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The Effects of Cannabis Among Adults With Chronic Pain and an Overview of General Harms: A Systematic Review

The use of medicinal cannabis has become increasingly accepted in the United States and globally. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes, and 28 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for medical purposes. Between 45% and 80% of persons who seek medical cannabis do so for pain management. Among patients who are prescribed long-term opioid therapy for pain, up to 39% are also using cannabis. Physicians will increasingly need to engage in evidence-based discussions with their patients about the potential benefits and harms of cannabis use. However, little comprehensive and critically appraised information exists about the benefits and harms of using cannabis to treat chronic pain. The objectives of this systematic review were to assess the efficacy of cannabis for treating chronic pain and to provide a broad overview of the short- and long-term physical and mental health effects of cannabis use in chronic pain and general patient populations.

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