“To determine the effect of smoked cannabis on the neuropathic pain of HIV-associated sensory neuropathy and an experimental pain model… randomized placebo-controlled trial… involving adults with painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy.
Patients were randomly assigned to smoke either cannabis (3.56% tetrahydrocannabinol) or identical placebo cigarettes with the cannabinoids extracted three times daily for 5 days. Primary outcome measures included ratings of chronic pain and the percentage achieving >30% reduction in pain intensity.
Acute analgesic and anti-hyperalgesic effects of smoked cannabis were assessed using a cutaneous heat stimulation procedure and the heat/capsaicin sensitization model.
Fifty patients completed the entire trial. Smoked cannabis reduced daily pain by 34% (median reduction; IQR = -71, -16) vs 17% (IQR = -29, 8) with placebo (p = 0.03). Greater than 30% reduction in pain was reported by 52% in the cannabis group and by 24% in the placebo group (p = 0.04).
The first cannabis cigarette reduced chronic pain by a median of 72% vs 15% with placebo (p < 0.001).
Cannabis reduced experimentally induced hyperalgesia to both brush and von Frey hair stimuli (p < or = 0.05) but appeared to have little effect on the painfulness of noxious heat stimulation.
No serious adverse events were reported.
Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy. The findings are comparable to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain.”