A cannabis mouth spray can help reduce the level of pain cancer patients go through by 30 percent, a study has found.
Researchers from Edinburgh University used the cannabis-based spray, like a mouth freshener, on 177 cancer patients, who had not been helped by morphine or other medicines, and found that it reduced the level of pain by 30 percent.
The spray was developed so that it did not affect the mental state of patients in the way using cannabis would, and researchers said their findings did not justify smoking cannabis, as this could increase the risk of cancer.
They said the spray worked by activating molecules in the body called cannabinoid receptors, which can stop nerve signals being sent to the brain from the site of pain.
"These early results are very promising and demonstrate that cannabis-based medicines may deliver effective treatment for people with severe pain," the BBC quoted Professor Marie Fallon, of the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre at Edinburgh University, as saying.
"Prescription of these drugs can be very useful in combating debilitating pain, but it is important to understand the difference between their medical and recreational use," Fallon added.
The findings were reported in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.