Using Cannabis to Treat Cancer-Related Pain

Semin Oncol Nurs. 2019 Jun;35(3):300-309. doi: 10.1016/j.soncn.2019.04.012. Epub 2019 Apr 30.


Objective: To describe which cannabinoids and terpenes are effective for treating pain.

Data sources: Peer-reviewed articles, book chapters.

Conclusion: Cannabis and cannabinoid medicines, as modulators of the endocannabinoid system, offer novel therapeutic options for the treatment of cancer-related pain, not only for patients who do not respond to conventional therapies, but also for patients who prefer to try cannabis as a first treatment option.

Implications for nursing practice: Understanding the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids, terpenes, routes of administration, potential drug interactions, clinical implications, and potential side effects ensures nurses can better assist patients who use cannabis for the treatment of cancer pain.

Keywords: Cancer; Cannabis; Endocannabinoid; Marijuana; Nursing; Pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Pain / nursing
  • Cancer Pain / therapy*
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use
  • Cannabis* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Terpenes / therapeutic use


  • Cannabinoids
  • Terpenes