According to a large study, scientists find little evidence that cannabis oils help end pain
- Many advertisements for CBD imply pain relief, but most are classified as a dietary supplement
- CBD sold in UK stores must contain no more than 1mg of cannabinoids such as THC
- dr Amir Englund said: “There is an almost complete lack of well-designed studies”
- Cannabis products have become a £700million-a-year business in the UK
Trending cannabis-based products, which have become a £700million-a-year business in the UK, don’t appear to be relieving pain, according to a major US study.
Over the past decade there has been a boom in sales of oils, sprays and ointments containing cannabidiol (CBD) – one of the main active compounds in cannabis, but which does not induce the “high” associated with the Class B drug.
Many advertisements for CBD products imply health benefits, including pain relief, although since nearly all are classified as dietary supplements, manufacturers are prohibited from making explicit claims. But researchers in a US government-backed study have now found little evidence they help in that regard.
Author Professor Marian McDonagh of Oregon Health and Science University wrote in the journal Annals Of Internal Medicine: “With so much fuss about cannabis-related products and the ready availability of marijuana in many [US] States might assume consumers that there is more evidence of the benefits and side effects. Unfortunately, there is very little scientifically based research on most of these products.’
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The researchers found that products with very high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the psychoactive compound in cannabis that causes its “high” — seemed to help with chronic pain, at least in the short term, although patients who took them often experienced drowsiness and suffered nausea.
However, by law, CBD products sold in UK stores cannot contain more than 1mg of legally controlled cannabinoids such as THC. For a 30g bottle of CBD oil, that equates to about 0.003 percent THC.
dr Amir Englund, from the Department of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience at King’s College London, said: “There is almost no complete lack of well-designed studies” on cannabis products for pain relief, and few had tested the products against a placebo.