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Marijuana Relieves HIV-Associated Neuropathy

Smoked marijuana as effective as oral drugs

TUESDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Marijuana is as effective as oral drugs at relieving pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy, according to a report in the Feb. 13 issue of Neurology.

Donald I. Abrams, M.D., of San Francisco General Hospital, and colleagues randomized 50 patients with HIV-associated sensory neuropathy to smoking cigarettes containing cannabis (3.56 percent tetrahydrocannabinol) or placebo.

The researchers found that smoked cannabis reduced daily pain significantly more than placebo (by 34 versus 17 percent), and smoked cannabis reduced pain by at least 30 percent in significantly more patients than placebo (52 versus 24 percent). There were no serious adverse events, according to the study.

"Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy," Abrams and colleagues conclude. "The findings are comparable to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain."

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