Researchers and Marijuana Treatment

Researchers look into marijuana treatment for nerve pain in men and women

Inside a lab at McMaster University, researchers are working to measure how effective cannabis might be to treat nerve pain, with a specific focus on the differences between what works for men and women.

The work, using rats with surgically imposed sciatic pain, is one of about a dozen projects funded in part through the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research.

The preliminary results from the trial show promise for pain relief. Many of the more than 100 animals they have worked with show no sign of pain for many weeks after the initial two-week cannabis oil treatment, said Katja Linher, a research associate in the lab of Gurmit Singh, professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster.

The most promising results have been when treating with higher dosages that include both the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — two of the cannabinoids that exist in cannabis. THC is psychoactive, while CBD may reduce pain and inflammation.

In anticipation of pending recreational legalization in Canada next month, there is a flurry of cannabis research happening across Canada and North America, but the centre at McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is uniquely positioned to be an “incubator” to stimulate research into cannabis, says the centre’s co-director James MacKillop.

The centre is “not bricks and mortar,” but more of an “intellectual nexus” that brings together McMaster researchers from across disciplines, he said. This includes “seed funding” and also access to laboratories at the university and neuroimaging technology at St. Joe’s.




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