Cannabinoids for Acute Pain Management: Approaches and Rationale

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2024 Apr 12. doi: 10.1007/s11916-024-01252-4. Online ahead of print.


Purpose of the review: Acute pain management remains a challenge and postoperative pain is often undermanaged despite many available treatment options, also including cannabinoids.

Recent findings: In the light of the opioid epidemic, there has been growing interest in alternative care bundles for pain management, including cannabinoids as potential treatment to decrease opioid prescribing. Despite the lack of solid evidence on the efficacy of cannabinoids, their use among patients with pain, including those using opioids, is currently increasing. This use is supported by data suggesting that cannabinoids could potentially contribute to a better pain management and to a reduction in opioid doses while maintaining effective analgesia with minimum side effects. The scientific basis for supporting the use of cannabis is extensive, although it does not necessarily translate into relevant clinical outcomes. The use of cannabinoids in acute pain did not always consistently show statistically significant results in improving acute pain. Large randomized, controlled trials evaluating diverse cannabis extracts are needed in different clinical pain populations to determine safety and efficacy.

Keywords: Acute pain management; Cannabidiol; Cannabinoids; Tetrahydrocannabinol.

Publication types

  • Review