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Medicine United States Science Technology

Marijuana Provides More Pain Relief For Men Than Woman, Says Study (psypost.org) 144

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PsyPost: Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found that men had greater pain relief than women after smoking marijuana. In this study, the researchers analyzed data from two double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies looking at the analgesic effects of cannabis in 42 recreational marijuana smokers. After smoking the same amount of either an active or placebo form of cannabis, the participants immersed one hand in a a cold-water bath until the pain could no longer be tolerated. Following the immersion, the participants answered a short pain questionnaire. After smoking active cannabis, men reported a significant decrease in pain sensitivity and an increase in pain tolerance. Women did not experience a significant decrease in pain sensitivity, although they reported a small increase in pain tolerance shortly after smoking. "These findings come at a time when more people, including women, are turning to the use of medical cannabis for pain relief," said Ziva Cooper, PhD, associate professor of clinical neurobiology (in psychiatry) at CUMC. "Preclinical evidence has suggested that the experience of pain relief from cannabis-related products may vary between sexes, but no studies have been done to see if this is true in humans." You can view the results of the study online in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
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Marijuana Provides More Pain Relief For Men Than Woman, Says Study

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  • by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <mils_orgen@hotmail.com> on Friday August 19, 2016 @11:32PM (#52736647) Homepage
    Does it only work for chronic pain or something in particular? I've tried to use it in place of aspirin to little or no effect.
    • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @12:14AM (#52736761)
      Well... according to the study it works for submerging your hand in an ice water bath. If that's what you were using the aspirin for then you're in luck (provided you're male).
    • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @12:53AM (#52736855) Journal

      Does it only work for chronic pain or something in particular? I've tried to use it in place of aspirin to little or no effect.

      I snapped an achilles tendon and to control pain after the surgery, I polished off over a litre of morphine and had been using codine for several months. I had reached a level of use where the doctor told me I was facing liver or kidney failure if he proscribed any more and he suggested THC as an alternative to the pain killers.

      It worked while I healed, during rehabilitation and it took two years to be able to walk again. Six months to recover from the surgery and eighteen months learning to walk again all of which required some really painful physiotherapy. It took another four years before I could sit in a car longer than 20 minutes. I used and recognised signs of THC dependency as simply getting tired of consuming it. So it was a lot easier to overcome, reduce and tolerate the withdrawal symptoms of the THC compared to being on morphine or codine for that long which made me feel like a zombie unable to do much.

      To compare physical amounts, 25 cigarettes of tobacco as weed would take me about a week to consume to deal with chronic pain. The same amount may take over a month to consume recreationally as I am physically unable to consume that much weed.

      My experiences were that you won't get high or euphoric when you use THC as a painkiller, however the sensation of pain will reduce and that helps you to relax. It also helped maintain my appetite when I didn't feel like eating. I also suffered several spinal injuries and found pain controling that using THC left me more alert and functional compared to opiate based pain killers.

      For me pain control with THC help me through significant physical trauma, several times.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "My experiences were that you won't get high or euphoric when you use THC as a painkiller, however the sensation of pain will reduce and that helps you to relax."

        I still get high, but then again I'm knocking back dabs instead of smoking flower. But my leg and back don't bother me afterwards, so I can dig gems and enjoy some scenery while high (literally, both meanings.)

      • It works for you then, Mr Kaos, but are you a man or a women?
    • by subk ( 551165 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @02:00AM (#52736965)

      What kind of pain will it work on?

      I have found it works really well on mental anguish inflicted by pointy haired bosses and ass hat-wearing peers

    • Headaches are usually caused by dehydration or eyestrain. Smoke, much like alcohol or caffeine, will mostly make both of those things worse over time. The best medicine here is typically preventative measures; stay hydrated and remember to blink more.

    • For what it's worth, I notice that it relieves muscle pain. In fact, when I'm slightly buzzed, I can bike much faster uphill, than usual, which I believe is caused by not feeling my muscles' discomfort during physical exertion.

      • "In fact, when I'm slightly buzzed, I can bike much faster uphill, than usual..."

        No, it's because you think that 'they' are following you.

        • "In fact, when I'm slightly buzzed, I can bike much faster uphill, than usual..."

          No, it's because you think that 'they' are following you.

          Nah, this only happens late at night, when I know they aren't.

