A Scoping Review on Clinical Trials of Pain Reduction With Cannabis Administration in Adults

J Clin Med Res. 2020 Jun;12(6):344-351. doi: 10.14740/jocmr4210. Epub 2020 Jun 4.


Indications of cannabis use are numerous although the indication to relief pain remains a major research interest and clinical application. Studies investigating the effect of herbal cannabis and cannabis-based medicine on neuropathic, non-neuropathic pain, acute pain and experimentally induced pain were reviewed. A search was performed in PubMed and Cochrane library for articles published in English between January 1, 2000 and May 8, 2020. The search terms used were related to cannabis and pain in adults. We identified 34 studies, of which 30 were randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs). Varying effects were identified from the RCTs, and as expected more promising effects from non-RCTs. Cannabis-based medications were found most effective as an adjuvant therapy in refractory multiple sclerosis, and weak evidence was found to support the treatment of cancer pain especially in advanced stages. Chronic rheumatic pain showed promising results. Adverse events of cannabis-based treatment were found to be more frequent with tetrahydrocannabinol herbal strains compared to other cannabis-derived products.

Keywords: Cannabidiol; Cannabis; Dose; Pain; Safety.

Publication types

  • Review