Background

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotomimetic cannabinoid compound found in plants of the genus Cannabis. Preclinical research has suggested there is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. Research has also been shown to reduce drug cue-induced craving of prescription pain and anxiety.

Objective

The objective of this study is to show the uses of cannabidiol in pain patients taking prescription opioids (for pain) and benzodiazepines (for anxiety). The patients have decreased the need for these medications when taking CBD. This retrospective case study examined the effect of oral administration of CBD gel caps on symptoms of chronic pain.

Methods

This clinical study was a multi-center retrospective cohort study that evaluated opioid and benzodiazepine use over six months for 75 patients treated for chronic pain from multiple etiologies. This retrospective case study examined the effect of oral administrated CBD gel caps on patients with chronic pain. These patients had opioid intake for chronic pain for more than two years, some ingesting opioids for 15 -25 plus years.

CBD was provided to the patients by healthcare practitioners but self-administered with dosing recommended by a healthcare provider. The patient’s symptom severity and opioid use were assessed at follow-up appointments every 4 weeks.

The pain scores were done at regular intervals with 10/10 being severe pain, with 10 being the “worst possible pain experienced by the patient in their lifetime.” The pain scores were obtained and documented before each evaluation.

Results

Before the study began the patients had an average pain score of 8-10. At the end of the six months their average pain score was 2-4/10 representing a 80% decline in their subjective pain assessment.”

From the cohort of 75 patients, 78% experienced a decrease in symptom severity as evidenced by declining pain scores of 2-4/10 after treatment. For all 75 patients, the MME’s (the amount of medication) of pain medications began decreasing within 30 days, and continued throughout until the patient was stable.

At the beginning of the study, the patients were ingesting on average 180 MME’s a day and by the month three, the patients had reduced their intake to 90 MME’s per day.

In addition to those statistics, the patients stated they did not experience any anxiety or cravings for their pain medications and titrated their opioid and benzodiazepines use down significantly. The patients decreased their opioid consumption with some completely terminating opioid use. CBD has been shown to decrease depression; therefore the patient’s use of benzodiazepines and antidepressants was decreased as well. The CBD gel caps were generally well tolerated without any adverse effects seen.

Conclusion and Relevance

At the conclusion of this 6-month retrospective study of patients using CBD for chronic pain, 100% of the study participants reduced to some degree their prescription opioid and benzodiazepine intake and the number of MME’s that were needed for pain control. A total of 59 persons completely eliminated their use of opioids by the end of the 6 months. A total of 16 patients continued to take 1-2 tablets on a PRN basis but continued to take CBD products at the recommended dosage.

In addition, none of the patients exhibited withdrawal symptoms or anxiety transitioning off their opioids and benzodiazepines.

Secondly, there was no opioid cravings or recidivism once the patients were released from care and continued on the CBD regime. The patients were also supported with vitamin therapy to replace the depleted stores connected with long-term opioid dependence.

Follow-up evaluations were done for the patients by the treating physician they were referred to or seeing.

A group of 10 patients who had pain scores of 8-10/10 before beginning the CBD treatment program were given the Bridge Infusion Shot™ before treatment onset. Each patient’s pain score was immediately reduced to 1-2/10. Outside the scope of this specific study, Bridge Infusion Shot™ was given to over 1,000 patients over two years and all experienced some decrease in pain without any additional medications.