According to a presentation that was recently conducted at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society (APS) in Tampa, Florida, cannabinoids could offer relief for those suffering with pain associated with oral cancer.
Brian Schmidt, DDS, MD, PhD, a professor at the New York University College of Dentistry and School of Medicine, addressed APS members regarding an innovative marijuana-derived medicine that he believes could present a promising pain relief option for oral cancer patients.
“Oral cancer is one of the most painful and debilitating of all malignancies, and opioids, the strongest pain medications we have, are an imperfect solution,” Dr. Schmidt explained. “They become dramatically less effective as tolerance to these drugs develops.”
There are clinical trials that are currently being carried out using the orally-administered cannabinoid-based spray Sativex, which is manufactured by the European-based company GW Pharmaceuticals Inc..
Oral and oropharyngeal malignancies typically initiate in the tongue, which is now measured as the most rapidly- escalating cancer in the United States.
“While it’s too early to conclude the cannabinoid medication will provide effective cancer pain relief, we do know that humans possess numerous cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, which regulate a significant amount of human physiology,” Dr. Schmidt avowed. “So, there is hope that cannabinoid-based medications can become effective pain relievers for cancer patients.”