BOSTON, MA — Substantial clinical trial data exists to support the efficacy of medical cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain conditions, pediatric epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, according to a literature review published online ahead of print in the journal Polish Archives of Internal Medicine.
Investigators from Harvard Medical School and New York Medical College reviewed randomized, placebo-controlled studies assessing the administration of medical cannabis in various patient populations.
Authors identified “moderate to high” quality evidence in support of the efficacy of cannabis for chronic/neuropathic pain, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and seizures.
There exists “substantial evidence supporting the efficacy of medical cannabis pharmacotherapy” in the treatment of these disorders, researchers concluded. They identified “moderate” quality evidence in support of the efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and gastrointestinal disorders.
“As medical cannabis laws continue to be passed internationally, patient requests for medical cannabis will likely increase,” they concluded. “Physicians must take the same steps with these patients as they would with prescribing any other medications to ensure that medical cannabis is recommended appropriately and as safely as possible. … Cannabis is often used for recreational purposes, but this should not affect how physicians view data collected on its efficacy at treating certain medical conditions.”
Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain and other disorders: misconceptions and facts,” appears in the Polish Archives of Internal Medicine.