A pill form of marijuana may work just as well to relieve pain as the smoked form, but with fewer side effects, new research suggests.
In the study, people who either smoked marijuana or took the drug dronabinol — a pill that contains the active ingredient of marijuana — were able to hold their hands in a bath of ice water (showing that they could tolerate the pain of the cold temperature) for longer than participants who took a placebo.
What's more, the pain-reducing effect of dronabinol lasted longer than that of smoking marijuana, the researchers said. While smoking the drug decreased pain sensitivity for about 2.5, the pill continued to have pain-reducing effects for about 4.5 hours. However, analgesic effects of the pill took about an hour to kick in, compared with about 15 minutes for smoking marijuana.