Medicinal Cannabis and HIV-Related Neuropathic Pain
“Placebo-Controlled, Double Blind Trial of Medicinal Cannabis in Painful HIV Neuropathy”
Ronald J. Ellis, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
(cannabis and HIV neuropathy) "The primary objective of this study also was to evaluate the efficacy of smoked cannabis when used as an analgesic in persons with HIV-associated painful neuropathy. In a double-blind, randomized, clinical trial of the short-term adjunctive treatment of neuropathic pain in HIV-associated distal sensory polyneuropathy, participants received either smoked cannabis or placebo cannabis cigarettes. A structured dose escalation-titration protocol was used to find an individualized, effective, safe, and well-tolerated dose for each subject. Participants continued on their usual analgesic medications throughout the trial, with the dose and amount of these medications being recorded daily.
"The full results of this study were published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology (Ellis, et al., 2008 – see reference list). In brief, 34 eligible subjects enrolled and 28 completed both cannabis and placebo treatments. Among completers, pain relief was significantly greater with cannabis than placebo. The proportion of subjects achieving at least 30% pain relief was again significantly greater with cannabis (46%) compared to placebo (18%). It was concluded that smoked cannabis was generally well-tolerated and effective when added to concomitant analgesic therapy in patients with medically refractory pain due to HIV-associated neuropathy."
Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, "Report to the Legislature and Governor of the State of California presenting findings pursuant to SB847 which created the CMCR and provided state funding," University of California, (San Diego, CA: February 2010), p. 10.