Follow-up research is started into the effect of cannabis oil on neuropathic pain

The Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and the Center for Human Drug Research (CHDR) in the Netherlands have started a study into the efficacy of medicinal cannabis oil and its effects on neuropathic pain. The research involves 200 pain patients who are administered oil made from Bedrocan® cannabis, and it is expected to be completed in two years.

The study is a follow-up to an earlier study, which aimed to establish an the ideal ratio between THC and CBD for pain treatment. That study among healthy volunteers has now been completed, but the results have not yet been published. From the results, however, it has emerged that follow-up research should be started using a cannabis product with high THC. In this case, oil was chosen as the product form. Medical cannabis oil with high THC is available on prescription in the Netherlands at various compounding pharmacies.

Monique van Velzen
Monique van Velzen

Research manager Monique van Velzen from the LUMC is supervising the research.

How important is this research?

“We think this could be an important study to predict which patients might benefit from THC oil for their pain complaints. We want to treat patients in a more targeted manner, and for this, we will have to understand which types of patients have a greater chance of a positive effect from this drug.”

Participants wanted

Participants are still being sought for the research with cannabis oil. Van Velzen: “We are looking for Dutch patients with nerve pain caused by nerve damage or a brain disorder.”

It is difficult to say exactly what conditions a participant must meet: “We prefer to discuss that with the patients themselves, because it is not very easy to summarize. In any case, participants must be adults and diagnosed with chronic neuropathic pain,” says Van Velzen.

It is estimated that 1 in 5 Dutch adults suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain. A significant portion of them suffer from neuropathic pain.

Why was cannabis oil chosen as the administration form and not a vaporizer?

“This has several reasons: oil is easier to dose, easier to use, and more pleasant for patients. In addition, it is a more pharmaceutical approach, it has less stigma and we think patients can integrate this better into their daily lives.”

How high are the expectations of the outcome?

“Naturally, we expect that the outcome may have an impact on treatment recommendations for patients with chronic pain. More targeted treatment is friendlier to the patient, more economically optimal and leads to better quality of care.”

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