Cannabis has been employed medicinally throughout history, but its recent legal prohibition, biochemical complexity and variability, quality control issues, previous dearth of appropriately powered randomised controlled trials, and lack of pertinent education have conspired to leave clinicians in the dark as to how to advise patients pursuing such treatment. Suggestions are offered on cannabis-drug interactions, patient monitoring, and standards of care, while special cases for cannabis therapeutics are addressed: epilepsy, cancer palliation and primary treatment, chronic pain, use in the elderly, Parkinson disease, paediatrics, with concomitant opioids, and in relation to driving and hazardous activities.
Epilepsy is one of the world’s oldest recognized and prevalent neurological diseases. It has a great negative impact on patients’ quality of life (QOL) as a consequence of treatment resistant seizures in about 30% of patients together with drugs’ side effects and comorbidities. Therefore, new drugs are needed and cannabinoids, above all cannabidiol, have recently gathered attention.
Survey of herbal cannabis (marijuana) use in rheumatology clinic attenders with a rheumatologist confirmed diagnosis
Cannabinoids may hold potential for the management of rheumatic pain. Arthritis, often self-reported, is commonly cited as the reason for the use of medicinal herbal cannabis (marijuana). We have examined the prevalence of marijuana use among 1000 consecutive rheumatology patients with a rheumatologist-confirmed diagnosis and compared in an exploratory manner the clinical characteristics of medicinal users and nonusers.
In 2014, New York (NY) became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana (MMJ). The purpose of this survey was to collect data about practicing NY physicians’ comfort level, opinions, and experience in recommending or supporting patient use of MMJ. Although our study sample is small and geographically limited, our survey results highlight key physician issues that are likely applicable to practitioners in other states. Concerted efforts are needed at the federal, state, and academic levels to provide practitioners with evidence-based guidelines for the safe use of MMJ
A National Needs Assessment of Canadian Nurse Practitioners Regarding Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes
In Canada, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) has given nurse practitioners (NPs) the power to authorize cannabis for therapeutic purposes (CTP) to eligible patients. This expansion in NPs’ scope of practice underscores the importance of delivering balanced, evidence-based education on cannabis to NPs. The aim of this national study was to assess NPs’ knowledge and practice gaps related to CTP to inform the development of future education resources that increase NPs’ clinical competence and improve patient care related to medical cannabis.
Does Medical Cannabis Use Increase or Decrease the Use of Opioid Analgesics and Other Prescription Drugs?
In observational and retrospective studies, people who use cannabis are more likely than people who do not use cannabis to also use other drugs. People who take medical cannabis are also more likely to report medical and non-medical use of opioid analgesics, stimulants, and tranquilizers. To fully understand the effect of medical cannabis on the use of other drugs, prospective longitudinal studies randomizing individuals to cannabis versus other treatments are urgently needed.
In recent years, the media and scientists have shown increased interest in cannabis-based drugs. Background information about cannabis-based drugs and their mechanism of action as well as discussion of possible applications as supportive therapy or in palliative medicine, respectively, are presented.
Cannabis has been used for millennia to treat a multitude of medical conditions including chronic pain. Osteoarthritis (OA) pain is one of the most common types of pain and patients often turn to medical cannabis to manage their symptoms. While the majority of these reports are anecdotal, there is a growing body of scientific evidence which supports the analgesic potential of cannabinoids to treat OA pain.
Willingness to Participate in Longitudinal Research Among People with Chronic Pain Who Take Medical Cannabis: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Regulatory barriers limit clinical trials of medical cannabis in the United States. Longitudinal cohort studies may be one feasible alternative that could yield clinically relevant information. Willingness to participate in such studies is not known. Nearly all respondents were supportive of the proposed study and most reported that they would enroll if asked. Enhanced engagement with older individuals may be needed to promote equal enrollment. Recruitment for longitudinal cohort studies with frequent data collection appears feasible in this patient population.
The decision to authorize a patient for continued enrollment in a state-sanctioned medical cannabis program is difficult in part due to the uncertainty in the accuracy of patient symptom reporting and health functioning including any possible effects on other medication use. We conducted a pragmatic convenience study comparing patient reporting of previous and current prescription opioid usage to the opioid prescription records in the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) among 131 chronic pain patients (mean age = 54; 54% male) seeking the first annual renewal of their New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (NMMCP) license.