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California in Brief / SACRAMENTO

Pot reduces nerve pain, study finds

April 18, 2008|Eric Bailey

Researchers at UC Davis have concluded that medical marijuana can help blunt nerve pain stemming from a variety of causes.

The study of 38 patients experiencing neuropathic pain from diabetes, spinal injury, multiple sclerosis and other conditions found they could reduce pain for up to five hours by smoking marijuana.

Psychoactive side-effects were "minimal and well-tolerated," according to the study, published online in the Journal of Pain. But the UC Davis scientists did express caution about potential cognitive effects, because patients sometimes scored lower on tests of memory and problem solving.

The study is the second in a little more than a year to find that pain can be blunted by marijuana, which is legal with a doctor's recommendation in California and a dozen other states. A study at UC San Francisco determined that cannabis can assuage neuropathic pain from HIV-AIDS.

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