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cbd for pain management

Purpose of review: Given the growing challenges in chronic pain management coupled with the ongoing consequences of the opioid epidemic, pain management practitioners are looking into more effective, innovative, and safer alternatives to treat pain. Cannabis-based medicine had been described for hundreds of years but only recently have we seen the more scientific, evidence-based approach to its use, and ongoing investigations continue to explore its potential medical benefits. While historically more attention has been paid to the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there have been fewer scientific studies on the medical use of the cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

Recent findings: By examining recent literature, we investigated the use of CBD and its potential role in pain management. Since there are currently no approved pharmaceutical products that contain CBD alone for the management of pain, this review focused on nabiximols (which is a combined product of THC/CBD in a 1:1 ratio) as the only pharmaceutical product available that contains CBD and is being used for the management of pain. It is difficult to definitely attribute the therapeutic properties to CBD alone since it is always administered with THC. Based on the available literature, it is difficult to make a recommendation for the use of CBD in chronic pain management. It is also important to note that there are many CBD products currently available as supplements, but these products are non-pharmaceuticals and lack the appropriate clinical studies to support their efficacy claims.

Keywords: CBD; Cannabidiol; Cannabinoids; Efficacy; Pain; THC; Treatment.

Cbd for pain management

A 2019 study found Sativex to be an “effective and well-tolerated add-on treatment” for patients with severe chronic pain stemming from various ailments. The study identified three types of pain: nociceptive (affecting body tissue), neuropathic (affecting nerves) and mixed pain. Sativex helped treat all three kinds but proved especially effective against neuropathic pain.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common cause of neuropathic pain. The disease wears down myelin, a mixture of proteins and phospholipids that coats nerve cells. Sativex is already approved as an MS treatment around the world due to its success in clinical trials. As a spray, Sativex is absorbed in the mouth. Studies support a median dose of eight sprays a day for patients with MS, which provides about 20 milligrams of CBD and 21.6 milligrams of THC [12] Sativex Oromucosal Spray – Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC). Datapharm. Accessed 7/9/2021. . However, doses vary between patients, and each person needs to find their optimal dose.

CBD for Pain Relief

Without the intoxicating properties of its cousin delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) can provide the human body with a handful of health benefits. Cannabinoids like CBD interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in signaling bodily functions, from emotional responses to motor control to energy balance [1] Mouslech Z, Valla V. Endocannabinoid system: An overview of its potential in current medical practice. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2009;30(2):153-179. .

Arthritis is a broad term that encompasses hundreds of joint-related conditions and pains. Common symptoms include swelling, pain and stiffness in the joints and may progress over time.

CBD for Arthritis and Joint Pain

An earlier study also found CBD to be effective in chronic pain relief for conditions like multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, although across a much smaller sample size [4] Wade DT, Robson P, House H, Makela P, Aram J. A preliminary controlled study to determine whether whole-plant cannabis extracts can improve intractable neurogenic symptoms. Clin Rehabil. 2003;17(1):21-29. .