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Sao Paulo Med J. 2018 Oct 22. pii: S1516-31802018005016102. doi: 10.1590/1516-3180.2018.0313210818. [Epub ahead of print]

What do Cochrane systematic reviews say about the use of cannabinoids in clinical practice?

Author information

1
MSc. Psychologist; Postgraduate Student, Evidence-Based Health Program, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP); and Assistant Researcher, Cochrane Brazil, São Paulo (SP), Brazil.
2
MD. Postgraduate Student, Evidence-Based Health Program, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), and Assistant Researcher, Cochrane Brazil, São Paulo (SP), Brazil.
3
MSc, PhD. Physiotherapist; Postdoctoral Student, Evidence-Based Health Program, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP); Professor, Health and Environment Program, Universidade Metropolitana de Santos (UNIMES); Volunteer Researcher, Cochrane Brazil, São Paulo (SP), Brazil.
4
MD, MSc. Neurologist; Postgraduate Student, Evidence-Based Health Program, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP); and Assistant Researcher, Cochrane Brazil, São Paulo (SP), Brazil.
5
MD, MSc, PhD. Rheumatologist; Adjunct Professor, Discipline of Evidence-Based Medicine, Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM), Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP); and Researcher, Cochrane Brazil, São Paulo (SP), Brazil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The therapeutic effects of cannabinoid compounds have been the center of many investigations. This study provides a synthesis on all Cochrane systematic reviews (SRs) that assessed the use of cannabinoids as a therapeutic approach.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Review of SRs, conducted in the Discipline of Evidence-Based Medicine, Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM), Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP).

METHODS:

A broad search was conducted in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews to retrieve any Cochrane SRs that assessed the efficacy and safety of cannabinoids as a therapeutic approach. The results and key characteristics of all reviews included were summarized and discussed.

RESULTS:

Eight SRs were included. They assessed the use of cannabinoids for the following types of conditions: neurological (two SRs), psychiatric (two SRs), rheumatological (one SR), infectious (one SR) and oncological (two SRs). There was moderate-quality evidence showing that the use of cannabinoids reduced nausea and vomiting among adults, compared with placebo. Additionally, there was moderate-quality evidence showing that there was no difference between cannabinoids and prochlorperazine regarding the number of participants who reported vomiting, in this same population.

CONCLUSIONS:

This review identified eight Cochrane systematic reviews that provided evidence of unknown to moderate quality regarding the use of cannabinoids as a therapeutic intervention. Further studies are still imperative for solid conclusions to be reached regarding practical recommendations.

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