Cannabinoids: a new approach for pain control?
PURPOSE OF REVIEW:
To analyze available data related to the use of cannabinoids in medicine, with a special focus on pain management in cancer. The use of cannabis for medical purposes is growing but there are still numerous questions to be solved: effectiveness, safety, and specific indications.
There is considerable variation between countries in the approaches taken, reflecting a variety of historical and cultural factors and despite few randomized controlled studies using natural cannabinoids, there is a trend to state that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment of cancer-related pain. Cannabidiol, a nontoxic phytocannabinoid with few side-effects is promising in various indications in medicine.
The endocannabinoid system is a potential therapeutic target. Cannabinoids may be considered as potential adjuvant in cancer-related pain management. Cannabidiol appears to be the drug of choice. Analgesic trial designs should evolve to get closer to real-life practice and to avoid biases.