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does cbd really help with pain

Many plants contain cannabinoids, and people often confuse CBD with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is another type of cannabinoid. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a “high” or euphoric effect because it does not affect the same receptors as THC.

CBD has been credited with relieving anxiety, inflammation, insomnia, and pain, although currently, the most scientific proof rests with its effects in people with epilepsy. Epidiolex is a prescription CBD oil that was FDA approved in June 2018 for two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome.

Official Answer

By law, industrial hemp from which CBD is extracted must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC to be considered hemp, otherwise, growers are at risk of prosecution under federal law.

An extensive 2018 review on the use of cannabis and cannabidiol products for pain relief stated:

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 17, 2019.

From the proliferation of CBD stores and CBD-infused products, you’d think CBD is legal, either…

One medication made from CBD, called Epidiolex, is an FDA-approved drug for treating a certain type of epilepsy. Otherwise, CBD falls into a very bizarre legal grey area .

There is research on CBD, but the setups of the studies are only distantly related to the scenarios in which people use over-the-counter CBD products. Sometimes the studies will administer a massive dose of CBD that’s out of the average person’s budget for regular use, or they’ll test CBD/THC combination products—and even then, the results aren’t necessarily clear. The studies are also often looking at patients with cancer or specific medical conditions, rather than people who want to treat everyday aches and pains. This 2020 review paper on CBD for chronic pain sums up the state of the science:

Does the FDA have anything helpful to say about this?

If you use a CBD product and you think it’s working, I certainly won’t tell you to stop . But the FDA may come for the manufacturer eventually.

R ather than crack down on every CBD-containing product out there, the FDA sends warning letters to the specific companies that it thinks are doing the most harm. This month’s letters include one to a company that sells “Elixicure” “pain relief” CBD products, and another to a company that markets a variety of unproven products as if they were drugs, including silver-containing products in addition to CBD. Both companies also failed factory inspections.

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It’s really hard to say. The way it’s marketed, you would think pain relief is a well-understood use of CBD. There are versions of the product that you can swallow or inhale, but there are also tons of salves and lotions that aim to make you feel better when you rub it on whatever body part hurts. But the truth is, nobody knows if it works.