A PERTH man is sleeping better after taking part in a medicinal cannabis trial for chronic pain.
Reymond Messer, who has had chronic pain since injuring his back in 2005, took part in a Zelira Therapeutics study with Emerald Clinics in Perth and Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital.
Mr Messer was part of a group of chronic non-cancer pain patients who were long-term, high-dose users of opioid-based medications.
The trial participants took a daily dose of a cannabinoid medication in addition to their regular medication, and experienced reduced levels of pain, stress, depression and anxiety after two weeks with no serious adverse events.
“This is one of the first clinical trials to assess the safety of medicinal cannabis on patients whose pain is so debilitating that they need to take large doses of opioid medications to get through the day,” Zelira’s managing director Richard Hopkins said.
“Not only did we find that our cannabinoid formulation is safe for them to use and did not result in any serious side effects, but we have also seen promising positive effects on their physical and mental wellbeing.”
Mr Messer said he had been involved in a previous medicinal cannabis trial but found the benefits did not outweigh the cost of that medication.
He said while this year’s trial did not greatly affect his pain levels either, his doctor had since doubled the dosage.
“It relaxed me a bit but I didn’t really benefit,” he said. “What I’m on now is helping me sleep a bit better.”
The Two Rocks resident said he injured his back while working for the Australian Defence Force at Pearce in 2005.
“I slipped and fell into a hole; it compacted my spine,” he said.
“I’ve got scar tissue on my nerves – it caused degeneration of my spine. It’s not going to get any better.”
Mr Messer said he had learnt to work his life around the pain, which was usually about 6 out of 10, but struggled to drive long distances.
“If I drive to Busselton, it takes me a day to get over it,” he said.
The trial involved blood tests and questionnaires to assess how the drug affected the patients’ pain levels as well as anxiety, stress and depression.
Principal investigator and St Vincent’s addiction medicine department director Yvonne Bonomo said the trial showed the medication, ZTL-103 was “safe and well-tolerated in patients diagnosed with chronic pain who were also taking high oMEDD (oral morphine equivalent daily doses)”.
Dr Hopkins said the results supported efforts to develop cannabis medicines to help people looking for alternative methods to manage their chronic pain.
“Prescription opioids for treating chronic pain are linked to serious side effects including physical…