Intended for healthcare professionals


Cannabinoids for pain and nausea

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 07 July 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:2

Some evidence but is there any need?

  1. Eija Kalso (, associate professor
  1. Pain Clinic, Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Helsinki University Hospital, PO Box 340, FIN-00029, Finland

    Papers pp 13, 16

    This is an exciting time for cannabinoid research. The discovery of cannabinoid CB1 receptors (expressed by central and peripheral neurones)1 and CB2 receptors (expressed mainly by immune cells)2 and endogenous agonists3 for these receptors has renewed the scientific community's interest. Independently of these developments society at large has continued an aggressive debate about the therapeutic use of cannabinoids, including demands for their more liberal availability. 4 5 Cannabinoids have been suggested to have therapeutic value as analgesics and in various conditions, including migraine headaches, nausea and vomiting, wasting syndrome and appetite stimulation in HIV-infected patients, muscle spasticity due to multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury, movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and glaucoma.6 When new therapeutic indications are suggested, two major factors should be taken into account: what are the adverse effects of …

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