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%.
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