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cbd clinical trials for pain

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De Vita and Maisto used sophisticated equipment that safely induces experimental heat pain, allowing them to measure how the recipient’s nervous system reacts and responds to it.

“Then we administer a drug, like pure CBD, or a placebo and then re-assess their pain responses and see how they change based on which substance was administered,” said De Vita. Researchers then took it a step farther by manipulating the information given to participants about which substances they received.

“For science and the public at large the question remained, is the pain relief that CBD users claim to experience due to pharmacological effects or placebo effects,” asked Martin De Vita, a researcher in the psychology department at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. “That’s a fair question because we know that simply telling someone that a substance has the ability to relieve their pain can actually cause robust changes in their pain sensitivity. These are called expectancy effects.”

As part of the study De Vita and Maisto developed advanced experimental pain measurement protocols “to pop the hood and start looking at some of these other mechanistic pain processes,” said De Vita. “It’s not just pain, yes or no, but there are these other dimensions of pain, and it would be interesting to see which ones are being targeted. We found that sometimes pharmacological effects of CBD brought down some of those, but the expectancies did not. Sometimes they both did it. Sometimes it was just the expectancy. And so, we were going into this thinking we were going to primarily detect the expectancy-induced pain relief but what we found out was way more complex than that and that’s exciting.”

Syracuse University Emeritus Psychology Professor Stephen Maisto is a coauthor of the CBD pain relief study. Credit: Syracuse University