Menu Close

Pain Severity Changes among Cannabis Consumers before and after Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy: Results from a Pilot Study Comparing Psycholytic and Psychedelic Approaches

Isabella Jimenez
University of Miami

Co-Authors: Daniella Batievsky1, Shari Kaplan1, Michelle Weiner1, Denise C. Vidot2
1Spine and Wellness Centers of America 2University of Miami

Ketamine is an anesthetic that has been proven to treat chronic pain via clinical trials; yet there is a gap in knowledge regarding the impact of the concomitant use of ketamine and cannabis on pain severity. This study examined cannabis consumers who participated in a pilot Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) intervention study to examine pain severity.

A subanalysis of regular cannabis consumers from a pilot intervention study comparing psychedelic (n=5) and psycholytic (n=5) KAP approaches were analyzed. Participants were placed into one of the two one a week for 6-weeks-long treatment groups based on the recommendations of their integrative pain management physician. The Brief Pain Inventory Short Form was administered via redcap to measure severity of pain and impact of pain on daily functioning via scores collected prior to and after participant’s first, third, and sixth treatment sessions. Data was analyzed via SAS to compare pain severity at each timepoint.

There were no statistically significant differences observed between the psychedelic and psycholytic KAP treatment’s impact on participants\’ pain severity at any time points of the study (T-1, p =.85), (T-2, p =.34), (T-3, p = .67). The psychedelic group’s mean pain severity decreased by 21.88% from baseline to treatment termination, while the psycholytic group’s mean pain severity decreased by 3.39%. Furthermore, the psychedelic group saw a steady mean decrease in pain severity over time with a halt at the third session. We noticed a 4.69% decrease between baseline and session one, no change between session one and session three, and a 18.03% decrease between session three and session six. The psycholytic group’s progression was inconsistent; the group’s mean pain severity increased by 7.81% between baseline and session 1, decreased by 32.81% between session 1 and session 3, and then increased again by 24.56% between session 3 and session 6.

Changes in pain severity was variable based on psychedelic and psycholytic treatment groups. Due to the small sample size of this pilot, it is highly recommended that future studies should examine this phenomenon among a diverse population of a sample size with enough statistical power.

Leave a Reply