    • I am a licensed user (NM). I started on lowish doses for seizures - using a 50-50 CBD THC strain. Then for some reason a little bit of neuropathy turned violently bad. I am using strong edibles for the burning and pins+needles. Works really well for this and even more, like 100% on the restless leg (worms in knees). However I have burned myself (not serious but painful) and have stepped on spiky seedballs. OUCH! Marijuana is not a "pain killer" as in narcotic, but "imaginary" pain like neuropathy and, as
    • by dbreeze ( 228599 )

      I've had good results with some toothaches and joint pain, not so much with hemorrhoids. Yes, I'm an old fart....

    • One of the effects in relaxing muscles, so it has a large effect on back, neck, and muscle pain. All things that oddly this study had absolutely nothing to do with.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2016 @11:36PM (#52736665)

    Even marijuana is sexist!!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This study proves that women only receive 70% pain relief compared to men.
      We need to educate plants so that they don't do this.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Actually it is something to watch for. In the past because the majority of people suffering from certain conditions were female, treatments that didn't do much for men were developed and the funding the chase the last 5% of the market wasn't there.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... sexist!

      Doesn't alcohol affect women more than men?

    • by goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @01:35PM (#52738569) Journal

      Even marijuana is sexist!!!

      Don't be silly! Everyone knows that men and women are exactly the same, it's only the environment and society that thinks there's a difference. This study is obviously flawed and should be repeated until the correct result is achieved.

      </sarcasm>

  • Prolly cuz (Score:5, Funny)

    by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @11:41PM (#52736687)
    when I fire up a spliff the wife leaves the house, taking most of my pain away.
  • After smoking the same amount of either an active or placebo form of cannabis

    https://xkcd.com/1462/ [xkcd.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 20, 2016 @12:02AM (#52736721)

    "Marijuana Provides More Pain Relief For Men than Woman"... well yeah.. obviously - a woman CAUSES pain for most men. They don't do much to cure it, so this doesn't surprise me at all. And I suspect this is especially true for gay men. I hope however that these results do not rewsult in a ban or some kind of prohibition on women- I'm straight so I do need women, no matter how ineffective they are at curing pain.

  • Sorry. Could not help myself.

  • I guess the study has some value. But I have two immediate questions:

    1. Is immersing a hand in cold water equivalent to all other forms of pain? What if marijuana increases the average man's ability to tolerate cold hands 20% and has an insignificant affect for women in that area, but increases a woman's tolerance for bruises, or stomach cancer pain, more than it does for men?

    2. In my experience, women are bothered more by cold than men in general. I realize the study is supposedly double blind,
    • Just about every "pain" study uses hands in cold water (yes, even the Mythbusters). I haven't seen any study comparing pain tolerance between men and women that doesn't use this method. Further, they cap the time you can you leave your hand in the ice water, so you can't control for time for anyone who lasts the full duration.

      It's fucking stupid. There are many kinds of pain, and we already know that men and women have vastly different circulation patterns. (Men have less circulation to their extremitie

      • We want to test the subjects, not torture them.

        The only idea that could work is the rubber band, the rest of your list would cause physical damage (or at least bruises)

      • Having the bottom of the foot stabbed with a large needle.

        When I was a child, I had an ingrown toenail once, and the doctor needed to chop away some flesh. In order to numb the toe, he needed to insert the needle under the toenail. Now THAT is painful! He had two nurses hold my leg, because the pain is so bad that people involuntarily jerk their leg.

        Maybe some acids.

        Like Lysergic acid diethylamide? That would be a whole different study.

        • by GNious ( 953874 )

          I had similar surgery in a toe once, first step was 2 injections in/around the phalanges proxima, and then waiting a bit before the injection under the toenail. It was painful, but no nurses required.

          Meanwhile, I now have 11 toenails ...

          • I had a motorcycle accident and shattered my big toe- had surgery and pins to fix it. The weird thing is that later that evening when the pain blocker wore off my foot 'remembered' the surgery. I experienced the entire thing- washing, pulling off the toenail, drilling. I wished I were dead.
      • Erm, and how exactly do you measure pain in cold water?
        I have no pain if I put my hand into cold water. Icy cold is actually a pain killer. That is one reason why you put ice on bruises and other blunt injuries.
        I guess unless my whole body gets to cold, I can put my hand into icy water indefinitely (not feeling anything particular uncomfortable except the fact that it is: icy cold)

        • by narcc ( 412956 )

          Give it a try. If possible, have a few other people try as well.

