots owners, Roy and Ronda Liskey. The synergy was palpable, as Dr. Litinas remarked, “The Liskeys are genuine community pillars. Our collaborative efforts will surely elevate cannabis education.”
Roy Liskey acknowledged Dr. Litinas' commitment, stating, “Though there's no definitive promise that products will universally aid medical conditions, a plethora of research-backed evidence exists. Dr. Litinas' engagement is a boon to our community. We're indebted to his expertise and dedication.”
While this piece isn't directly tied to marijuana, the parallels with the psychedelic community are undeniable. Both have faced challenges in understanding, acceptance, and research. At Michigan Marijuana News, we recognize the interconnected journey of these communities, driven by a pursuit of healing and well-being. We're proud to share this story, wishing the best for our brothers and sisters in the psychedelic realm as they push the boundaries of knowledge and acceptance.
In an innovative approach to understanding the brain and the transformative potential of psychedelics, the University of Michigan's newly inaugurated Psychedelic Center has fashioned its lab with elements reminiscent of a psychedelic experience. One of their major studies is examining whether oral psilocybin, the primary psychoactive component in certain mushrooms, can provide relief to fibromyalgia patients.
The research isn't just about the physical symptoms. It seeks to understand how the combination of psilocybin and psychotherapy can unlock profound psychological and spiritual insights, enabling patients to better manage and comprehend their ailments.
Kevin Boehnke, a leading researcher and an assistant professor at U-M, who himself has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, elucidates the potential of psychedelics. "These substances, perhaps even cannabis, provide an avenue to approach aspects of oneself that have long been evaded. They offer a fresh perspective, making previously inaccessible issues come to the forefront, ready for introspection and understanding," he shared.
This exploration of psychedelics comes at a time when their therapeutic value is being reconsidered on a national scale. Cannabis acceptance appears to have catalyzed interest in psychedelics, but many challenges remain. Dr. George Mashour, the founding director of the Michigan Psychedelic Center, emphasizes that the journey into psychedelic research is both rigorous and crucial. "We are deeply committed to this scientific endeavor with a singular aim – to genuinely assist patients in need," Mashour remarked.
Currently, the center is zeroing in on fibromyalgia, a condition that afflicts millions across the U.S. Unlike traditional treatments that aim to suppress symptoms, psychedelics, as per the center's research, might assist patients in confronting and understanding their pain more directly.
The burgeoning interest in psychedelics is mirrored in legislative shifts across the nation. While states like Oregon and Colorado have taken strides to legalize psilocybin, Michigan too is showing signs of progressive change. Cities like Ann Arbor have already decriminalized psychedelics, and efforts at the state level are underway, spearheaded by advocates like Michigan Senator Jeff Irwin, who is championing personal cultivation and possession of psychoactive plants and fungi.
Yet, despite these advancements, Boehnke reiterates the urgency for developing more effective treatment modalities, especially for conditions like fibromyalgia. "The existing options leave much to be desired, and a vast number of individuals continue to grapple with their suffering. Our hope is to change that narrative," he concluded.