McDonagh MS, Wagner J, Ahmed AY, et al. Living Systematic Review on Cannabis and Other Plant-Based Treatments for Chronic Pain – Quarterly Progress Report: February 2021. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville, MD (Systematic review)
In an effort to address the opioid epidemic, a prominent goal of current research is to identify alternative treatments with equal or better benefits for pain while avoiding potential unintended consequences that could result in harms. A systematic review assessing the effectiveness and harms of plant-based treatments for chronic pain conditions is underway. The review will be "living" in the sense that it will identify and synthesize recently published literature on an ongoing basis. For the purposes of this review, plant-based compounds (PBCs) included are those that are similar to opioids in effect and that have the potential for addiction, misuse, and serious adverse effects; other PBCs such as herbal treatments are not included. The intended audience includes policy and decision makers, funders and researchers of treatments for chronic pain, and clinicians who treat chronic pain. The quarterly progress reports present the accumulating evidence and are updated on a regular basis. They include a description of the available studies and an appraisal of study quality. Overview This is the second progress report for an ongoing living systematic review on plant-based treatments for chronic pain. The ensuing systematic review will synthesize evidence on the benefits and harms of cannabinoids and other plant-based compounds (PBCs) such as kratom used to treat chronic pain, addressing the impact on pain and function, as well as concerns about adverse effects, abuse, misuse, dependence, and addiction. The purpose of this progress report is to describe the body of literature identified thus far. This report will be periodically updated with new studies as they are published and identified, culminating in a systematic review that provides a synthesis of the accumulated evidence
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Comments from MORE raters

Physician rater

This “review” includes studies of interventions that have quite different mechanisms of action. In my opinion, their combination in a single review may easily lead to scientifically inappropriate conclusions.

Physician rater

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