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The use of cannabinoids and alternative therapies in chronic pain management: a narrative review

Grzegorz Łukasik1, Mateusz Guziak2, Zuzanna Bastrzyk1, Olga Szot3, Bartosz Kamil Sobocki4

Abstract

Palliative care patients experience pain daily which significantly lowers their quality of life. Chronic pain is one of the main reasons why people contact health professionals, and its prevalence is about 20% in Europe and the United States. Comprehensive and sufficient pain management is often limited to medical facilities whereas patients suffering from chronic pain staying in their households often receive incomplete analgesia. Pharmacological recommendations were described with specific indications and contraindications for therapeutic regimens in relation to cancer patients under palliative care. The addition of alternative pain management techniques to the pharmacological treatment can contribute to better pain control and even lower doses of opioids administered. On the other hand, state-of-the-art studies evaluating their efficiency and mechanism of action are missing. This study summarizes a variety of alternative pain management methods and mechanisms behind their analgesic and co-analgesic effects that contribute to maximizing the pharmacological effect of analgesic drugs. This study aimed to gather alternative pain control options and assess their efficiency, status, and potential in palliative care settings. Moreover, this review tries to evaluate whether they are scientifically evidence-based or not.

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