According to a new study, people who suffer from chronic pain may find small-to-moderate pain relief for the short-term when using certain prescription cannabis products with higher THC to CBD levels.

Unfortunately, there also some worrisome side effects and the study raises the questions about risks of using medical marijuana for mood and anxiety disorders.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the chemical compound in the marijuana plant that makes you high. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the second most prevalent active chemical in cannabis, but it does not make you high. Both have been associated with pain relief.

“The findings are in line with what we know,” said Yasmin Hurd, a professor of pharmacological sciences, neuroscience and psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

“There is some indication of weak-to-moderate pain relief depending on the THC/CBD ratio, but there is an increase of side effects such as dizziness and sedation,” said Hurd, who is the director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai and was not involved with the study.

However, no such benefits were found from any over-the-counter THC or CBD extracts from the whole marijuana plant.

“Unfortunately, the available evidence is largely inconclusive, due to the small number of studies and the variation in cannabinoid products among these studies,” said Jodi Gilman, an associate professor at the Center for Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School who was also not involved with the study.

“Large, placebo-controlled trials in hundreds of patients who are all taking the same exact product at the same doses are needed to understand the benefits and risks of cannabis for chronic pain,” Gilman added.

The review analyzed 25 clinical trials and observational studies involving nearly 15,000 people.

“While the amount of pain relief is not substantial, individuals suffering from chronic pain might think that it is worth the risk. Clearly, CBD has a much greater safety profile than THC so it is important that high-THC products be carefully monitored,” Hurd said.

In addition, Hurd warned, “it is not suitable to smoke ‘recreational’ cannabis as medicine.” Just like tobacco, smoking weed can damage the lungs and increase the risk of respiratory diseases.

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