Photo by Gracie Malley
For those who suffer from diabetes, the threat of diabetic neuropathy can be a daily challenge. While it can be regulated through strictly controlling blood sugar level and living a healthy lifestyle, the symptoms are painful for the patient and can even be debilitating or fatal in some cases.
A new study written by investigators at the University of California, San Diego has proven that inhaling vaporized whole-plant cannabis is an effective treatment in mitigating the painful symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Published early this month in The Journal of Pain, the study itself utilized a randomized, double-blinded, placebo control crossover model, which examined the efficacy of using vaporized cannabis products in 16 patients who suffered from painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
The crossover model allowed the investigators to test the efficacy across three different levels of THC content, with the patients being given a placebo dose followed by cannabis vapor containing 1 percent, 4 percent and 7 percent THC in order to determine just how much is necessary to achieve some amount of pain mitigation.
The results showed that even in a short-term trial such as this, the investigators found that there was a dosage-dependent correlation between the level of THC inhaled and the levels of pain felt from the diabetic peripheral neuropathy. As the patients inhaled stronger levels of THC in the prescribed doses, the amount of pain they felt from their diabetic neuropathy would decrease accordingly.
“This small, short-term placebo-controlled trial of inhaled cannabis demonstrated a dose-dependent reduction in diabetic peripheral neuropathy pain,” the authors reported. “Overall, our finding of an analgesic effect of cannabis is consistent with other trials of cannabis in diverse neuropathic pain syndromes.”
Diabetic neuropathy isn’t the only form of neuropathy that cannabis vapor treats effectively. Additional clinical trials conducted by investigators affiliated with the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego proved that whole-plant cannabis inhalation has the potential to mitigate pain for multiple types of neuropathy, including pains related to HIV and spinal cord injury.
Israeli researchers also published a study in the Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy in which they assessed the efficacy of using the Syqe Inhaler, the first medical cannabis inhaler on the market. They also tested with whole-plant cannabis, and achieved similar, if not the same, results. The device was proven to administer “an effective, consistent and therapeutically effective dosage of cannabinoids to all participants.”
The study concluded: “This trial suggests the potential use of the Syqe Inhaler device as a smokeless delivery system of medical cannabis, producing a delta-9-THC pharmacokinetic profile with low inter-individual variation of (maximum drug/plasma concentrations), achieving pharmaceutical standards for inhaled drugs.”
Now with both an easy-to-use and effective medical device available and more research that proves that the inhalation of whole-plant cannabis is effective in mitigating many different forms of neuropathy, a whole new window of pain medical treatments could be opened.
In 2012, the American Diabetes Association reported that over nine percent of the U.S. (approximately 1.25 million people) suffers from Type 1 diabetes. With nearly half the country now having some form of legal medical cannabis available to its citizens, a large amount of people could soon have access to an effective, safe and easily-operated device to administer doses of vaporized cannabis. The inhaler even has childproof, preloaded cartridges and is 3-D printed to ensure sustainability with the environment.
Overall, this new study shows that there’s a safe and effective way to mitigate and treat one of the most prevalent forms of neuropathy that persists throughout the country. As medical science continues to research into the uses of cannabis for treatments, more will be revealed. Soon there will be even greater discoveries that could aid those in need of medical treatments such as this in the future.
Do you vape to ease your symptoms? Tell us about your experience in the comments.