A new review has shown that further research is needed into the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of acute pain.
The only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the scientific, medical and psychological exploration of clinical cannabis cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, and the biomedical mechanisms of endocannabinoids has published a review and meta-analysis of the use of cannabis for treating acute pain.
The systematic review and meta-analysis, published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, showed a small but significant reduction in subjective pain scores for cannabinoid treatment compared to placebo in patients experiencing acute pain.
First of its kind review
The article entitled ‘Cannabinoids in the Management of Acute Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis’ was co-authored by Herman Johal, PhD, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada and colleagues from McMaster University and Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Thunder Bay.
The researchers included six trials in their study, five using oral cannabinoids, and one using intramuscular cannabinoids. They reported a significant difference in effect size between the oral and non-oral routes of administration, with intramuscular cannabinoids yielding a significant reduction in pain relative to placebo. There was no difference in effect between oral cannabinoids and placebo.
The study states: ‘This study has several limitations. Our review was limited by the overall quality and quantity of the available trials, as well as inconsistency in the reporting of outcome and AE reporting. The majority of studies included in this review were of relatively small sample size and largely underpowered. There was significant heterogeneity in the studies included. Variation existed in the type, dosage, timing, duration, and route of cannabinoid used.’
No increase in serious adverse events suggested the safety of using cannabinoids to treat acute pain.
Editor-in-Chief Daniele Piomelli, PhD University of California-Irvine, School of Medicine, states: “The usefulness of cannabis-derived medicines in the treatment of pain, both acute and chronic, is still vigorously debated. The meta-analysis conducted in this study reinforces the need for more rigorous studies to assess whether cannabis might be effective in the treatment of acute pain conditions.”