Pain associated with integumentary wounds is highly prevalent, yet it remains an area of significant unmet need within health care. Currently, systemically administered opioids are the mainstay of treatment. However, recent publications are casting opioids in a negative light given their high side effect profile, inhibition of wound healing, and association with accidental overdose, incidents that are frequently fatal. Thus, novel analgesic strategies for wound-related pain need to be investigated. The ideal methods of pain relief for wound patients are modalities that are topical, lack systemic side effects, noninvasive, self-administered, and display rapid onset of analgesia. Extracts derived from the cannabis plant have been applied to wounds for thousands of years. The discovery of the human endocannabinoid system and its dominant presence throughout the integumentary system provides a valid and logical scientific platform to consider the use of topical cannabinoids for wounds. We are reporting a prospective case series of three patients with pyoderma gangrenosum that were treated with topical medical cannabis compounded in nongenetically modified organic sunflower oil. Clinically significant analgesia that was associated with reduced opioid utilization was noted in all three cases. Topical medical cannabis has the potential to improve pain management in patients suffering from wounds of all classes.
Keywords: CBD; THC; Topical medical cannabis; endocannabinoid system; medical cannabis oil; opioid-sparing analgesia; pyoderma gangrenosum; volitional incident pain; wound-related pain.
Copyright © 2017 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.