Opioid alternatives: Rutgers study shows cannabidiol (CBD) effective in treating toothaches

A Rutgers University study found that CBD, a non-addictive cannabis derivative, can significantly reduce toothache and is a safer alternative to opioids. The study, which involved monitoring pain relief in participants, shows the potential of CBD in treating toothache, with plans for further research and a Phase III trial.

Rutgers University researchers report that CBD can effectively relieve toothache, providing a potential alternative to opioids. Further studies are planned to confirm these findings and explore the use of CBD in pain management.

In a groundbreaking study that could revolutionize toothache treatment, Rutgers University researchers have discovered that cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-addictive cannabis derivative – can relieve acute toothache.

CBD as a safer pain management option

This unprecedented result occurred in Journal of Dental Research And suggests that CBD, which does not produce a “high” in users, may be an equally effective but safer alternative to addictive opioid painkillers.

“The first line of defense for toothaches has always been anti-inflammatory medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), but many patients are unable to take these medications or Not Getting Adequate Relief Study lead author Vanessa Chrepa, associate professor and clinical and translational director at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, said the study was conducted in the school’s Department of Endodontics.

“The increase in addiction and deaths related to opioids has everyone looking for a better alternative, something that can relieve severe pain without harming so many patients. Most research has focused on the alternative benefits of marijuana. One ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but THC is psychoactive. It can get users high and have other negative effects. We looked at cannabidiol, or CBD, because of previous research from other majors Shows that it can relieve toothache without producing any psychoactive effects, which is really what everyone wants to find.”

Clinical trials and promising results

The clinical trial involved 61 participants with severe toothache who were randomly assigned to receive one of two doses of Epidiolex, an FDA-approved pure CBD solution, or a placebo. The researchers monitored patients’ pain levels for three hours using a visual analogue scale (VAS), a standard tool for assessing pain intensity.

The pain reduction was significantly greater in the CBD group than in the placebo group. About 85% of CBD users reported at least a 50% reduction in their initial pain, with a median pain reduction of 70% in both CBD groups.

Another important finding of the study was an increase in bite force among participants who received CBD, suggesting that the compound improves tooth function and therefore may be particularly beneficial for those suffering from toothache that affects the ability to chew.

Side effects such as sedation, diarrhea and abdominal pain were more common in the CBD group than in the placebo group. Additionally, the study had limitations, including a small sample size, suggesting that more extensive research is needed to confirm these findings and explore broader applications of CBD in pain management.

Future studies and Phase 3 trials

Plans for a larger Phase III clinical trial are underway to build on these promising results and fully elucidate the safety of CBD in treating toothache.

“There is much more to be studied in follow-up studies. Can CBD be used to control postoperative pain in patients undergoing tooth extraction or root canal treatment? Can we get better pain relief by combining it with other medications such as Tylenol? Chilepa said. “That said, the results of this study are enough to provide a compelling reason to use pure CBD such as Epidiolex to treat toothache. The next step will be to conduct a larger Phase 3 trial to obtain FDA approval of Epidiolex or other pure CBD solutions. for dental pain management. I look forward to translating this into general practice. It will greatly help patients suffering from acute dental pain and possibly other acute inflammatory pain.”

Reference: “Cannabidiol as an alternative analgesic for acute dental pain,” V. Chrepa, S. Villasenor, A. Mauney, G. Kotsakis, and L. Macpherson, October 31, 2023 Journal of Dental Research.
DOI: 10.1177/00220345231200814

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