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Marijuana lessens
HIV nerve pain

Marijuana lessens
HIV nerve pain

HIV-associated nerve pain, including aching, numbness, and burning, is quelled by smoking marijuana, reports a new study in the journal Neurology.

In the study, 50 people with sensory neuropathy, the most common HIV nerve disorder, were randomly assigned marijuana or placebo cigarettes to smoke three times a day for five days. Results showed that those who smoked marijuana experienced 34% less daily nerve pain; placebo smokers saw a 17% dip.

"Our findings show the amount of relief from smoking marijuana is comparable to relief provided by oral drugs currently used for chronic nerve pain," said study author Donald Abrams of San Francisco General Hospital in a statement.

The study also found that the first marijuana cigarette reduced chronic pain by an average of 72%, compared with 15% with the placebo. More than 50% of the people who smoked marijuana reported greater than 30% pain reduction; the placebo group reported 24%.

Participants in the study reported no serious side effects.

Some HIV patients with chronic nerve pain are able to take anticonvulsant drugs, such as lamotrigine and gabapentin, to ease pain. However, Abrams said, some patients don't respond well to these drugs. Similar results were reported in two recent studies of marijuana for nerve pain associated with multiple sclerosis. (The Advocate)

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