Panel: ‘Weak’ evidence supports using medical cannabis to treat chronic pain

An international panel of experts reported that non-inhaled medical cannabis or cannabinoids were associated with modest benefits in patients with chronic pain.

Heretofore, most research has focused on the consequences of recreational cannabis use, Jason Busse, DC, PhD, a panel member and associate director of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research in Ontario, Canada, and associate professor of anesthesia, said in a press release.

“The increasing legalization of medical cannabis globally, escalating use by patients, lack of training in the use of medical cannabis or cannabinoids during formal medical education, and inconsistent guidance from professional associations and federal agencies have led to confusion regarding the role of medical cannabis in the management of chronic pain,” Busse and colleagues wrote in The BMJ.

The researchers used the GRADE approach to analyze a linked series of four systematic reviews that examined the benefits, harms, patient values and preferences regarding medical cannabis or cannabinoids. The review included 32 randomized clinical trials.

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