Cannabis may help to treat chronic pain. It may work better for neuropathic pain than for other kinds of chronic pain.
Researchers compared patients with chronic pain who used cannabis with patients who continued with their regular treatment program (and didn’t take cannabis). They measured patients’ pain scores and found that:
This was a systematic review. A systematic review summarises all available studies on a health care intervention to provide high quality evidence on the effectiveness of that health care intervention.
Who participated in the study? This review included 43 studies (randomized trials) involving 2437 people who had chronic pain of any kind (both cancer and non-cancer) lasting for more than 3 months.
How was the study done? The reviewers looked at studies that compared cannabis with placebo or an active drug.
Comparison: Placebo or active comparator
Cannabis interventions: Any kind of cannabis, including synthetic cannabis, by any route of administration.
Placebo: A pill/needle/lotion containing an inactive substance that has no effect on the outcome. Sometimes, it is referred to as a “sugar pill.” The placebo did not have to be identical to the cannabis.
Active comparator: weak opioids or naproxen
Some studies had shown that cannabis might be effective for treating chronic pain. There is a lot of interest in society about whether cannabis can help treat pain and if we should use it. The researchers wanted to look at all the most recent evidence to see whether cannabis is effective for treating chronic pain.
This Evidence Summary is based on the following article:
Aviram J, Samuelly-Leichtag G. Efficacy of Cannabis-Based Medicines for Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Physician. 2017 Sep;20(6):E755-E796. PubMed
Published: Thursday, July 26, 2018