New Non-Addictive, Anti-Pain Compound Discovered in Marijuana

While the use of marijuana has been studied in the past for the treatment of many health conditions and especially pain-related disorders, exciting new research has identified a before-unknown compound in cannabis that can significantly alleviate inflammation, without causing people to feel “high.”

Published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, researchers at the Institute for Drug Research, Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology have discovered a new compound in cannabis, which they called HU-444. HU-444 demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory effects without the likelihood of the mind-altering effects commonly attributed to cannabis use. The study authors “believe that HU-444 represents a potential novel (treatment) for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.”

As most people are aware, the controversy over the use of marijuana has been longstanding, but polls show a continued increase in support of it over the years. In a Gallup poll asking Americans: “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” 58 percent of Americans said “yes” this year compared to 51 percent a year earlier. It has been a mostly linear increase since 1969 when Gallup first started polling Americans about legalizing marijuana. At that time, only 12 percent thought marijuana use should be legal.

Perhaps the increasing number of studies around marijuana’s potential for medical applications has played a role in the support for legalizing the herb. New Canadian research might help further that trend. In a new study published in the Journal of Pain by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, researchers showcased the results of the world’s first long-term study of marijuana for pain to determine the potential for harmful side-effects from long-term use.  The scientists dispensed a standardized cannabis product with 12.5 percent THC to 215 chronic pain sufferers who had not used cannabis prior to the study. While there are hundreds of different naturally-occurring compounds found in marijuana, or Cannabis sativa, as it is technically called, the best known therapeutic one is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The researchers then followed the study participants for one year to determine whether there was any potential for negative side-effects of using the herb in the long-term. Two hundred and sixteen additional chronic pain sufferers acted as controls for the study. While some of the cannabis users experienced mild side-effects of long-term use, there was no increased risk of serious adverse effects.

Perhaps one of the biggest deterrents to legalizing marijuana use has been public concern over the potential for negative side effects, but this new, long-term study suggests at least some of the concern is unfounded. And, bearing in mind the potential side effects of pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of pain, medical marijuana warrants further consideration.

For example, a commonly-used arthritis drug known as Celebrex was initially banned because it was linked to the deaths of many people, most likely because it increased heart attack risk. The drug is back in pharmacies, although the formulation appears to be identical to the one that caused fatalities. One study found that people who take 400 milligrams of Celebrex twice a day have three times the risk of having heart attacks, other heart problems, strokes or cardiovascular disease death, compared with people who don’t take the drug. People who take 200 milligrams twice daily have double the risk.

Obviously, cannabis is not suitable for everyone suffering from pain. Those with a history of addiction should avoid it. And, while low doses have been found to improve anxiety, higher doses may aggravate the condition.  But, the growing body of research about its potential for medicinal benefits and the new long-term research showcasing few negative side-effects suggests that marijuana’s acceptance will likely continue its upward trend.

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Photo Credit: Bogdan

178 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hillabout a year ago

Why can't they take what's beneficial and put it into a form that is not an intoxicant?

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Gerald L.
Gerald Labout a year ago

Bad News for Big Pharma & the Disease Establishment

Tylenol based narcotics are a disease perpetuating substance in itself. It is derived from toxic methanol which can onset metabolic acidosis as well as polyglycol. The more you use, the likely chance of kidney and liver dysfunction. Note they all end in ol.

Ingested ol goes through a metabolic and Bio-chemical conversion to Formic acid in the liver, then metabolizes to Lactic acid in all your cells. Most heavy users of ol based narcotics for pain will likely remember CF (chronic fatigue) setting in, then likely FM (fibromyalgia) followed along, described as over-lapping symptoms.

Lactic acid is what causes the muscle pain in excessive workouts that is common amongst athletes. Oxycocet and Percocet are Tylenol based (acetaminophen). I have observed this in many people suffering pain from work injuries, my own observational fish bowl, along with being poisoned by methanol from a Pulp Mill Emissions Exposure.

Anyone needing pain medication should research this option, and talk to their Pain Medication Specialist or prescribing MD about trying this new compound in cannabis.

Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue rob your quality of life. I refer to it as Tylenol based drug makers “pharming fibromyalgia”, an endless cash cow.

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Amy Thompson
Amy Thompsonabout a year ago

These findings are not surprising, but it's good to have this concrete validation. Alternatives to the current prescription drugs for pain relief are so important. Thousands die yearly from accidental overdoses, drug interactions, addictions, etc. that are directly attributed to the available prescription drugs. Marijuana is a natural remedy for many ailments and should be treated as such, without the attached stigmas and criminalization!!

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Donald M.
Donald Mabout a year ago

Someone needs to send this article to Governor Chris Christie

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Sara G.
Sara Gabout a year ago

My instincts tell me that anything that grows naturally is better for me than something out of a pharmaceutical laboratory. I'd give it a shot.

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Jennifer Manzi
Jennifer Manziabout a year ago

Wait wah? Cannabis isn't addictive, and non psychoactive compounds (CBD) found within aren't a new discovery.

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Teresa Fazackerley
Teresa Fazackerleyabout a year ago

thank you

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Sandy Faison
Sandy Fabout a year ago

Thank you, I will keep my mind open to the idea. I see value in legalizing and I don't have to partake if I don't want too. Increased income certainly possible and if it really aids in pain relief, why not?

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Feather W.
Feather Wabout a year ago

a good alternative to pharmacy meds...

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