Clinical Research Evidence Supporting Administration and Dosing Recommendations of Medicinal Cannabis as Analgesic in Cancer Patients

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The analgesic potential of Cannabis sativa L.—based medicinal cannabis products for treatment of cancer associated chronic pains has gained increased interest in recent years. To ensure a controlled distribution of these products and investigate their therapeutic potential, several countries have established so-called pilot trials. Many doctors, however, are hesitant to prescribe medicinal cannabis primarily due to lack of research evidence regarding the products’ efficacy, safety and thus questionable dosing guidelines. This review aims to elucidate clinical research supporting administration of medicinal cannabis in cancer patients for analgesic purposes. The cannabinoids’ effects on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its implication in pain regulation is included to illustrate the complexity related to this research field. Published clinical studies on medicinal cannabis primarily consist of observational studies and only one pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT), where more RCTs exist on the cannabis-based product, Sativex® (GW Pharma Ltd., Cambridge, UK). The studies indicate analgesic potential, however non-significantly, for most patients and with acceptable safety profile. Summarizing, high-quality RCTs are scarce in this research field, and the limitations of the observational studies complicates interpretation of clinical outcomes. Despite discrepancy among the studies, they do show indications for administration and dosing regimens providing analgesic effects for some cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number307
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number1
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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© 2022 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • administration, cancer pain, cannabinoid-based medicine, clinical evidence, dosing, endocannabinoid system, medicinal cannabis

ID: 332996839