Efficacy of two cannabis based medicinal extracts for relief of central neuropathic pain from brachial plexus avulsion: results of a randomised controlled trial.Pain 2004; 112(3):299-306PAIN
The objective was to investigate the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines for treatment of chronic pain associated with brachial plexus root avulsion. This condition is an excellent human model of central neuropathic pain as it represents an unusually homogenous group in terms of anatomical location of injury, pain descriptions and patient demographics. Forty-eight patients with at least one avulsed root and baseline pain score of four or more on an 11-point ordinate scale participated in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, three period crossover study. All patients had intractable symptoms regardless of current analgesic therapy. Patients entered a baseline period of 2 weeks, followed by three, 2-week treatment periods during each of which they received one of three oromucosal spray preparations. These were placebo and two whole plant extracts of Cannabis sativa L.: GW-1000-02 (Sativex), containing Delta(9)tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):cannabidiol (CBD) in an approximate 1:1 ratio and GW-2000-02, containing primarily THC. The primary outcome measure was the mean pain severity score during the last 7 days of treatment. Secondary outcome measures included pain related quality of life assessments. The primary outcome measure failed to fall by the two points defined in our hypothesis. However, both this measure and measures of sleep showed statistically significant improvements. The study medications were generally well tolerated with the majority of adverse events, including intoxication type reactions, being mild to moderate in severity and resolving spontaneously. Studies of longer duration in neuropathic pain are required to confirm a clinically relevant, improvement in the treatment of this condition.