Can CBD Help with Pain?


Chronic pain is an emerging public health problem of massive proportions, especially in view of the aging population in industrialized countries. The associated facts and figures are daunting: chronic musculoskeletal pain with disability affects more than one in four older people, while figures in Australia show that the older half of the elderly have persistent pain and up to 80% in nursing home populations.

Physicians treating difficult-to-treat patients suffering from cancer-associated pain, neuropathic pain, and central pain conditions (e.g., multiple sclerosis-associated pain) who are often not adequately treated with available opioids, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants face particular difficulties. Physicians are seeking new approaches to treat these conditions, but many remain concerned about increased government control over their prescribing practices, prescription drug misuse, or diversion. The entry of cannabinoid drugs into the pharmacopoeia offers a novel approach to the problem of chronic pain management that offers new hope to many, but also fuels the flames of controversy among politicians and the public alike.

This article attempts to present information on cannabinoid mechanisms of analgesia, review randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of available and emerging cannabinoid substances, and address the many sensitive issues that have arisen in the clinical use of hemp itself. Efforts will be made to place the issues in context and propose rational approaches that mitigate concerns and show how standardized pharmaceutical cannabinoids can be a welcome addition to the pharmacotherapeutic toolkit in the treatment of chronic pain.


A study in the Journal of Pain used an animal model to see if CBD could help people with arthritis relieve their pain. Researchers applied a topical gel containing CBD to rats with arthritis for 4 days. Their researchers found a significant decrease in inflammation and pain symptoms with no additional side effects. People using CBD oil for arthritis may find relief from their pain, but more human studies are needed to confirm these results.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the entire body through the nerves and brain. Muscle cramps are one of the most common symptoms of MS. These cramps can be so severe that they cause constant pain in some people. One report found that short-term use of CBD may reduce the amount of spasticity a person feels. The results are modest, but many people reported a reduction in symptoms.

Chronic pain

The same report examined the use of CBD in general chronic pain. The researchers have compiled the results of several systematic reviews including dozens of studies and trials. Their research concluded that there is substantial evidence that hemp is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. A separate study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine supports these findings. This suggests that the use of CBD can relieve pain and inflammation.

The researchers also found that subjects were unlikely to develop tolerance to the effects of CBD, so they would not need to continually increase their dose. They found that cannabinoids, such as CBD, could offer useful new treatment options for people with chronic pain. However, CBD has great potential for pain relief. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in many cases it can be used to treat chronic pain. CBD is particularly promising because it is non-intoxicating and may have a lower potential for side effects than many other pain relievers.

More research

Overall, researchers agree that while there is no conclusive data to support CBD as a preferred method of pain management, this type of product has great potential. CBD products can help many people with chronic pain without causing intoxication or addiction. While many studies have shown CBD to be helpful for pain, more research is needed, especially in long-term studies with human volunteers.

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