In sickle cell disease (SCD), distorted (sickle-shaped) red blood cells cause chronic pain and inflammation by impairing blood flow. More than one third of SCD patients use some form of cannabis for pain relief. Cannabinoids (the active agents in marijuana) have been shown effective for chronic pain and inflammation in non-SCD disease, but whether they help SCD patients is not yet known.
Susanna Curtis, M.D., has received a five-year, $970,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a placebo-controlled, double-blind study to assess whether the oral drug dronabinol can alleviate SCD-related pain and inflammation. Dronabinol is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary active ingredient in cannabis. The eight-week study will also evaluate dronabinol’s impact on the quality of life of SCD patients and whether the drug is safe and well tolerated.
Dr. Curtis is an assistant professor of medicine at Einstein and is an attending physician at Montefiore. (1 K23 HL151884-01A1)
Posted on: Thursday, November 04, 2021