Jury still out for cannabis in chronic pain


16 Aug 2017

There is not enough evidence to conclude whether or not cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain, a review concludes.

The findings tie in with a statement made by the Australian Rheumatology Association on the use of medicinal cannabis in musculoskeletal pain earlier this year, in which the peak body said evidence for the efficacy and safety of cannabis needed to come from randomised controlled trials.

Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine the review authors looked at the data from 27 chronic pain trials to determine the benefits and harms of cannabis preparations for treating chronic pain in adults.

They found low-strength evidence that cannabis alleviates neuropathic pain but there was insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about the use of medical marijuana for other types of pain.

However, they found “sufficient evidence” to conclude that cannabis use among the general population could increase risk for harms, including motor vehicle accidents, psychotic symptoms, and short-term cognitive impairment.

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