Review: Oral Cannabinoids Reduce Feelings of Acute Pain

Hamilton, Canada: The administration of oral preparations of THC and other agonists reduces sensations of acute pain, according to a review of placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Investigators with McMaster University in Ontario, Canada reviewed the results of six clinical trials involving 678 participants. Subjects in the trials primarily received oral preparations of synthetic forms of THC (e.g., nabilone) or placebo. None of the studies included in the review assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis – which has been shown repeatedly to mitigate pain symptoms in controlled clinical settings.

Authors of the review concluded that cannabinoids possess “a statistically significant treatment effect” in acute pain patients compared to placebo. “Our review highlights the need for further research to investigate the optimal route and composition of cannabinoids in the acute pain setting, including large, high-quality randomized clinical trials to better understand the risks and benefits of cannabinoids in this patient population.”

Full text of the study, “Cannabinoids in the management of acute pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Additional information on cannabis and chronic pain management is available from NORML online.