Healthy living

Cannabis spray eases cancer pain

Cannabis spray eases cancer pain 30% reduction in pain

A cannabis mouthspray has been found to reduce pain in cancer patients by 30 per cent, a study has shown.

The spray, made from cannabis extract relieved pain in cancer patients who had not been helped by morphine or other medicines.

A team from Edinburgh University tested the cannabis spray on 177 patients over a two-week period.

Doctors involved in the study said the 30 per cent reduction in pain reported by patients was "a significant improvement in their quality of life," and hoped the treatment could be used alongside traditional painkillers in future.

The spray works by activating molecules in the body called cannabinoid receptors.

When triggered by cannabis, these receptors can stop nerve signals being transmitted from the site of pain to the brain.

The medical spray has been developed so that it does not affect the mental state of the patient, in the way normally associated with cannabis consumption.

The researchers said their results, reported in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, do not justify smoking cannabis, which can increase the risk of cancer.

Professor Marie Fallon from the University of Edinburgh said: "These early results are very promising.

"Prescription of these drugs can be very useful in combating debilitating pain, but it is important to understand the difference between their medical and recreational use."

This article was published on Tue 15 December 2009

Image © yellowj -

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