Findings Point to Need for Gender Consideration in Future Clinical Marijuana Pain Relief Research

Men may experience a greater degree of pain relief from smoking marijuana than women, according to results from new research conducted at Columbia University Medical Center (CMUC). No differences were noted between men and women in the level of intoxication felt from smoking cannabis, however. Study author Ziva Cooper, PhD, associate professor of clinical neurobiology (in psychiatry) at CUMC, observed, “Preclinical evidence has suggested that the experience of pain relief from cannabis-related products may vary between sexes, but no studies have been done to see if this is true in humans.” The findings were published online this week in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The study examined data from 2 double-blind, placebo controlled trials of the analgesic effects of inhaled cannabis in 42 marijuana smokers. Participants smoked the same amount of cannabis or placebo, followed by immersion of one hand in cold water for as long as could be tolerated. In responses to a post-test questionnaire, men reported significantly increased pain tolerance and decreased pain sensitivity compared to women. Echoing a frequently expressed perspective with respect to medical marijuana, Dr. Cooper asserted, “This study underscores the importance of including both men and women in clinical trials aimed at understanding the potential therapeutic and negative effects of cannabis, particularly as more people use cannabinoid products for recreational or medical purposes.”

Read more about the findings here.

The article abstract may be read here.


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