Medicinal cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain

Luke A Henderson, Vicki Kotsirilos, Elizabeth A Cairns, Alister Ramachandran, Chris C Peck, Iain S McGregor
2021 Australian Journal of General Practice  
Chronic pain is a major health issue, adversely affecting millions of Australians and costing billions of dollars annually. Current pharmaceutical treatments may be limiting, and in some cases ineffective, while carrying substantial liabilities. Medicinal cannabis is an increasingly popular, albeit controversial, alternative. The aim of this article is to briefly review the scientific evidence related to medicinal cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain and update physicians on relevant
more » ... s and optimal prescribing practices. To date, >130,000 medicinal cannabis approvals have been issued in Australia, mostly by general practitioners, with approximately 65% of these to treat chronic non-cancer pain. Available products deliver Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and/or cannabidiol (CBD). Despite robust supportive data from animal models, current clinical trial evidence for THC and CBD efficacy in chronic pain is incomplete. In their prescribing decisions, doctors must balance patient demand and curiosity with caution regarding potential risks and limited efficacy.
doi:10.31128/ajgp-04-21-5939 pmid:34590094 fatcat:z52s4nc36ndsjbax42lty5bx24