Smoking cannabis from a pipe can significantly reduce chronic pain in patients with damaged nerves, a study suggests.
A small study of 23 people also showed improvements with sleep and anxiety. Writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the researchers said larger studies using inhaler-type devices for cannabis were needed. UK experts said the pain relief seen was small but potentially important, and more investigation was warranted.
Around 1 to 2% of people have chronic neuropathic pain - pain due to problems with signalling between nerves - but effective treatments are lacking. Some patients with this type of chronic pain say smoking cannabis helps with their symptoms. And researchers have been investigating whether taking cannabinoids - the chemicals within cannabis that effect pain - in pill form could have the same effect.
But the team from McGill University in Montreal said clinical trials on smoked cannabis were lacking.