          • Did that already, that is why I say: it does not hurt at all.
            And I can not imagine that a person feels "pain" when the hand is in -11 degrees cold water.

            • by narcc ( 412956 )

              My experience is dramatically different. I tried this out myself as well, and found it quite painful.

              I recommend that you have others try as well. It's entirely possible that your experience is uncommon.

              • Can you describe it?

                I mean, I thought about it, and I could imagine that I e.g. could get pain in my elbow or shoulder if my hand is to long in ice water.

                On the other hand, I did that not as an experiment but when I had a bad injury and my foot joint and once burned my forearm,.

                Perhaps the relieve of "the real pain" shadowed the potential pain of the cold.

                Anyway, regardless of that, I never experienced cold as pain, e.g. -30 degrees cold snow, is just cold snow.

                • by narcc ( 412956 )

                  I can try to describe it, though I'm not sure I'll be successful.

                  In my case, it starts off like a dull ache, then a 'burning' sensation, culminating in a stabbing kind of pain.

      • by tsotha ( 720379 )

        Just about every "pain" study uses hands in cold water (yes, even the Mythbusters).

        I would think instead of hurting your hand would go numb.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When the only too you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.

  • 7-11 (Score:5, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @12:19AM (#52736785) Journal

    It would be funny if they found out that it wasn't the cannabis that was easing the pain, but the large bag of pork rinds, Big Gulp and pint of Ben & Jerry's that you chase it with.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I don't know about pork rinds and ice cream, but I suspect a major reason that many psychotropic medications are used in pain relief isn't only due to their direct effect on pain receptors, but also because they are euphoriants which produce a mood elevation which reduces the anxiety and mental anguish associated with pain.

      People don't just feel less pain, they feel better emotionally, too, which reduces a lot of mental perception of pain and improves their overall feeling of well being.

      I think modern medic

  • Psychosomatic! (Score:1, Interesting)

    If you think there's less pain, is there, really? How do you know? Are the nerves still transmitting the same signal and the brain tunes out? Can that be measured without requiring a verbal response from the patient?

    Don't take this wrong. I firmly believe that prohibition must be abolished. I just don't like that we have to beg like this. There is no right to arbitrarily prohibit the possession and consumption of weed, especially without any scientific basis.

  • by sir-gold ( 949031 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @01:37AM (#52736915)

    When the Mythbusters used the hand-in-icewater method (to test pain tolerance differences in men and women) they had results that varied wildly between individuals, to the point where they had to disqualify some test subjects for having too high of a tolerance.. There was also a difference in pain tolerance between women who had given birth and women who hadn't.

    The effectiveness of pain medication also varies with pain tolerance. For someone with low tolerance, a single asprin will take care of whatever minor pain they have. Someone with a much higher tolerance won't "feel" the pain until it is much more severe and beyond the reach of a basic pain reliever (and will feel little to no relief as a result)

  • Science is Awesome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by skam240 ( 789197 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @02:41AM (#52737007)

    Wow, free weed and all these people have to do is put their hands in ice water? Science is awesome!

  • In other news, vaginas provide more pain relief for men.

    Sinsemilla is a female marijuana with big soft yummy sticky sexual organs. It wants male relief.

    It fucks you up and munches you out.

  • ... complain more.

    • I was just about to write the opposite: Men are cry babies. Women are prepared to take some pain. While the pacifier silences the boy, there will be no noticeable effect on the girl who had silently endured her misery in the first place.
    • Meh, women generally can take pain better than men can. If you doubt this for a second, imagine passing something the size of a bowling ball through... well, a very small orifice in your body. That's what childbirth is, and while it's still horrible in the majority of cases without an anesthetic, most women go through it anyway without major problems.

      Women complain more partially because they're allowed to without risk of social alienation, and partially because they have more to complain about - the ave

      • If you doubt this for a second, imagine passing something the size of a bowling ball through... well, a very small orifice in your body.

        Ever pass a kidney stone? I haven't but my Brother in law dose many times a year, and he's incapacitated each time. Nice little abrasive marbles, coming out of a system not designed to enlarge itself.

        Dunno if it is a good comparison, but a lot of women don't seem to be all that upset about having multiple children, but I don't know anyone who has passed a stone that looks forward to the next one.

