Medical Cannabis Use and Pain: An Experience Sampling Study

Sharon Rodner Sznitman, Dennis Rosenberg, Simon Vulfsons, David Meiri, Talya Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Little research has tested associations of pain and MC use after long-term treatment and through methods that have external validity outside experimental settings. The study examined associations of pain, associated painful experiences, and long-term medical cannabis (MC) use in chronic pain (CP) patients using a naturalistic daily diary study that provided novel and externally valid data. Methods: Data were obtained from 78 MC users with CP three times daily over a 10-day period (nobservations = 1,688). Mixed-effects models were used to test the associations between MC use and momentary experiences of pain, affect, and fatigue. Results: Within persons, elevated experiences of pain intensity were associated with greater intention to use MC within the next hour. No evidence was found that the time lapse since last MC use was associated with pain levels, negative affect, or fatigue. Conclusions: The results imply that after long-term use, CP patients intend to use MC in response to pain experiences. Yet, they may not actually achieve the pain relief. More research is needed to examine whether continued MC use despite lack of pain relief is related to relief of other symptoms (e.g., dependence, withdrawal) or positive benefits (e.g., general sense of well-being) or tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number728283
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
StatePublished - 27 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • THC - tetrahydrocannabinol
  • chronic pain
  • experience sampling methods
  • intention to use
  • medical cannabis
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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