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For neuropathic pain, marijuana yields modest benefits

As medical marijuana penetrates mainstream medical practice in the United States and elsewhere, awareness of the potential benefits, potential risks, local laws governing its use for treatment or chronic pain gain importance, according to a specialist reviewing available data at Pain Care for Primary Care.

For many specific types of chronic pain more data are needed to judge the benefit-to-risk ratio of marijuana relative to other options, but there are reasonable data suggesting both acceptable safety and meaningful efficacy of this analgesic in neuropathic pain, according to the associate professor in the departments of anesthesia and family medicine, McGill University, Montreal.

In neuropathic pain, the evidence includes at least five randomized trials. In a recently published review article for which he served as senior author, the degree of neuropathic pain reductions were characterized as being on an order similar to those achieved with opioids and anticonvulsants. In one study, the...

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