Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

Laura Levy, DHSc, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not “Is administration of marijuana effective in reducing pain”

Study Design: Systematic review of 2 randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trials (RCTs) and 1 cohort study published after July 2016.

Data Sources: Both RCTs and the cohort study were found through the PubMed database Outcome(s) measured: All 3 studies utilized the 11-point numerical rating scale to measure pain intensity.

Results: Wilsey et. al showed a notable improvement in pain intensity when participants inhaled both 2.9% delta 9-THC and 6.7% delta 9-THC concentrations when compared to visually matched placebo with no significant distinction between the lower and higher concentrations of delta 9-THC at the end of 7 hours. Although Schimrigk et. al did show pain reduction with administration of both dronabinol (PO form of THC) and placebo after 16 weeks, the results between the two were not significant when compared to each other. Lastly, the cohort study performed by Vigil et al. did reflect a significant change in pain intensity reduction after selfadministrated use of marijuana after 12 months.

Conclusion: This EBM review demonstrated that marijuana is an safe, effective treatment option for chronic pain patients looking to reduce their pain intensity. Although marijuana should not replace current conventional medical therapies, it may serve as an alternative for patients willing to try other options for pain relief.