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Cannabis, cannabinoids, and cannabis-based medicines: future research directions for analgesia
  1. Ignacio Badiola1,
  2. Amit Doshi1 and
  3. Samer Narouze2
  1. 1Anesthesiology & Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2Center for Pain Medicine, Western Reserve Hospital, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ignacio Badiola, Anesthesiology & Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; ignacio.badiola{at}


The use of cannabis spans thousands of years and encompasses almost all dimensions of the human experience, including consumption for recreational, religious, social, and medicinal purposes. Its use in the management of pain has been anecdotally described for millennia. However, an evidence base has only developed over the last 100 years, with an explosion in research occurring in the last 20–30 years, as more states in the USA as well as countries worldwide have legalized and encouraged its use in pain management. Pain remains one of the most common reasons for individuals deciding to use cannabis medicinally. However, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level in the USA and in most countries of the world, making it difficult to advance quality research on its efficacy for pain treatment. Nonetheless, new products derived both from the cannabis plant and the chemistry laboratory are being developed for use as analgesics. This review examines the current landscape of cannabinoids research and future research directions in the management of pain.

  • analgesia
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Pain Management
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pharmacology

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analyzed for this study.

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Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analyzed for this study.

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  • Contributors IB acted as the guarantor for this manuscript and accepts full responsibility for the work and controlled the decision to publish. IB, AD and SN conceived and designed the study. All authors took responsibility for the integrity and the accuracy of the analysis. All authors helped draft the manuscript and were involved in critical revisions of the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.