Table 2

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Inclusion criteria
  • Cannabis and the management of chronic pain.

  • Cannabis and the management of chronic pain and co-occurring conditions: sleep disorders, mood disorders (anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder), alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder.

  • Efficacy, tolerability and safety studies on the use of cannabis in the management of chronic pain.

  • Indications and dosing strategies of cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain.

  • Drug interactions, adverse events, negative effects and contraindications for the use of cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain.

  • Considerations regarding the use of cannabis for the management of chronic pain for individuals with a history of sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder.

  • The substitution effect of cannabis for medications or other drugs in the context of the management of chronic pain.

Exclusion criteria
  • Studies published before 2001.

  • Studies in a language other than English.

  • Studies focused on the use of cannabis for recreational purposes or which do not differentiate between recreational vs medicinal use.

  • Studies focused exclusively on synthetic cannabinoids of pharmaceutical grade approved for human use.*

  • Studies focused on the prevention or cessation of cannabis use.

  • Studies focused exclusively on cancer-related pain.†

  • Studies focused on cannabis use disorder.

  • Studies where cannabis is only one aspect of an intervention, and not the main focus.

  • Studies on non-humans/animals.

  • *These compounds should be distinguished from those used in basic science research, not approved for human use, and which are known on the streets by terms such as ‘Spice’ and ‘K2’.

  • †Due to the large number of studies focused exclusively on cancer-related pain, we have excluded these studies from the current systematic review in order to narrow the focus. However, we acknowleddge the importance of cancer-related pain and suggest that this be the focus of a separate systematic review.