Study supports safety of medical cannabis for chronic pain

Patients with chronic pain who medicate with cannabis were at no higher risk of serious adverse events than patients who did not take cannabis.

Researchers found the rate of serious adverse events among chronic pain patients prescribed cannabis for a year was similar to that of control patients

Cannabis is widely used by patients with chronic pain to self medicate but its long-term safety profile is not well established. 

Researchers from Canada found the rate of serious adverse events among 215 chronic pain patients prescribed cannabis for a year was similar to that of 216 control patients who did not take cannabis. 

“We found no evidence of harmful effects on cognitive function or blood tests among cannabis consumers and we observed a significant improvement in their levels of pain, symptom distress, mood and quality of life compared with controls,” says lead author Mark Ware from McGill University, Montreal. 

The results support the safety of medical cannabis under close supervision but future studies should be longer and include non-experienced users of the drug, say the authors in the Journal of Pain (online, 15 September 2015)[1]
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References

[1] Ware MA, Wang T, Shapiro S et al. Cannabis for the management of pain: assessment of safety study (COMPASS). Journal of Pain 2015. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2015.07.014.

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Citation
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, October 2015, Vol 7, No 9;7(9):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069481