Canadian AIDS Society-led protocol of Canadian clinical practice guidelines for medical cannabis in the management of chronic pain published in the British Medical Journal

OTTAWA, June 11, 2020 – The Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) is pleased to announce the publication of a CAS-led protocol of Canadian clinical practice guidelines for the use of plant-based cannabis and cannabinoid-based products in the management of chronic non-cancer pain and co-occurring conditions in the British Medical Journal (Open).

The legalization of recreational marijuana in October 2018 has highlighted the fact that the Canadian medical community has long identified a need for relevant clinical guidelines and established best practices for authorizing cannabis and cannabinoid-based products to patients for the treatment of chronic pain. In order to remedy this knowledge gap, CAS formed a task force of leaders in the medical cannabis field to lead in the research and development of this protocol and subsequent clinical practice guidelines. The research will also build on the many other publications and studies that CAS has led over the years.

We gratefully acknowledge our continued partnership with Canopy Growth and its medical division Spectrum Therapeutics to fund this project and applaud their vision. We would also like to thank the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Arthritis Society for their support.

The BMJ Open’s publication of this protocol highlights the importance of community research to complement scientific research and that by having a holistic approach to research, the patient will be centred in the outcomes. Widespread use of this protocol and the future guidelines are a significant step towards ensuring all Canadians living with chronic pain across the country have access to cannabis as a tool for their pain management.

“This research will pave the way for people living with chronic pain to have a new path to coping with their pain, and because of its innovative nature, we hope that it could serve as a model for similar guidelines for other ailments in the future,” says Gary Lacasse, Executive Director of CAS.

“We are so proud to support the incredible work being done by the Canadian AIDS Society through this multi-year partnership. They are a trailblazing, patient-centric organization that has advocated for access to medical cannabis for decades,” says David Klein, CEO, Canopy Growth. “Our hope is that the clinical guidelines, when published, will play a significant role in the ongoing efforts to break down barriers to access medical cannabis in Canada and the world.”

Dr. Cecilia Costiniuk of McGill University states that “The finalization and publication of this protocol represents an important milestone by documenting the rationale and planned process for the creation of the guidelines.  These evidence-based guidelines will help busy clinicians and patients make sense of the flurry of information out there on the use of plant-based cannabis and cannabinoid-based products for the management of chronic non-cancer pain and co-occurring conditions.”

This publication is the result of the hard work of the project task force, who are currently working to complete the full set of guidelines. The task force is comprised of the following individuals:

Patrick Wright (CAS)
Gary Lacasse (CAS)
Shari Margolese (Community Advisory Committee, Canadian HIV Trials Network)
Dr. Zach Walsh (University of British Columbia)
Tatiana Sanchez (University of British Columbia)
Stephanie Arlt (University of Victoria)
Dr. Lynne Belle-Isle (CAS)
Michelle St. Pierre (University of British Columbia)
Dr. Alan Bell (University of Toronto)
Dr. Paul Daeninck (University of Manitoba)
Dr. Marilou Gagnon (University of Victoria)
Dr. Caroline MacCallum (University of British Columbia)
Enrico Mandarino (Community Advisory Committee, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Canadian HIV Trials Network)
Janet Yale (Arthritis Society)
James O’Hara (Medical Cannabis Canada)
Dr. Cecilia Costiniuk (McGill University)

The clinical guidelines are expected to be published soon and CAS will provide further details on this publication as soon as they are available.


For media inquiries:

Gary Lacasse
Executive Director, Canadian AID Society
613-230-3580 x118


Scroll to Top