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Study Finds CBD Doesn’t Lessen Psoriatic Arthritis Pain More Than Placebo

Posted on November 09, 2021
See how 190 members reacted on this article
Medically reviewed by
Ariel D. Teitel, M.D., M.B.A.
Article written by
Emily Wagner, M.S.

  • Researchers in Denmark found that cannabidiol (CBD) was no more effective than a placebo in relieving psoriatic arthritis pain when combined with conventional pain management.
  • Participants reported similar pain relief when taking either a placebo or 10 to 30 milligrams of CBD per day over 12 weeks.
  • The findings align with some studies on CBD’s use in pain management, though research of higher doses of CBD and other pain disorders are needed, the researchers concluded.

In a new study, researchers found that cannabidiol did not relieve pain any better than a placebo for people living with psoriatic arthritis or hand osteoarthritis. The study did find a similar reduction in pain intensity from both CBD and the placebo. Studies investigating higher doses of CBD and assessing different pain disorders are needed, the researchers concluded.

Research into CBD’s ability to relieve pain has proven inconclusive over the years: According to the research team, their findings support a review of 36 previous studies that found little evidence of CBD’s ability to relieve pain. Other studies since 2000 have found CBD’s effect on chronic pain to range from placebo-equivalent to highly effective.

Does CBD Work To Relieve Pain?

CBD is the second most abundant active ingredient found in the cannabis (marijuana) plant. However, it is mainly sourced from hemp, a close relative of cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another active ingredient in marijuana, CBD has no psychoactive properties and does not cause a “high.” CBD has been studied for its uses in treating insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, and more. It is also approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating two types of epilepsy.

CBD and other plant-based active ingredients found in the cannabis plant are thought to relieve pain due to their anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies support the claim. Others have suggested otherwise, finding little to no evidence that CBD helps relieve pain. In general, CBD research using human test subjects has been limited.

Researchers for the new study noted that CBD is increasingly being marketed for relieving pain and helping with other symptoms and conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. “At present CBD is being introduced as medicine worldwide with a lack of evidence for effect,” the researchers wrote. “This necessitates investigation of CBD including dosing regimens, treatment efficacy in different pain conditions in high quality studies.”

Learn more about CBD oil for psoriasis.

CBD vs. Placebo

This double-blind study conducted in Denmark set out to look at the safety and efficacy of CBD treatment — in conjunction with conventional pain management — in participants with psoriatic arthritis (59 participants) and hand osteoarthritis (77 participants).

Each participant took either placebo tablets or CBD tablets for 12 weeks. Doses of CBD started at 10 milligrams per day, then increased to 10 milligrams twice per day. The dose was further increased to 10 milligrams three times per day for those who reported no reduction in pain.

Overall, there was no difference in pain intensities between the two groups after 12 weeks of treatment. However, “a statistically significant reduction from baseline in pain intensity was found for both CBD … and placebo,” according to the study.

Researchers reported no statistically significant effects on sleep quality, depression, or anxiety from CBD or the placebo.

More CBD Research Needed With More People, Higher Doses

While CBD has been reputed to treat inflammatory conditions and relieve pain, this study found no difference in pain relief between CBD and placebo. The researchers noted, however, that future studies involving higher doses of CBD and more subjects are needed.

“We [chose] a pragmatic dose of 20-30 mg daily based on recommendations from patient surveys and used similar trials,” the study noted. “This dose could prove insufficient to produce the plasma concentrations required to activate relevant receptors involved in inflammation. … CBD dosage regimes used in trials regarding neurological disease often surpass 1,000 mg daily but with a significant number of side-effects.”

A MyPsoriasisTeam Member said:

It works on my inflammation like magic.

posted 4 days ago

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Ariel D. Teitel, M.D., M.B.A. is the clinical associate professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Emily Wagner, M.S. holds a Master of Science in biomedical sciences with a focus in pharmacology. She is passionate about immunology, cancer biology, and molecular biology. Learn more about her here.

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