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Clinical trials consistently show cannabis holds ‘promising potential’ for pain, says report

Pain is the most common indication to be studied in cannabinoid clinical trials since 2010, says an upcoming report.

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An upcoming report gives a detailed breakdown of clinical trials which have been carried out over the last decade.

Pain is the most prevalent symptom treated in clinical trials on cannabinoids with cannabis-based medicines consistently showing ‘promising potential’ in this area, says a new report. 

Despite a number of emerging areas of research, pain remains the most common indication to be studied in cannabinoid-related clinical trials since 2010.

A new report, seen by Cannabis Health ahead of publication, explores the current state of cannabis science, with a detailed breakdown of clinical trials which have been carried out in the field over the last decade.

A significant portion of these studies centre around pain, across a number of different diagnoses.

Chronic or neuropathic pain, encompassing conditions such as fibromyalgia/myofascial pain, cancer-related pain, is particularly prevalent, as well as pain associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as MS and Parkinson’s. 

Other pain conditions addressed in these trials include post-surgical and post-operative pain; pelvic pain, such as endometriosis; knee or back pain; fractures; pain related to inflammatory bowel disease; and various others. 

According to the report, ongoing and completed clinical trials have consistently demonstrated that cannabinoid-based medicine holds ‘promising potential’ for alleviating pain, particularly chronic and neuropathic pain.

Other areas of emerging research 

Alongside this, there has been a notable increase in clinical trials examining the potential benefits of cannabinoids for various psychiatric disorders, specifically, in managing common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. 

Research on cannabinoids is also expanding in neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases, as well as PTSD, insomnia/sleep disorders, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy, and metabolic disorders such as diabetes and diabetes-related symptoms.

Several ‘emerging areas of research’ have seen ‘high activity’ in clinical trials and have advanced to later stages including some phase 3 trials, in conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), depression in bipolar disorder, endometriosis and alcohol use disorder. 

The cannabinoids which crop up most 

While recent years have seen an increase in clinical trials on CBD in isolation from other compounds, in general over the last 13 years, the report finds that there has been more interest in treatments involving multiple cannabinoids, primarily THC and CBD.

The researchers also noted a ‘growing interest’ in non-cannabinoid compounds that target the endocannabinoid system.

A place for cannabinoids in mainstream medicine

The full Pharmaceutical Cannabis Report, due to be published next month by Prohibition Partners and Cannabiscientia, explores the progression of cannabinoid medicine and provides an in-depth account of all activity  in the context of the global pharmaceutical landscape.

Lawrence Perkins, analyst at Prohibition Partners and co-author of the report, said: “While there are no obvious patterns determining success in clinical trials featuring cannabinoid treatment, ongoing and completed clinical trials have consistently demonstrated that cannabinoid-based medicine holds promising potential for alleviating pain, particularly chronic and neuropathic pain.

“The entry of cannabis and cannabinoids into this mainstream of modern medicine is still in its early stages. The majority of the medicinal use of cannabis and cannabinoids currently takes place outside of the standard channels of modern medicine. That said, in the future there will undoubtedly be a larger place for the medical application of cannabinoids in the mainstream of medicine. 

“There is already significant and growing sales activity for those cannabinoid products that have been approved, and momentum continues to build in research and development (R&D) for new and existing applications, formulations, and delivery systems; in building evidence and proof of efficacy through clinical trials; and in protecting new innovations and discoveries through IP.”

The full report is due to be published in August 2023.

Pre-order your copy of the full report here and get 15% off

Home » Science » Clinical trials consistently show cannabis holds ‘promising potential’ for pain, says report

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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