Analysis: Oral THC Administration Associated with Pain Mitigation in Elderly Patients

Bonn, Germany: A majority of seniors prescribed oral THC (dronabinol) for pain management report that it provides them with symptomatic improvements, according to data published in the journal of the German Medical Association.

Researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of dronabinol in 1,515 pain patients ages 75 or older. Nearly six-out-of-ten subjects reported improvements in their symptoms following cannabinoid therapy, with 22 percent of patients reporting that their condition was “notably improved.”

The most commonly reported side-effects were dizziness and fatigue. 

Dronabinol recently became approved in Germany as a prescription medicine. The product has been FDA approved in the United States since 1985, although it is not explicitly approved in this country for pain management. 

Recent population surveys indicate that a growing percentage of older adults are turning to cannabis for therapeutic purposes, and that fewer seniors perceive significant risks associated with its use.

Full text of the study, “Interim results of the survey accompanying the prescription of cannabis-based medicines in Germany regarding dronabinol,” appears in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. Additional information regarding cannabis use and seniors is available in the NORML fact sheet, “Cannabis Use by Older Populations.