OXFORD, April 3 — Cannabidiol is said to be effective in relieving a wide range of ailments, all without any psychotropic or addictive effects. However, a British-Canadian study published in the Journal of Pain claims that this cannabis extract does not have the pain-relieving properties it is often attributed.

Researchers from the Universities of Bath, Oxford and Alberta made this finding after reviewing studies on the use of CBD in pain management, published in scientific journals up to the end of 2023.

It emerged that most commercially available CBD products (oils, capsules, gummies, creams, etc.) contain varying amounts of cannabidiol, if any at all. They may, however, contain traces of other chemical substances, some of which may be illegal and harmful to health, such as THC (the psychotropic compound in cannabis).

In addition, the researchers analysed the results of 16 clinical trials evaluating the pain-relieving properties of CBD. They found that cannabidiol was ineffective in pain management in almost all the clinical trials studied. It had the same effect as a placebo.


Even more worryingly, the scientists noted that CBD is not without side effects. It can cause liver damage — or hepatotoxicity — in some patients who consume it. What’s more, while cannabidiol has no narcotic effect, it can lead to addictive behaviour, with veterans taking it to relieve chronic pain being at increased risk of cannabis use disorder.

This is all the more reason for the researchers to warn consumers about the purported benefits of cannabidiol. “[CBD] is touted as a cure for all pain, but there’s a complete lack of quality evidence that it has any positive effects,” says Professor Chris Eccleston of the University of Bath, who led the research.

Professor Eccleston and colleagues encourage chronic pain sufferers to use CBD cautiously in their care pathway. “Chronic pain can be awful, so people are very motivated to find pain relief by any means. This makes them vulnerable to the wild promises made about CBD,” says study coauthor, Dr Andrew Moore, quoted in the same news release.


At present, the scientific community remains highly cautious about the wellness potential of CBD-based products. Yet the CBD market is flourishing. In fact, it could be worth US$60 billion (€56 billion) by 2030. — ETX Studio