| Cannabis and nociception

Elyad Davidson M.D.


Cannabis has been used in medicine for centuries, for various indications, but substantial progress in biomedical research to better understand the exogenous and endogenous cannabinoids only began with discovery of the chemical structure of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and additional cannabinoids in the 1970s. The analgesic effect of cannabinoids has been demonstrated by extensive preclinical research, but in-depth human studies have been less consistent. Our initial experience with sublingual THC in patients with chronic nonmalignant pain also showed variable responses; however, in our recent study examining the effect of long-term cannabis treatment on pain and functional outcomes in one of the largest patient series in the literature, we found that cannabis treatment significantly improved pain control and sleep, as well as physical, social, and emotional quality-of-life (QOL) parameters. In addition, patients have reported reduced use of opioids.