Recent years have seen an increase in the adoption of cannabinoid medicines, which have demonstrated effectiveness for the treatment of chronic pain. However, the extent to which frequent cannabis use (CU) influences sensitivity to acute pain has not been systematically examined. Such a determination is clinically relevant in light of hypersensitivity to pain associated with prolonged use of other analgesics such as opioids, and reports of increased pain sensitivity to experimentally induced pain during acute cannabis intoxication. This study will explore differences on measures of pain intensity and tolerance. We hypothesize that individuals who report frequent CU will demonstrate greater experimental pain sensitivity.
Frequent cannabis users (≥3× week; n=40) and non-users (n=40) were compared on pain sensitivity, pain tolerance, and pain intensity in response to a cold-pressor task (CPT). Groups differences were examined.
Frequent CU was not associated with hyperalgesia as cannabis users and non-users did not exhibit differences on measures of pain tolerance (t(78)=-0.05, P=0.96), sensitivity (t(78)=-0.83, P=0.41), or intensity (t(78)=0.36, P=0.72).
Frequent cannabis users did not demonstrate hyperalgesia. This finding should help to inform evaluations of the relative harms and benefits of cannabis analgesic therapies.