Study: CBD Administration Associated with Reduced Opioid Use in Chronic Pain Patients

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Louisville, KY: The administration of CBD-rich soft-gel capsules is associated with reduced opioid intake and improved quality of life in chronic pain patients, according to clinical trial data in the journal Postgraduate Medicine.

Investigators from the University of Louisville in Kentucky and The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia assessed the use of plant-derived, standardized CBD-dominant oral extracts (15.7mgs CBD and 0.5mgs THC) in pain patients over an eight-week period. Most participants consumed two soft gels daily over the course of the study.

Of those participants who completed the trial, 53 percent reduced their use of opioids. Ninety-four percent of subjects reported improvements in their quality of life, including reductions in pain and improved sleep.

Researchers reported: "This study concludes that using CBD for chronic pain in patients using opioids has a significant effect on reducing opioid intake, reducing pain and improving QoL (quality of life). Over half of the participants who added CBD hemp extract reduced or eliminated opioids over the course of 8 weeks, and almost all CBD users reported improvements in QoL. … This is consistent with emerging literature on the topic, which has concluded that CBD is an effective analgesic, and one that helps reduce barriers to opioid reduction, such as physiological withdrawal symptoms."

Numerous prior studies – such as those here and here – have similarly demonstrated that pain patients typically mitigate or eliminate their use of opioid drugs after initiating medical cannabis therapy.

Full text of the study, "Evaluations of effects of CBD hemp extract on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients: a prospective cohort study," appears in Postgraduate Medicine. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, 'Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids."