An Australian study evaluating the safety and suitability of three cannabis medications in managing musculoskeletal (MSK) chronic pain is still looking for participants.
Musculoskeletal pain is acute or chronic pain affecting bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and can also involve nerves. Pain that lasts more than 3 to 6 months is considered chronic. Chronic musculoskeletal pain – and particularly lower back pain – is very common. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 1.71 billion of the world’s population has some form of chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Analgesics used in managing musculoskeletal pain range from paracetamol and NSAIDs, to opioids including morphine, fentanyl and oxycodone. The use, and overuse, of opioids has been receiving increasing attention given the negative impacts it can have. More and safer options are needed in treating musculoskeletal chronic pain – and medicinal cannabis may prove to be viable alternative.
In the Australian study sponsored by Levin Health, 100 patients will be prescribed one of three formulations of whole plant-extracted cannabis oil products containing various combinations and strengths of CBD (cannabidiol) and/or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The study involves products not registered on the Australian Register for Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), which can only be legally accessed via the Special Access Scheme (SAS, category A or B) or Australia’s Authorised Prescriber scheme.
The study, led by Dr Matthew Moore, will see participants completing a baseline and then weekly standardised and validated Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM) questionnaires. This will record changes, or lack thereof, or improvement while using the medications over 12 weeks or until participants cease taking it. As well as pain outcomes, the research will also evaluate medication effects on depression, anxiety, stress, sleep quality, and quality of life, plus any adverse events.
“It is hoped conclusions will be drawn as to whether or not these particular medications warrant further and more rigorous clinical trial investigation as an interventional treatment for chronic pain in this patient cohort,” states the study summary page.
Australian musculoskeletal chronic pain sufferers interested in potentially participating in the study can complete a patient eligibility questionnaire here. This will screen whether a person may be able to join the study, but eligibility will still need to finalised by the prescriber, who also is the Principal Investigator of the study.