Year of Publication

2014

Season of Publication

Spring

Paper Type

Doctoral Project

College

Brooks College of Health

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Department

Nursing

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Nursing

First Advisor

Dr. Doreen Radjenovic

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol Ledbetter

Third Advisor

Dr. Dan Richard

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Pabalate

Department Chair

Dr. Lillia Loriz

College Dean

Dr. Pamela S. Chally

Abstract

Since the first so-called “medical marijuana” legislation was passed in California in 1996, a total of twenty states and the District of Columbia have passed laws permitting limited use of cannabis. Despite the changes in state laws, cannabis remains illegal for any purpose under federal law. Changes in state laws have coincided with a renewed interest in the substance for the treatment of a variety of conditions. There has been a significant increase in published data over the past twenty years examining the efficacy of cannabis as an appetite stimulant, antiemetic agent, and analgesic adjuvant. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to synthesize published data on cannabis use as an analgesic agent. Five studies meeting inclusion criteria were located through searches of online databases, review of reference lists, author correspondence, and review of clinical trials databases. Meta-analysis was conducted using fixed-effects modeling. The overall effect of mean reduction of pain intensity was -4.895 (Z-score) with an associated p value of 0.003. The combined standardized mean difference (SMD) was -0.362 (CI -0.507 to -0.217), indicating on average a moderate significant reduction in pain intensity for patients with chronic pain. As the legal status of the substance evolves, additional research is needed to establish evidence-based clinical recommendations regarding the use of medicinal cannabis in pain management.