September 2019

Does CBD Help with Chronic Pain?

It’s increasingly common to consider using CBD for pain management. Several manufacturers even promote their CBD products for this use, and clinicians are getting a lot of questions about it. So, what should you tell patients?

Unfortunately, CBD has never been studied for chronic pain. The closest thing to pain that has been assessed in clinical research is CBD for multiple sclerosis (MS)-related pain. While CBD improved self-reported pain in this small, preliminary study, the jury’s still out as to whether it is truly beneficial for MS-related pain and whether it can improve chronic pain in other populations. Although CBD research is currently booming, it may be some time until we have any definitive evidence.

If patients are interested in using CBD for pain, tell them that for now there isn’t enough data to know if it will work. And remind them that although there are plenty of CBD products available online and in stores, it is currently illegal under federal law to market CBD as a food or dietary supplement. Furthermore, CBD can cause side effects and interact with certain drugs. To learn more about one potential risk of CBD and other cannabis products, check out our recent article on cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. And to find out more about other adverse effects associated with CBD use, take a look at the Adverse Effects section of our CBD monograph.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2023 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.