Cannabinoid-based Medications for Pain

Raymond M. St. Marie, MD; Raphael J. Leo, MA, MD


Curr Psychiatr. 2021;20(5):21-33. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Against the backdrop of an increasing opioid use epidemic and a marked acceleration of prescription opioid–related deaths,[1,2] there has been an impetus to explore the usefulness of alternative and co-analgesic agents to assist patients with chronic pain. Preclinical studies employing animal-based models of human pain syndromes have demonstrated that cannabis and chemicals derived from cannabis extracts may mitigate several pain conditions.[3]

Because there are significant comorbidities between psychiatric disorders and chronic pain, psychiatrists are likely to care for patients with chronic pain. As the availability of and interest in cannabinoid-based medications (CBM) increases, psychiatrists will need to be apprised of the utility, adverse effects, and potential drug interactions of these agents.