Chronic pain related to cancer reduced with cannabis medicine

Various types of pain are common in patients diagnosed with cancer. This study's goal was to examine results from cancer patients using medical cannabis. It was published in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care in May 2023.

358 patients with cancer and were part of the Quebec Cannabis Registry were included.They had 4 follow-up visits over a period of 12 months.

They used the following metrics in their analysis:

  • Brief Pain Inventory (BPI)
  • revised Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS-r) questionnaires
  • total medication burden (TMB)
  • morphine equivalent daily dose (MEDD) recorded at 3-month, 6-month, 9-month and 12-month follow-ups were compared with baseline values.


Results from the authors:

"Statistically significant decreases were observed at 3-month, 6-month and 9-month follow-up for":

  • BPI worst pain (reduced from about 5.5 to 3.6)
  • average pain (4.1 to 2.7)
  • overall pain severity (3.7 to 2.4)
  • pain interference (4.3 to 2.4): the effect of the pain on other aspects of their life
  • ESAS-r pain scores decreased significantly at 3-month, 6-month and 9-month follow-up (3.7 to 2.0)
  • Decreases in TMB were observed at all follow-ups
  • Decreases in MEDD were observed at the first three follow-ups


Among these patients, balanced THC:CBD products were more effective for pain relief versus THC-dominant and CBD-dominant products.

The data speaks for itself. Cannabinoid medicine helped reduce all aspects of cancer-related pain and reduced the use of other medications. The authors' conclusion:

Real-world data from this large, prospective, multicentre registry indicate that MC is a safe and effective complementary treatment for pain relief in patients with cancer.  


The article abstract is here at BMJ Journals.