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Medicinal cannabis and the treatment of chronic pain

The Lambert Initiative is researching the application of phytocannabinoids to assist in the treatment and management of chronic and neuropathic pain.

Our Research

Cannabidiol for chronic pain caused by spinal cord injury 

This research project will investigate the chronic pain that commonly occurs after spinal cord injury.

The first part of the study will compare brain images of individuals who develop chronic pain after spinal cord injury to those who do not. This will help determine underlying brain changes responsible for the chronic neuropathic pain. In the second part of the study, a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study will be used to investigate cannabidiol’s ability to reduce pain.

This is a collaboration between the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, the Brain and Mind Centre and the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Sydney.

Chief Investigator:  Professor Luke Henderson (Brain and Mind Centre, School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney)

Research Team: Professor Iain McGregor (Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney), Dr Elizabeth Cairns (Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney), and Dr Sachin Shetty (Prince of Wales hospital).

If you are interested in participating in this study, register your interest by contacting Professor Henderson by phone (02 9351 7063) or email (

Cannabis in a mouse neuropathic pain model (completed, 2018)


Cannabis and THC have efficacy against neuropathic pain, however, this is hampered by their side effects. It has been suggested that co-administration with CBD might enhance the analgesic actions of THC and minimise its deleterious side effects. We examined the basis for this phytocannabinoid interaction in a mouse model of neuropathic pain.

Results: We found that THC and CBD reduced neuropathic pain. CBD had no adverse side effects. The 1:1 combination of THC and CBD synergistically reduced neuropathic pain with 100-fold greater efficacy than predicted from an additive interaction. THC also synergistically enhanced the efficacy of current first-line neuropathic pain treatments gabapentin and duloxetine.

This was a collaboration between the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney; the Kolling Institute; Royal North Shore Hospital; the Pain Management Research Institute at the University of Sydney, and the Northern Clinical School at the University of Sydney.

Research Team: Dr Chris Vaughan (University of Sydney); Professor Iain McGregor, Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold (Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)