Cannabis and Pain Treatment-A Review of the Clinical Utility and a Practical Approach in Light of Uncertainty

Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2020 Jan 30;11(1):e0002. doi: 10.5041/RMMJ.10385.


Over the past decade the phenomenon of cannabis as a legitimate form of treatment for pain has overwhelmed the medical community, especially in the field of pain. From a status of a schedule 1 substance having no currently accepted medical use and being considered to have high potential for abuse, its use has mushroomed to over 50,000 legal medical users per year in Israel alone. There appear to be many reasons behind this phenomenon-medical, sociological, and economical. Thus, what is cannabis? An abusive substance or a medication? Should it be incorporated into current biomedical practice, and how should it be administered? Finally, what is the evidence for the beneficial and detrimental effects of cannabis? This article reviews and discusses the current literature regarding the beneficial and the detrimental effects of medical cannabis in the treatment of pain. We further discuss the problems and challenges facing the medical community in this domain and offer a practical approach to deal with these challenges.

Publication types

  • Review