A study from the University of Oxford suggests that Cannabis can make pain bearable, even though the pain may not exactly reduce in intensity.
The psychoactive ingredient in cannabis was found to reduce the activity in a part of the brain connected to emotional aspects of pain.
During the study, 12 healthy men were given either a 15mg tablet of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) or a placebo. Pain was induced with the help of a dummy cream or a cream containing chili that could cause a burning sensation.
Each participant underwent four MRI scans which showed how their brain activity changed with the manner in which they perceived pain.
Dr Michael Lee, lead study author from Oxford University's Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, said: "We found that with THC, on average people didn't report any change in the burn, but the pain bothered them less. Brain imaging shows little reduction in the brain regions that code for the sensation of pain, which is what we tend to see with drugs like opiates. Instead cannabis appears to mainly affect the emotional reaction to pain in a highly variable way."