SEP 11, 2020 9:00 AM PDT

Frequent Cannabis Use Does Not Increase Pain Sensitivity

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers from the University of British Columbia have found that frequent cannabis use is not associated with increased pain sensitivity, unlike with long-term opioid use. 

Sustained opioid use is known to make people more reactive to pain in something known as hyperalgesia. This increased sensitivity causes them to use more of the drug to dull their pain, making them more likely to develop an addiction. Given cannabis's increasing popularity as a drug for pain relief, the researchers wanted to understand whether it has the same effects as opioids in increasing pain sensitivity. 

To test the idea, they recruited 40 people who used cannabis more than three times per week alongside 40 people who do not use the substance. Each person was subjected to a cold-pressor task test, in which they submerged their hand in icy water for a certain period of time. Measures on pain sensitivity, pain tolerance, and pain intensity were then taken from the two groups and compared.

In the end, the researchers found that people who use cannabis regularly did not experience any meaningful differences in measures of pain tolerance, sensitivity, or intensity when compared to non-users. This, they say, means that cannabis does not reduce one's sensitivity to pain and thus does not carry the same risk factors as opioids. Ultimately, they hope their findings will go on to inform health providers' pain relief recommendations. 

"This is an important distinction that care providers and patients should consider when selecting options for pain management." says lead author of the study, Michelle St. Pierre. "These findings are particularly relevant in light of recent reports of opioid overprescribing and high rates of pain in the population, as it suggests that cannabis may not carry the same risk of hyperalgesia as opioids."

 

Sources: Neuroscience NewsThe Clinical Journal of Pain

About the Author
  • Science writer with a keen interest in behavioral biology, consciousness medicine and technology. Her current focus is how the interplay of these fields can create meaningful interactions, products and environments.
You May Also Like
APR 01, 2021
Health & Medicine
Safety and Contamination Concerns Over Hemp Products
APR 01, 2021
Safety and Contamination Concerns Over Hemp Products
  When the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the regulated production of low-THC hemp, as distinct from other cannabis plant ...
MAY 11, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Researchers Find Smoking Cannabis Impairs Vision
MAY 11, 2021
Researchers Find Smoking Cannabis Impairs Vision
Researchers from the University of Grenada in Spain have found that smoking cannabis impairs several aspects of vision i ...
JUN 02, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Can CBD Help Manage Symptoms of Diabetes?
JUN 02, 2021
Can CBD Help Manage Symptoms of Diabetes?
As cannabidiol (CBD) products become increasingly mainstream, more people are using them to manage symptoms for chronic ...
JUN 21, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Capsule Combo Could Treat Alzheimer's
JUN 21, 2021
Cannabis Capsule Combo Could Treat Alzheimer's
Researchers led by Curtin University in Australia have developed tiny cannabidiol (CBD) capsules that could one day be u ...
JUN 22, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Report Finds Most First-Time Cannabis Users are Women
JUN 22, 2021
Report Finds Most First-Time Cannabis Users are Women
Chicago-based cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabis-focused market research organization, Brightfield Group, has published a ne ...
JUL 01, 2021
Health & Medicine
Cannabis Can Ease Symptoms in Women WIth Gynecological Cancers
JUL 01, 2021
Cannabis Can Ease Symptoms in Women WIth Gynecological Cancers
A small study has shown that cannabis can help reduce unpleasant symptoms in women with gynecological cancers. The five ...
Loading Comments...