By Prof. Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG)
Huntington University of Health Sciences
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been used extensively for a broad range of medical conditions, including pain management. Following are summaries of three published studies on the use of CBD in pain management in small, unique population groups
Kidney transplant pain
Since chronic pain is a major therapeutic problem in kidney transplant patients, a study1 was conducted to assess the effect, safety, and possible drug interactions of CBD for chronic pain in seven kidney transplant patients, age-range 58-75 years. Doses were increased from 50 to 150 mg twice a day for three weeks. CBD initial dose was 100 mg/d, and two patients required a dose decrease. The results were that two patients had total pain improvement, four had a partial response in the first 15 days, and in one there was no change. The researchers indicated that CBD was well-tolerated, and there were no severe adverse effects.
Epidermolysis bullosa Pain
Epidermolysis bullosa is a rare blistering skin disorder that is challenging to manage because skin fragility and repeated wound healing cause itching, pain, limited mobility, and recurrent infections. In an observational study,2 three epidermolysis bullosa patients self-initiated topical CBD use. The results were that one patient was weaned completely off oral opioid analgesics, and all three reported faster wound healing, less blistering, and amelioration of pain with CBD use.
Pain Resulting From HPV Vaccine
An anecdotal, retrospective, “compassionate-use,” observational, open-label study3 was conducted using sublingual CBD-rich hemp oil drops in eight females (age 12-24 years) with adverse drug effects (including pain) following human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The dose was 25 mg/kg per day supplemented by 2-5 mg/ml CBD once a week until a maximum dose of 150 mg/ml CBD per day was reached over a three-month period. Patients’ quality of life was evaluated using the medical outcome short-form health survey questionnaire (SF-36). The results showed significant benefits in the physical component score (P < 0.02), vitality (P < 0.03) and social role functioning (P < 0.02) after the treatment. The administration of hemp oil also significantly reduced body pain according to the SF-36 assessment.
Research on the use of CBD in managing various pain syndromes is ongoing. Meanwhile initial research suggests that CBD may be useful in managing pain associated with kidney transplant, epidermolysis bullosa, and HPV vaccine.
1 Cuñetti L, Manzo L, Peyraube R, Arnaiz J, Curi L, Orihuela S. Chronic Pain Treatment With Cannabidiol in Kidney Transplant Patients in Uruguay. Transplant Proc. 2018 Mar;50(2):461-464.
2 Chelliah MP, Zinn Z, Khuu P, Teng JMC. Self-initiated use of topical cannabidiol oil for epidermolysis bullosa. Pediatr Dermatol. 2018 Jul;35(4):e224-e227.
3 Palmieri B, Laurino C, Vadalà M. Short-Term Efficacy of CBD-Enriched Hemp Oil in Girls with Dysautonomic Syndrome after Human Papillomavirus Vaccination. Isr Med Assoc J. 2017 Feb;19(2):79-84.
Professor Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, the Provost for Huntington College of Health Sciences, is a nutritionist, herbalist, writer and educator. For more than 37 years he has educated and trained natural product retailers and health care professionals, has researched and formulated natural products for dozens of dietary supplement companies, and has written articles on nutrition, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals and integrative health issues for trade, consumer magazines and peer-reviewed publications. He can be reached at email@example.com.