Cannabis and cancer pain

Christer Sundqvist

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Cancer is often causing a decline of life quality due to the pain and suffering it is causing. An increasing number of patients are turning to cannabis and cannabinoids for management of their cancer pain and other cancer-related symptoms. Canadians have legalized medical cannabis, which provides a treatment protocol lacking robust clinical evidence.


In a recent study Canadian practice of using medical cannabis was put to a test. In an observational study of cancer patients cannabis was given over 6 months. The study demonstrated a decreased number of patients with severe pain and an increased number of patients reporting good quality of life.


Good preclinical animal data and a large body of observational evidence point to the potential efficacy of cannabinoids for cancer pain management. However, more studies are needed.

There remains a need for high-quality randomized controlled trials to properly assess the effectiveness and safety of medical cannabis.



Meng H, Dai T, Hanlon JG, Downar J, Alibhai SMH, Clarke H. Cannabis
and cannabinoids in
cancer pain management, Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative
Care: June 2020 – Volume
14 – Issue 2 -p 87-93 doi: 10.


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