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Medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain and other disorders: misconceptions and facts

Kevin P. Hill, Matthew D. Palastro
Published online: October 25, 2017

Recently, many countries have enacted new cannabis policies, including decriminalization of cannabis possession as well as legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. In this context, patients and their physicians have had an increasing number of conversations about the risks and benefits of cannabis. While cannabis and cannabinoids continue to be evaluated as pharmacotherapy for medical conditions, the best evidence currently exists for the following medical conditions: chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity resulting from multiple sclerosis. We also reviewed the current state of evidence for cannabis and cannabinoids for several other medical conditions, while addressing the potential acute and chronic effects of cannabis use, which are issues that physicians must consider before making an official recommendation on the use of medical cannabis to a patient. As the number of patient requests for medical cannabis has been increasing, physicians must become knowledgeable on the science of medical cannabis and open to a discussion about why the patient feels that medical cannabis may be helpful.

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