Cannabis Efficacy Examined in Patients with Chronic Pain, PTSD

Benefit seen in neuropathic pain but not for PTSD
Benefit seen in neuropathic pain but not for PTSD

HealthDay News — Cannabis may alleviate neuropathic pain, but is not associated with benefit for adults with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to 2 reviews published online August 15 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Shannon M. Nugent, PhD, from the VA Portland Health Care System and Oregon Health & Science University, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the benefits of plant-based cannabis preparations for treating chronic pain in adults. The researchers found low-strength evidence that cannabis alleviates neuropathic pain based on 27 chronic pain trials; insufficient evidence was found in other pain populations. Harms in general population studies include increased risk for motor vehicle accidents, psychotic symptoms, and short-term cognitive impairment based on 11 systematic reviews and 32 primary studies. 

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Maya E. O'Neil, PhD, also from the VA Portland Health Care System and Oregon Health & Science University, and colleagues reviewed data from two systematic reviews and from three observational studies to examine the benefits and harms of plant-based cannabis preparations in treating PTSD in adults. The researchers found that there was insufficient evidence from the systematic reviews to draw conclusions about the benefits and harms. Cannabis did not reduce PTSD symptoms compared with nonuse in the observational studies.

"Evidence is insufficient to draw conclusions about the benefits and harms of plant-based cannabis preparations in patients with PTSD, but several ongoing studies may soon provide important results," O' Neil and colleagues write.

Abstract/Full Text - Nugent
Abstract/Full Text - O'Neil
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