Health and Wellness

CBD pain relief products ‘don’t work and may be harmful to health’: New research casts doubt over ‘wild promises’ of trendy oils, gummies and patches

Trendy CBD pain relief products don’t work and may be harmful to health, according to new research.

Sold at many health food shops in capsules, oils, gummies, patches, creams and drinks, CBD is marketed as a natural alternative to medication.

But now scientists from Bath and Oxford have found it is no better than a placebo at relieving pain, and the unregulated products may contain other chemicals that may be harmful.

Professor Chris Eccleston, from the University of Bath, said: ‘CBD presents consumers with a big problem. It’s touted as a cure for all pain.

The study, published in the Journal of Pain, found products contained varying amounts of CBD, from none to much more than advertised

‘But there’s a complete lack of quality evidence that it has any positive effects.

‘It’s almost as if chronic pain patients don’t matter, and that we’re happy for people to trade on hope and despair. 

‘Pain deserves investment in serious science to find serious solutions.’

CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is one of many chemicals found naturally in the cannabis plant.

In the UK, CBD products sold on the retail market are not covered by trade standards, meaning there is no requirement for them to be consistent in content or quality.

The global CBD product market is booming – worth an estimated £2.4billion in 2021 and anticipated to reach £48billion by 2030.

The study, published in the Journal of Pain, found products contained varying amounts of CBD, from none to much more than advertised.

Some may also contain chemicals other than CBD, which may be harmful or illegal, including THC — the main psychoactive component of cannabis.

They found consumption of CBD products is linked to increased rates of serious adverse events, including liver toxicity.

Dr Andrew Moore, of the University of Oxford, said: ‘For too many people, there’s no medicine that manages their chronic pain. 

‘Chronic pain can be awful, so they are very motivated to find pain relief by any means. 

‘This makes them vulnerable to the wild promises made about CBD.’

He added healthcare regulators appear reluctant to act against the spurious claims made by some manufacturers of CBD products, particularly when the products are widely regarded as harmless.

‘What this means is that there are no consumer protections,’ he said. 

‘And without a countervailing body to keep the CBD sellers in check, it’s unlikely that the false promises being made about CBD’s analgesic effects will slow down in the years ahead.’

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