scientific studies on cbd oil for pain relief

CBD: How Much Pain Relief Is Real and How Much Is Placebo?

THURSDAY, April 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) — CBD is all the rage, and millions of people are turning to it for a host of reasons, including pain relief.

But despite CBD’s popularity and widespread use, new research finds it’s actual benefits are less clear.

The bottom line? CBD — and your expectations about whether it will help (the “placebo effect”) — can make pain feel less bothersome, but it doesn’t appear to reduce pain intensity.

“CBD-induced pain relief is not just driven by psychological placebo effects, but also pharmacological action,” explained study author Martin De Vita, a researcher in the psychology department at Syracuse University, in New York. “It’s a little bit of both.”

CBD, or cannabidiol, is usually derived from hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plant, but unlike THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) — the active ingredient in marijuana — CBD won’t get you high.

In the new study, 15 healthy, pain-free volunteers participated in experiments involving their response to heat before and after receiving pure CBD oil. To tease apart the real versus placebo effect, the researchers told participants that they got CBD when they actually got a placebo, or vice versa, and conducted the experiments again.

“CBD and expectancies reduced the emotional component of pain, or how ‘unpleasant’ it felt,” De Vita said. “Although the pain sensation was not completely eliminated, participants felt that it was less bothersome.”

The body’s central nervous system has its own processes to dampen pain based on information about when (temporal processing) and where (spatial processing) the pain is happening, he explained. “Expectancies alone enhanced temporal pain inhibition, and CBD and expectancies both enhanced the spatial pain inhibition independently, but not when combined,” De Vita said.

Now, the researchers hope to look at how CBD affects pain perception in people with different pain conditions, he noted.

The study was published online recently in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

The researchers chose a pure CBD oil for the study. “Commercially available CBD products differ in their content and purity, so results might be different for different CBD products, depending on what other compounds they may or may not contain,” De Vita stressed.

Kevin Boehnke, a research investigator in the anesthesiology department and the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, agreed.

It’s buyer beware when it comes to choosing CBD products. “If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, medical dispensaries often have pure CBD products,” Boehnke said. “If not, choose a brand from a reputable company with a third-party seal of approval that willingly shares their Certificate of Analysis (COA).” This document provides results of any testing of the supplements, he explained.

Unfortunately, the flood gates are already open when it comes to CBD, and science has a lot of catching up to do, said Boehnke, who was not involved in the new study.

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“This is an interesting small pilot study that does show that both placebo and drug effects are playing a role in how CBD affects pain,” he said. Still, Boehnke cautioned, this study was conducted in healthy volunteers so it can’t tell us much about how or if CBD affects people with actual pain disorders.

A Guide To Cannabidiol (CBD) Clinical Trials

BD is the second most common active compound within the marijuana plant. It can be derived in relatively large quantities from hemp to be used for medical treatment. CBD has many potential applications for sufferers of chronic disease.

CBD has rapidly become a popular area of medical study for several reasons. First, it does not produce a high in patients who use it. Second, it does not appear to cause any symptoms of chemical dependency. A low potential for abuse or addiction makes it highly promising.

Match to Cannabidiol Clinical Trials

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What Conditions Can CBD Treat or Cure?

CBD has a very long history as a treatment for those suffering from intense chronic pain. In particular, it is valuable for patients who cannot benefit from traditional medications as a result of damaged organs or a compromised immune system.

Doctors have been prescribing CBD for patients with advanced cancer or AIDS for many years. CBD can be helpful in reducing pain related to anti-cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. It may also temporarily improve or restore patients’ appetite.

More recently, CBD has been shown to have powerful effects on some patients suffering from seizure disorders. CBD-based treatments have been accepted as highly safe and effective for some younger patients whose epilepsy is resistant to conventional treatment.

The positive effects of CBD on individuals with other conditions is also being studied. These studies include psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and as a potential treatment to preventing cancer cell growth.

What Research Currently Exists Around CBD?

Because CBD has only recently entered the medical mainstream, there are still many unanswered questions to be explored. Early research focused on the role of cannabinoid receptors in the brain in perceiving and processing CBD, as well as its effect on the brain’s production of dopamine.

Over the last few years, doctors have launched small-scale CBD studies and CBD clinical trials to find other potential uses for the compound. CBD is gaining notoriety as a potential treatment for a variety of mood disorders, especially generalized anxiety. It may even help PTSD sufferers.

Naturally, there is still much to learn about CBD. No long-term (“longitudinal”) study has shown the effects of CBD on brain structure or quality of life. It will be some time before a large enough patient community exists for a multi-decade CBD clinical study to be completed.

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Why Are Further CBD Clinical Trials Important?

CBD is a substance humans have been in contact with for centuries. However, we know relatively little about its potential applications in modern medicine. Much of the data that exists is for older patients and those who have suffered chronic conditions for many years.

Promising CBD medical discoveries point to the possibility that it might be useful for a wide range of conditions throughout life. The better doctors come to understand how CBD affects the perception of pain, the easier it will be to prescribe effective and safe doses.

CBD can be refined to be very mild or very potent. It can also be introduced into the body in a whole spectrum of ways. Further CBD clinical trials are needed to gain a full understanding of the best way for patients to use CBD based on their health situation.

