Marijuana in Pill Form more Effective on Relieving Pain

First Posted: Apr 25, 2013 07:55 AM EDT

Marijuana taken in the form of a pill will produce greater pain relief rather than smoking it up, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Columbia University, New York, suggests that a drug containing the active ingredients of marijuana may be more effective for pain relief when compared to the smoked form of the drug. The study was conducted by Ziva Cooper and Margaret Haney.

Published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, the study compared the strengths of smoked marijuana to that of the drug Dronabinol. The pill Dronabinol had the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) of marijuana.

The study was based on 30 participants that included 15 males and 15 females who were marijuana smokers. The participants were either asked to smoke marijuana or consume the oral pill Dronabinol, or a placebo. They were then made to participate in an experiment called the 'cold pressor test', in which they were asked to place their hands in a bath of extremely cold water of 4 degree Celsius and had to hold on for nearly two minutes.

The researchers carefully monitored the duration of pain tolerance and pain sensitivity. Those who smoked marijuana and consumed Dronabinol had reduced pain sensitivity, and showed a high pain tolerance when compared to those who took the placebo.

Reports according to Medical News Today suggest that Dronabinol provided a long-lasting effect in pain sensitivity, and those who consumed the pill were less vulnerable to abuse-related outcomes.

The only difference the researchers noticed was in the cognitive impairment. Those who smoked marijuana quickly felt relief from pain.

"If you think about it, if you're someone who's dealing with chronic pain, you're going to have to be smoking several times a day, and for a lot of people that would not be feasible," study author Ziva Cooper told HealthDay.

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