Analyzing the Perspectives of Health Professionals and Legal Cannabis Users on the Treatment of Chronic Pain With Cannabidiol: Protocol for a Scoping Review

Priyanka Kumar, Charles Mpofu, Dianne Wepa

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Background: Medical cannabis is one of the most commonly reported treatments for chronic pain. The wide acceptance and research in alternative medicine have put medical cannabis in the limelight, where researchers are widely examining its therapeutic benefits, including treatment of chronic pain. Objective: The purpose of this scoping review is to provide an overview of the perspectives on cannabidiol as an alternative treatment for chronic pain among health professionals and legal cannabis users. Methods: The framework of Arksey and O'Malley guides the design of this scoping review, and the elements reported use the recommended guidelines of the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews). A comprehensive literature search accessed the databases CINAHL Complete and MEDLINE via EBSCO, Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre, PsycINFO, Ovid Emcare, Wiley Online Library, Scopus, Informit New Zealand Collection, and Google Scholar for published literature, and then it was extended to include gray literature. Gray literature searches included searching the databases Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre, Informit New Zealand Collection, INNZ: Index New Zealand, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, and AUT Tuwhera Research Repository, and the website The studies included in this scoping review were assessed for eligibility for inclusion using the following criteria: published in English after 2000, conducted in New Zealand (NZ) or Australia, and aimed to investigate the perspectives of health professionals and medical cannabis users using interviews for data collection. Studies were screened for inclusion using Covidence, a software tool to filter search results, and the risk of bias was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. Although this is not a required step for scoping reviews, it added an element of strength to this scoping review. Data will be analyzed using thematic analysis guided by Braun and Clarke. The findings from the data analysis will be presented in a table, which will then inform the key themes for discussion. Results: The database search started in October 2021 and was completed in December 2021. The total number of studies included in this review is 5 (n=5). Studies included were conducted in NZ or Australia and examined the perspectives using participant interviews. This scoping review is anticipated to be submitted for publication in December 2022. Conclusions: Using perspectives is a valuable tool to understand the challenges experienced by health professionals and medical cannabis users associated with medical cannabis treatment. Addressing these challenges through interventions that are highlighted through perspectives such as educating health professionals to increase access to medical cannabis in NZ may aid in policy reformulation for medical cannabis in the context of NZ. Thus, this scoping review highlights the importance of medical cannabis research and suggests recommendations to guide and inform medical cannabis policy in the context of NZ.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere37697
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This protocol and the subsequent review will contribute toward the primary author’s (PK) Master of Public Health degree. The wider project that is being undertaken by the primary author (PK) is being supported by a research budget from the Auckland University of Technology and the dedication and guided direction of the primary (CM) and secondary (DW) supervisors.

Publisher Copyright:
© Priyanka Kumar, Charles Mpofu, Dianne Wepa.


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