Medical Marijuana and Chronic Pain: a Review of Basic Science and Clinical Evidence

Abstract

Cannabinoid compounds include phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and synthetics. The two primary phytocannabinoids are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), with CB1 receptors in the brain and peripheral tissue and CB2 receptors in the immune and hematopoietic systems. The route of delivery of cannabis is important as the bioavailability and metabolism are very different for smoking versus oral/sublingual routes. Gold standard clinical trials are limited; however, some studies have thus far shown evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for some cancer, neuropathic, spasticity, acute pain, and chronic pain conditions.

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Bjorn Jensen, Jeffrey Chen, Tim Furnish, and Mark Wallace each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Mark Wallace.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Anesthetic Techniques in Pain Management

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Jensen, B., Chen, J., Furnish, T. et al. Medical Marijuana and Chronic Pain: a Review of Basic Science and Clinical Evidence. Curr Pain Headache Rep 19, 50 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-015-0524-x

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Keywords

  • Medical marijuana
  • Chronic pain
  • Cannabis
  • Phytocannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Neuropathic pain