“Cannabis use for pain relief is commonly reported, yet laboratory studies and clinical trials suggest that cannabinoids are weak analgesics, and it is unclear whether perceived reductions in pain from before to after cannabis use relate to factors such as dose, method of administration, phytocannabinoid content, or the age or gender of the user. We determined whether inhalation of cannabis decreased self-reported pain ratings as well as whether user gender, age, time, method of administration, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)/cannabidiol (CBD) content, or dose of cannabis contribute to changes in these ratings. We also examined whether tolerance may develop to the analgesic effects of cannabis over time.
Results: For all three pain symptoms, severity ratings decreased significantly after cannabis use. Women reported higher baseline and postcannabis pain severity than did men, and men reported larger decreases in pain than did women. Neither THC nor CBD content nor their interaction predicted reductions in pain ratings. However, vaping was associated with larger reductions in joint pain ratings than was smoking, and lower doses were associated with larger reductions in nerve pain ratings. Additionally, for all three pain symptoms, the dose of cannabis used to manage pain increased significantly over time.
Conclusions: Inhaled cannabis reduces self-reported pain severity by ∼42–49%. However, these reductions appear to diminish across time, and patients use larger doses across time, suggesting that analgesic tolerance develops with continued use.”