Study | CBD is useless for pain and could even be dangerous

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are useless for pain and could even prove dangerous, warns a meta-analysis in which a Canadian researcher participated.

For people suffering from pain, the evidence for CBD or hemp extract shows that it is expensive, not effective, and may be harmful,” summarize the authors of the published study. by The Journal of Pain.

Dr. Sebastian Straub, from the University of Alberta School of Public Health, and colleagues reviewed 16 double-blind, randomized studies published since 2019 that compared the effectiveness of CBD to that of a placebo for pain management.

Fifteen of these studies concluded that CBD was in no way superior to placebo.

“There isn’t a lot of evidence that (CBD) works for people living with pain, and there are significant concerns that it could be harmful,” Dr. Straub said.

However, there are many products on the market that contain CBD and claim to relieve pain.

What’s more, analyzes have shown that only about a quarter of products containing CBD actually contain the amount advertised on the label, “and that’s concerning,” said the researcher.

The problem, Dr. Straub said, is that the advertising rules that apply to cannabis are different from those that govern regulated pharmaceutical products.

“There is no good reason to believe that CBD relieves pain, but there is good reason to doubt the content of CBD products in terms of CBD content and purity,” the authors warn in The Journal of Pain.

In the popular imagination, natural products like cannabis are often perceived as harmless. The new study instead cites another meta-analysis, this one published a year ago by the journal Neurology, which indicates that 10% of patients with epilepsy who took CBD reported at least one adverse side effect, i.e. twice as many as those who took a placebo.

Another meta-analysis found higher enzyme levels in the livers of 7% of CBD consumers. Use of the substance has also been associated with a greater risk of automobile accidents.

“I would say there is no reliable evidence of effectiveness, but there is evidence of harm,” Dr. Straub said. So one might wonder why anyone would want to take it.

“The answer to this question is obvious: people in pain very often don’t have anything that works well and eliminates their pain, so they are desperate, sometimes rightly so, and willing to try new things and willing to believe carefully worded advertising claims (which) lead them to use CBD even though there is no evidence of its effectiveness. »

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