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Placebo Response and Media Attention in Randomized Clinical Trials Assessing Cannabis-Based Therapies for Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Question  What is the size of the placebo response in cannabinoid trials for clinical pain, and is the magnitude of placebo response associated with media attention on the trials?

Findings  This meta-analysis of 20 studies of 1459 individuals found a significant pain reduction in response to placebo in cannabinoid randomized clinical trials. Media attention was proportionally high, with a strong positive bias, yet not associated with the clinical outcomes.

Meaning  These findings suggest that placebo has a significant association with pain reduction as seen in cannabinoid clinical trials, and the positive media attention may shape placebo responses in future trials.


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