A strong placebo response may be largely responsible for the significant pain reduction observed in clinical trials of cannabis-based therapies, results of a new meta-analysis suggest.
Investigators found that while the effect size of cannabinoids on pain intensity was significant, the placebo effect was about the same.
“The data from the present meta-analysis, including 1459 patients with clinical pain, suggest that placebo responses contribute significantly to the pain reduction seen in cannabinoid randomized clinical trials,” the investigators led by Filip Gedin, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow at the Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden, write.
The researchers speculate that the sheer amount of media attention surrounding cannabis trials may have contributed to a strong positive bias toward the efficacy of cannabinoids in pain therapy.
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