Background: Cannabinoids are often prescribed for neuropathic pain, but the evidence-based recommendation is 'weak against'.
Objectives: The aim was to examine the effect of two cannabinoids and their combination in peripheral neuropathic pain.
Methods: This was a randomized, double-blind, trial with treatment arms for cannabidiol (CBD), tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC), CBD and THC combination (CBD/THC), and placebo in a 1:1:1:1 ratio and flexible drug doses (CBD 5-50 mg, THC 2.5-25 mg, and CBD/THC 5 mg/2.5 mg-50 mg/25 mg). Treatment periods of 8-week duration were proceeded by 1 week for baseline observations. Patients with painful polyneuropathy, post-herpetic neuralgia and peripheral nerve injury (traumatic or surgical) failing at least one previous evidence-based pharmacological treatment were eligible for inclusion. The primary outcome was the change in weekly average of daily pain measured with a numeric rating scale (NRS). Trail Making Test (TMT) was used as one of the tests of mental functioning.
Results: In all, 145 patients were included in the study of which 118 were randomized and 115 included in the intention-to-treat analysis. None of the treatments reduced pain compared to placebo (p = 0.04-0.60). Effect sizes as estimated in week 8 (positive values worse and negative better than placebo) were CBD mean 1.14 NRS points (95% CI 0.11-2.19), THC 0.38 (CI -0.65 to 1.4) and CBD/THC -0.12 (-1.13 to 0.89).
Conclusions: CBD, THC and their combination did not relieve peripheral neuropathic pain in patients failing at least one previous evidence-based treatment for neuropathic pain.
© 2022 The Authors. European Journal of Pain published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Pain Federation - EFIC ®.