Medical cannabis is effective for cancer-related pain: Quebec Cannabis Registry results

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Objectives: To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis (MC) in reducing pain and concurrent medications in patients with cancer. Methods: This study analysed data collected from patients with cancer who were part of the Quebec Cannabis Registry. Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), revised Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS-r) questionnaires, total medication burden (TMB) and morphine equivalent daily dose (MEDD) recorded at 3-month, 6-month, 9-month and 12-month follow-ups were compared with baseline values. Adverse events were also documented at each follow-up visit. Results: This study included 358 patients with cancer. Thirteen out of 15 adverse events reported in 11 patients were not serious; 2 serious events (pneumonia and cardiovascular event) were considered unlikely related to MC. Statistically significant decreases were observed at 3-month, 6-month and 9-month follow-up for BPI worst pain (5.5±0.7 baseline, 3.6±0.7, 3.6±0.7, 3.6±0.8; p<0.01), average pain (4.1±0.6 baseline, 2.4±0.6, 2.3±0.6, 2.7±0.7; p<0.01), overall pain severity (3.7±0.5 baseline, 2.3±0.6, 2.3±0.6, 2.4±0.6; p<0.01) and pain interference (4.3±0.6 baseline, 2.4±0.6, 2.2±0.6, 2.4±0.7, p<0.01). ESAS-r pain scores decreased significantly at 3-month, 6-month and 9-month follow-up (3.7±0.6 baseline, 2.5±0.6, 2.2±0.6, 2.0±0.7, p<0.01). THC:CBD balanced strains were associated with better pain relief as compared with THC-dominant and CBD-dominant strains. Decreases in TMB were observed at all follow-ups. Decreases in MEDD were observed at the first three follow-ups. Conclusions: Real-world data from this large, prospective, multicentre registry indicate that MC is a safe and effective complementary treatment for pain relief in patients with cancer. Our findings should be confirmed through randomised placebo-controlled trials.




Aprikian, S., Kasvis, P., Vigano, M., Hachem, Y., Canac-Marquis, M., & Vigano, A. (2023). Medical cannabis is effective for cancer-related pain: Quebec Cannabis Registry results. BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care.

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