- PMID: 36662296
- DOI: 10.1007/s00482-022-00688-0
Background: There are no studies available that have simultaneously assessed the benefits and harms of cannabis-based medicines from the viewpoint of patients and their physicians.
Methods: All chronic pain patients at three pain centres in the German federal state of Saarland who had received at least one prescription of cannabis-based medicines (CbMs) in the past from the study centre were included in a cross-sectional study from January 1 to December 31, 2021. Patients and their physicians completed a self-developed questionnaire separately.
Results: All 187 contacted patients participated in the study. Since the start of CbM therapy, 44.9% of patients reported to be much or very much, 43.3% to be moderately and 8.0% to be slightly improved overall. A total of 2.7% reported no change and 1.1% a moderate deterioration of overall wellbeing. From the patients’ point of view, the symptoms most frequently reported to have substantially improved were sleep problems (36.4%), muscle tension (25.1%) and appetite problems (22.1%). The most frequent bothersome side effects were sweating (6.4%), concentration problems (4.2%) and nausea (4.1%). Physicians noted substantial pain relief in 60.7%, improvement of sleep in 65.7% and of mental well-being in 34.3%. A complete cessation of opioids was achieved in 64.7%, of anticonvulsants in 57.9% and of antidepressants in 60% of patients that had received these medications before the start of CbM therapy.
Conclusions: CbMs can contribute to a clinically relevant reduction in pain, sleep problems and muscle tension and can improve daily functioning in carefully selected and supervised patients with chronic pain. CbM can contribute to the reduction or complete cessation of other pain medications (antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids).
Keywords: Cannabis-based medicines; Chronic pain; Effectiveness; Opioid-sparing effects; Tolerability.
© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Medizin Verlag GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature.
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