        Regardless, the tit for tat comparisons aside, how could we make any kind of Women suffer more than men or m

  • I've heard that men in general have lower tolerance for pain, so maybe everything we take provides more pain relief. Or maybe we just inhale harder?
  • men feel pain stronger to begin with.
  • The men are lying, they're just trying to act more macho and have poorer judgement when high.
  • by spiritwave ( 4392317 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @06:29AM (#52737311) Homepage

    One critical problem with science pertaining to cannabis (the science term for marijuana, if unclear) is the unscientific factoring of three key variables.

    Intake Method (smoking versus vaporization versus edibles...):

    Any study that only relies upon smoking cannot detach the possibility (probability, or even certainty) that the act of smoking itself is the relevant issue of that research.

    When more people learn about cannabis vaporization, and how amazingly more efficient and healthy that intake method is (that efficiency being seriously great for losing wallet weight, if you will), the popularity of vaporizing cannabis logically increases upon that educational increase, so at least factoring in vaporization into cannabis research is critical for scientific accuracy.

    Intake Amount:

    Measuring intake amount in joints (or such) is scientifically reckless, because a joint can be any size (for all intents and purposes), and can contain one or more strains of varying psychoactive and other powers.

    A rigorously established "estimate" for consistent joint size has recently emerged, but not a concrete scientific measurement.

    Intake amount (which can vary dramatically) obviously is a critical factor in determining health impact for worst through best, so that recklessness is unacceptable, and places any research resulting from that recklessness firmly in the category of basically (if not utterly) useless.

    Strain Differential:

    There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different cannabis strains, and strain effects can vary dramatically between each other to a degree that can leave the user feeling like they're different drugs entirely.

    This is not just about THC and CBD amounts (the two most popular cannabinoids these days), but about the fully detailed strain signature literally involving hundreds of compounds (cannabinoids and terpenes).

    Just the psychological impact alone can vary to a degree at which generically stating 'study finds cannabis is good (or bad) for n% of people' is meaningless without scientific rigor being applied to strain consistency.

    Conclusion:

    Despite perhaps coming off as an uptight douche (certainly not my perhaps cannabis-exhaling intention), I appreciate the positive efforts in cannabis research, and I'm glad people are finding benefit from cannabis use for pain (my mom uses a very mildly vaporized "Cheese" strain daily to brilliantly manage Alzheimer's disease symptoms with some hopeful signs of even working against the disease itself – supposedly an impossibility, but recently scientifically suggested to work against the unhealthy protein buildup commonly believed to cause AD).

    I wrote this comment in hopes of doing my small-but-tractional part to help raise public awareness of the need to raise scientific awareness going forward along these research lines that are significant in tune with cannabis popularity.

    Of course, a disastrous limit against genuine cannabis research is the remaining prohibitionary elements unethically kept in place by the people controlling the illegality of cannabis – those people having a serious financial interest to demonize cannabis demonstrably with no respect for public safety.

    Anyone still believing prohibition is the right way to solve drug abuse (which is scientifically distinct from use, and is clearly a health – not criminal – issue) must understand the fact that no concrete (so credible) evidence proves literally any effectiveness from prohibition. At least nationally speaking, we don't even have a "drug free" prison system, but are expected to shell out billions of taxpayer dollars yearly for a "drug free" America.

  • This study had very few participants and therefore cannot be relied upon for anything conclusive. What it does demonstrate is a need to investigate the effects of marijuana further. In order to do so we'd need to see marijuana rescheduled. As it is now marijuana is in a class of drugs deemed having no medical use when in fact this is known to be false.

    People may debate if using marijuana medicinally is a good idea or not but we should at least allow people the ability to research this without the threat

  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @08:47AM (#52737553)

    Not to be funny, but there's a well-established phenomenon where men exhibit greater pain tolerance in the presence of a woman, but women don't exhibit similar bias in front of men. If any of the researchers were female (and from their names, some were), that would bias the results.

  • It is common knowledge that woman has more complaints of being cold than men do. Tim S.
  • Uh oh, if marijuana provides more pain relief for men than woman, it could seriously impact the job market for women looking to provide pain relief.
  • Maybe that's because "men" are more than "woman"?

  • "Marijuana provides more pain relief for men than women" does not mean "..more pain relief for men than for women"; it means "more pain relief for men than women do".

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