Pain is one of the leading causes people cite for their use of marijuana as a therapeutic agent. However, a recent study suggests that daily use of marijuana may increase sensitivity to pain. Similar findings were noted for people who smoke only tobacco. The group showing the greatest sensitivity to pain was for those who consume both marijuana and tobacco when compared to non-users of either product.
Researchers (Zhang, J et.al.) found that the control group of non-users had a pain tolerance that was four times that of the marijuana and tobacco group. When compared to the marijuana only and tobacco only groups, the control group’s pain tolerance was twice that of these individual groups. Tolerance was measured using a “cold pressor test” (CPT) where a subject places a hand or foot into near freezing water and then timed on how long they can keep it there. The average time for the control group was 105 seconds, marijuana / tobacco = 26 seconds, marijuana only = 46 seconds and tobacco only = 45 seconds.
The authors cited previous research findings that supports the position that marijuana use adversely effects pain tolerance. While this was a small-scale study of only 112 individuals, it stresses the need for more research to fully understand the association between pain management and using marijuana as a therapeutic agent.
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