Current CBD Clinical Trials

The following CBD trials are the most up to date known to ClinicalTrials.gov. If you would like to showcase a clinical study on this page, contact our team.

ClinicalTrials.gov: Recruiting Studies | Cannabidiol | Last update posted in the last 300 days Studies found on ClinicalTrials.gov by a search of: Recruiting Studies | Cannabidiol | Last update posted in the last 300 days

Conditions: Healthy; Safety IssuesInterventions: Dietary Supplement: Cannabinol; Other: PlaceboSponsors: University of South Carolina; CBD Industries, LLCRecruiting

Condition: Opioid Use DisorderIntervention: Drug: Morphine SulfateSponsor: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

Conditions: Bladder, Overactive; Parkinson DiseaseIntervention: Drug: Medical CannabisSponsor: Sheba Medical CenterRecruiting

Condition: AddictionInterventions: Drug: CBD Day 1; Drug: CBD Day 2; Drug: CBD Day 3Sponsor: Yale UniversityRecruiting

Conditions: Back Pain; Depressive SymptomsInterventions: Drug: CBD; Other: PlaceboSponsor: Massachusetts General HospitalRecruiting

Conditions: Lennox Gastaut Syndrome; Dravet Syndrome; Tuberous Sclerosis ComplexIntervention: Drug: CannabidiolSponsor: GW Research LtdRecruiting

Condition: HealthyIntervention: Drug: CannabidiolSponsor: Hurd,Yasmin, Ph.D.Recruiting

Condition: Mild Cognitive ImpairmentInterventions: Drug: Cannabidiol Oil; Drug: HomotaurineSponsors: Aristotle University Of Thessaloniki; Greek Alzheimer’s Association and Related DisordersRecruiting

Condition: Osteoarthritis, KneeInterventions: Drug: CBD/CBN; Drug: CBD/THC; Drug: PlaceboSponsor: Pure GreenRecruiting

Condition: Fragile X SyndromeInterventions: Drug: ZYN002 – transdermal gel; Drug: PlaceboSponsor: Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Recruiting

Conditions: Rheumatoid Arthritis; CannabisInterventions: Drug: 200mg Cannabidiol by capsules twice daily; Drug: 400mg Cannabidiol by capsules twice daily; Drug: Placebo capsulesSponsor: University of California, Los AngelesRecruiting

Condition: HealthyIntervention: Dietary Supplement: Cannabidiol (CBD)Sponsor: University of Northern ColoradoRecruiting

Study Shows Cannabis Terpenes Provide Pain Relief, Contribute to ‘Entourage Effect’

When it comes to the medicinal and therapeutic properties of Cannabis sativa, an unsolved mystery is whether there exists an “entourage effect,” whereby the pain-relieving effects of the plant as a whole are greater than any of its individual parts. New research from the University of Arizona Health Sciences has found evidence that favors the entourage effect theory and positions Cannabis terpenes, the part of the plant that provides flavor and aroma, as a promising new target for pain therapies that would require lower doses and produce fewer side effects.

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“A lot of people are taking Cannabis and cannabinoids for pain,” said lead researcher John Streicher, PhD, a member of the UArizona Health Sciences Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center and associate professor of pharmacology at the College of Medicine – Tucson. “We’re interested in the concept of the entourage effect, with the idea being that maybe we can boost the modest pain-relieving efficacy of THC and not boost the psychoactive side effects, so you could have a better therapeutic.”

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants and are the basic component in essential oils. The terpene linalool, for example, gives lavender its distinctive floral scent. In addition to terpenes, Cannabis sativa contains naturally occurring compounds known as cannabinoids, the most well-known of which are cannabidiol, or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis.

Researchers found that Cannabis terpenes, when used by themselves, mimic the effects of cannabinoids, including a reduction in pain sensation. When combined with cannabinoids, the pain-relieving effects were amplified without an increase in negative side effects. The paper, “Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity,” was published in Scientific Reports.

“It was unexpected, in a way,” said Dr. Streicher. “It was our initial hypothesis, but we didn’t necessarily expect terpenes, these simple compounds that are found in multiple plants, to produce cannabinoid-like effects.”

Dr. Streicher and the research team, including former graduate student and first author Justin LaVigne, PhD, former undergraduate researcher Ryan Hecksel and former postdoctoral fellow Attila Kerestztes, PhD, focused on four Cannabis terpenes: alpha-humulene, geraniol, linalool and beta-pinene. They evaluated each terpene alone and in combination with WIN55,212-2, a synthetic cannabinoid agonist that stimulates the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors.

When a cannabinoid such as THC enters the body, it binds to one of two cannabinoid receptors – CB1R, which is the most abundant, or CB2R. The receptor then activates neurons that affect physiological processes and behavior. In laboratory experiments, researchers found that all four terpenes activated the CB1R, just like THC.

Behavioral studies in mouse models revealed that when administered individually, all four terpenes lowered pain sensitivity, and at least three of the four classic cannabinoid side effects: reduced pain sensation, lowered body temperature, reduced movement and catalepsy, a freezing behavior related to the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids. When terpenes were combined with WIN55,212-2, researchers saw a greater reduction in pain sensation compared with either the terpene or WIN55,212-2 alone, demonstrating a terpene/cannabinoid interaction in controlling pain.