Medicinal cannabis and chronic pain

Estimated Duration: 
1 hour

Chronic or persistent pain is becoming one of the health systems greatest challenges, seriously affecting the quality of life of thousands of people. Without new treatment options the number of patients suffering with chronic pain will continue to grow, particularly with an ageing population.

Chronic pain is a complex condition that can be related to injury, infection, surgery, or associated with an underlying disorder including cancer, arthritis, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and neurologic disease.

There is now a growing interest in medicinal cannabis as a possible solution for some patients with chronic pain.

Some countries have legalised medicinal cannabis, while others have legalised cannabis for medicinal and recreational use. Medicinal cannabis is in its infancy in New Zealand. Many doctors are asked by patients if medicinal cannabis is an option for them.

Key learning objectives around the use of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain include:

  • the potential value of medicinal cannabis in chronic pain
  • how to start prescribing
  • who is likely to benefit
  • potential side effects
  • contraindications for prescribing.


Once you have completed this short course you can print your certificate for one (1) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hour.


This content was created by Dr Giresh Kanji, Musculoskeletal pain specialist in 2020.

The material is presented by the Goodfellow Unit (GFU), an accredited continuing medical education/ continuing professional development (CME/CPD) provider for the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and functions under a tripartite agreement between the Goodfellow Foundation, the College and the University of Auckland. The Unit is located within the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, and within the School of Population Health.


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