American Pain Society: Guidelines for Physicians Caring for Patients who use Cannabis

Article by American Pain Society via Science Daily


Clinical practice recommendations include:

• Know the federal and state laws governing use of medical cannabis

• Be clear with patients about goals for therapeutic cannabis

• Counsel patients about routes of administration and potential benefits and risks, based on scientific evidence and individual symptoms, conditions and comorbidities

• Advise patients on cannabis strains, cannabinoid medications or extracts, explaining limitations due to lack of herbal/substance uniformity and regulatory oversight

• Monitor patients the same as for treatment with opioids or other controlled substances.

• Patient follow up should assess progress toward achieving treatment goals, incidence of side effects, and evidence of psycho-behavioral changes.

The authors strongly advocate that a robust research agenda is needed to fully realize the clinical potential of cannabinoid therapies. They recommend:

• Increase federal funding for pain-related cannabis research

• Broaden pain conditions being studied to include cannabis for non-neuropathic pain

• Ease regulatory restrictions that impede approvals of cannabis and cannabinoid research

• Improve access to high-quality plant cannabis for research studies

• Encourage states to collect individual and population level data on patients receiving medical cannabis.

Read full article here.

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