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Medicinal cannabis in palliative medicine: lessons learnt from randomised controlled trials
  1. Taylan Gurgenci1,2,
  2. Janet Hardy1,2,
  3. Rebecca Olson3,
  4. Georgie Huggett4,
  5. Karyn Foster2 and
  6. Phillip Good5
  1. 1 Palliative and Supportive Care, Mater Misericordiae Ltd Brisbane, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2 Palliative and Supportive Care, Mater Research Institute, The University of Queensland, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Queensland School of Social Science, Saint Lucia, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4 Mater Research Institute The University of Queensland, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  5. 5 Department of Palliative Care, St Vincent's Private Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Taylan Gurgenci, The University of Queensland, Saint Lucia, Queensland, Australia; t.gurgenci{at}


Objectives To detail important lessons learnt while conducting several large, medicinal cannabis (MC) randomised clinical trials in a palliative cancer population.

Methods Investigators involved in these trials had several meetings to agree on the major lessons learnt and how the various challenges could be mitigated in the future.

Results The lessons were sorted into separate categories: patient confidentiality, family dynamics, driving, cost, unfounded beliefs, accessing specific MC products, trial funding, telehealth and COVID-19, and miscellaneous issues.

Conclusion Using MC as the intervention arm in such trials entails some unique regulatory, logistical and other challenges. This short report presents key lessons learnt in conducting these randomised controlled trials in a palliative care population for the benefit of future investigators planning similar trials in a similar patient population.

  • Cancer
  • Supportive care
  • Quality of life

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  • Contributors Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT) statement: TG: Conceptualisation, original draft preparation, reviewing and editing. JH: Conceptualisation, supervision, reviewing and editing. RO: Conceptualisation, reviewing and editing. GH: Reviewing and editing, project administration. KF: Reviewing and editing, project administration. PG: Conceptualisation, supervision, original draft preparation, reviewing and editing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.