From Science Daily:

Marijuana often is used to self treat chronic pain and, with 24 states legalizing medical use of the herb, the American Pain Society published guidance in The Journal of Pain for physicians caring for patients who use cannabis. The paper also identified opportunities for future research required to better understand the health effects of cannabinoids.

The article is a consensus report with a balanced analysis from experts with diverse opinions about the value of cannabis as a pain treatment. The authors range from legalization advocates to opponents of using cannabis, even for medical purposes.

“We looked at the evidence that is available on the use of clinical cannabis and extrapolated to some degree on management strategies from our experiences with the prescribing of controlled substances,” said lead author Seddon R. Savage, M.D., medical director, Silver Hill Hospital Chronic Pain and Recovery Center, in an interview with Medscape at the recent American Pain Society annual meeting.

The article reviews clinical, research and policy issues related to herbal cannabis to counsel clinicians in advising and caring for patients who use cannabis, while recognizing there is a broad range of opinion among pain clinicians and researchers regarding use of herbal cannabis. However, the authors note that many pain clinicians and researchers agree that cannabinoids are clinically promising chemical compounds, and there is a critical need for robust research on herbal cannabis to identify targets for medical development.

Clinical practice recommendations include:

• Know the federal and state laws governing use of medical cannabis

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