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Home > Living systematic review on cannabis and other plant-based treatments for chronic pain.

McDonagh, Marian S and Wagner, Jesse and Ahmed, Azrah Y and Morasco, Benjamin J and Kansagara, Devan and Chou, Roger (2021) Living systematic review on cannabis and other plant-based treatments for chronic pain. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. AHRQ publication no. 21-EHC026.

External website: https://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/products/plan...


In an effort to address the opioid epidemic, a prominent goal of current research is to identify alternative treatments with equal or better benefits for pain while avoiding potential unintended consequences that could result in harms.

A systematic review assessing the effectiveness and harms of plant-based treatments for chronic pain conditions is underway. The review will be "living" in the sense that it will identify and synthesize recently published literature on an ongoing basis. For the purposes of this review, plant-based compounds (PBCs) included are those that are similar to opioids in effect and that have the potential for addiction, misuse, and serious adverse effects; other PBCs such as herbal treatments are not included. The intended audience includes policy and decision makers, funders and researchers of treatments for chronic pain, and clinicians who treat chronic pain.

The quarterly progress reports present the accumulating evidence and are updated on a regular basis. They include a description of the available studies and an appraisal of study quality.

May 2021 Update - Overview
This is the third quarterly progress report for an ongoing living systematic review on cannabis and other plant-based treatments for chronic pain. The first progress report was published in January 2021 and the second in March 2021. The draft systematic review was available for public comment from May 19 through June 15, 2021, on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Effective Health Care website. The systematic review synthesizes evidence on the benefits and harms of plant-based compounds (PBCs), such as cannabinoids and kratom, used to treat chronic pain, addressing concerns about severe adverse effects, abuse, misuse, dependence, and addiction. The purpose of this progress report is to describe the cumulative literature identified thus far. This report will be periodically updated with new studies as they are published and identified, culminating in an annual systematic review that provides a synthesis of the accumulated evidence.

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