Jory Longworth, Michael Szafron, Amanda Gruza, Keith Da Silva
January 9, 2023
To collate and summarize existing evidence for the use of cannabis and cannabinoids to treat chronic orofacial pain (COP) by oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMFS), oral medicine specialists (OMS), and orofacial pain specialists (OPS).
We systematically screened for sources including a measure of effect of a cannabinoid compound on pain in COP patients that might be treated by our target specialists. Sources were selected by two authors independently. Sources were summarized by country, publication date, objective(s), COP condition(s) studied, cannabinoid(s) studied, methods, results, limitations, and conclusions. A thematic analysis and word cloud were conducted to elucidate commonalities, emphases, and gaps amongst identified sources.
Retrieved from MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science Core Collections, Dentistry and Oral Sciences, DARE, CCRCT, and US National Institute of Health and Controlled Trials Register.
Of 705 retrieved titles, 8 met inclusion/exclusion criteria and were included for review. Included sources dealt with COP attributed to: head and neck cancer (3), multiple sclerosis-related trigeminal neuralgia-like symptoms (2), post-herpetic neuralgia (1), temporomandibular dysfunction (1), and primary burning mouth syndrome (1). Cannabinoids studied included: self-administered cannabis (3), topical N-palmitoyle-thanolamine (1), topical cannabis extract (1), cannabis sativa oil (1), nabiximols oromucosal spray (1), and nabilone (1).
Most sources concluded their respective cannabinoid treatments to provide some therapeutic benefit for COP (6 of 8) and all concluded their treatments to be safe. Current research is wholistically focused, recording outcome measures for pain, anxiety, depression, quality of life, functional disability. Cannabinoids are most often studied as adjunctive and palliative treatments.
Cannabinoids are becoming increasingly accessible and might benefit many COP patients. Patients and clinicians require more and higher quality evidence to make confident and informed decisions regarding treatment of COP with cannabis or cannabinoids. This review summarizes current evidence for patients, clinicians, and future researchers.
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