Cannabis improves pain symptoms in non-responsive cancer patients

Many cancer patients do not respond to traditional pharmaceutical pain interventions. This study examined the self-reported effectiveness of medical cannabis on pain in non-responsive cancer patients. It was published in the British Medical Journal's Supportive & Palliative Care in November 2023.

Included were 252 patients with an average age of about 62. All were largely not responsive (refractory) to standard pain treatments. About 55% were treated with medical cannabis (MC).

The authors' results and conclusions:

About 70% of patients reported subjective improvement from MC, with almost 40% reporting a significant improvement in coping with their illness. 

MC can effectively improve symptoms in non-responsive patients, with favourable safety profiles for this vulnerable population.


The side effects were "generally mild". The most commonly reported side effects were fatigue and dizziness.

The full text is behind a paywall, but the article abstract is here at BMJ Journals.



Sharon H, Agbaria Y, Brill S, et al, Medical cannabis for refractory cancer-related pain in a specialised clinical service: a cross-sectional study