According to a new study published in the Journal Of Pain, a mouth spray containing cannabanoids is more effective in treating pain amongst groups of patients who do not experience pain relief with traditional opiate pain medications.
The name of this spray is Nabixmols, but it is marketed under the name Sativex. It contains a formula of cannabinoids, marijuana’s most active ingredients.
This study was conducted on 263 cancer patients who were given the spray at different doses over the course of five weeks. Patients were then asked about their pain levels and sleeping patterns as sleep disturbances are common amongst patients with advanced cancer.
26% of of the patients who were given low dosages of the spray experienced an improvement in pain relief. As for the group who received high dosages, they did not experience any relief, and actually experienced side effects such as nausea and loss of cognitive function.
Doctors believe that using the spray on its own would not necessarily be the most effective treatment. However using the spray in addition to the traditional opioids, may be the best treatment.
“The finding that nabiximols has analgesic efficacy as add-on therapy for pain from advanced cancer that is poorly responsive to opioid therapy has great potential clinical relevance… Based on the results of this dose-ranging study, nabiximols in a manageable dose range may prove to offer benefits to a very ill population with refractory pain. Confirmatory studies are strongly warranted,” wrote lead author Russell K. Portenoy, MD, and Chairman of the Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
Sativex (which is from the UK) is already approved in Canada, New Zealand and eight European countries. GW Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Sativex, is now seeking approval from the FDA for use in the US.