By Professor Jean Costentin*
Translation of the CNPERT Letter CXXVI, published on January 2022,
From tenuous elements, cannabis and/or its THC have been presented as sovereign remedies against chronic pain that disrupts the lives of 20% of our fellow citizens.
The following have tried to substantiate this thesis: – enthusiastic declarations of patients suffering from chronic pain, who praised the relief that the cannabis procured to them (very tempted that they were to see transforming what they were using as a drug into a medicine); – repeated announcements from the mediaphere, always quick to sing the praises to this drug; – militant actions in the National Assembly of a physician deputy who has since been appointed Minister of Health; – vehement declarations of addictologists, subverted by the “sixty-eighty” ideology, expressing themselves completely outside their field of expertise; – the militancy of a farmer from Creuse spokesman of the REM, impatient to cover with cannabis the agricultural lands of his department; – the capitalist groups which, like pigs sniffing truffles, are excited by the smell of substantial royalties; – and, of course, a bunch of gullible suckers.
These eminent persons, who had long been vehemently holding forth about this analgesic property of cannabis, should find themselves disappointed by the reading of the data, analyzed by Li Wang et al. (Medical cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic noncancer and cancer related pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials) published in the British Medical Journal (2021, 27, 115-122).
This meta-analysis, performed in comparison with a placebo, is based on 32 studies which included 5,200 adults. Cannabis has, and only in 10% of the patients, only modified of one point the perception of pain (which the patient evaluated on a visual analogic scale, rated from 1 to 10). No significant functional improvement was observed, since in the 4% of patients who did experience one, it was only of 10 points on a scale of 36 to 100 points.
The quality of sleep of the patients was improved in only 6% of patients.
No significant improvement had been observed in the emotional functioning neither in the various components of social life.
These eminently modest “benefits” were at the cost of various side effects: cognitive problems (in 2% of users), nausea, vomiting (in 5%), drowsiness (in 5%), dizziness (in 9% for a treatment of less than 3 months and in 28% for a treatment of more than 3 months).
All this fuss, all these irresponsible statements, all these false hopes to end up with this! The mountain of their emphasis gives birth to a tiny mouse.
Let’s not expect from these public abusers the slightest retraction. They are already satisfied with having set in motion the machine to legalize the so-called “therapeutic” cannabis. They know that once they have achieved this first objective, they will be able to push for the legalization of cannabis, which they scandalously call “recreational”. All the nations that have legalized cannabis have previously satisfied, as a matter of course, the adoubt of cannabis as a medicine. We can be deceived by surprise, but in this case, it will not be allowed to use this explanation, the maneuver being disclosed.
(*) Jean COSTENTIN is professor of pharmacology, Member of the National Academies of Medicine and Pharmacy, Director of the clinical neurobiology unit of the University Hospital of Rouen (France), Former Director of the neuro-psycho-pharmacology unit of the CNRS in Rouen, President of the CNPERT (Centre National de Prévention, d’Etude et de Recherche sur les Toxicomanies.
Original article: “Une indication majeure du shit qui fait pschitt ! (dans les douleurs chroniques)”
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