A new study out of Rutgers University has found that cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, can help patients manage acute dental pain, forgoing the need for harmful opioids.
In a new study published in the Journal of Dental Research, researchers from Rutgers University have discovered that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-addictive derivative of marijuana, holds significant promise in alleviating acute dental pain. This groundbreaking finding suggests that CBD could be a safer alternative to traditional opioid painkillers, with potential applications in dental pain management.
Lead study author Vanessa Chrepa, an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, highlighted the current challenges in dental pain management in a press release from Rutgers.
“The first line of defense for dental pain has always been anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve), but many patients can’t take such medications or can’t get sufficient relief from them, so dentists have traditionally been among the largest prescribers of opioid medications, either alone or in combination with these other medications,” Chrepa says in the press release.
Per Chrepa, because opioid-related addiction and death are so prevalent, finding new ways to effectively manage pain is crucial in fighting back. Hence, this trial was formed out of Rutgers.
The clinical trial, involving 61 participants with severe tooth pain, randomly assigned participants to receive either one of two doses of an FDA-approved pure CBD solution called Epidiolex or a placebo. For 3 hours, patients’ pain levels were monitored using a standardized visual analog scale. The results revealed that both CBD groups experienced significantly more pain reduction than the placebo group. Approximately 85% of CBD users reported at least a 50% reduction in their initial pain, with both CBD groups achieving a median 70% reduction in pain.
A notable outcome of the study was the increase in bite force among participants who received CBD, suggesting an improvement in tooth function and implying potential benefits for individuals with dental pain that makes it difficult to chew food.
Despite the promising results, the study acknowledged certain limitations, including a small sample size and side effects such as sedation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain occurring more frequently in the CBD groups than the placebo group. The researchers emphasized the need for more extensive research to confirm these findings and explore broader applications of CBD in pain management.
“There are more things to study with follow-up research. Can CBD be used to manage postoperative pain for patients who have undergone tooth extraction or root canal? Can we get even better pain relief by combining it with other agents like Tylenol?” Chrepa says in the press release. “That said, the results of this study are strong enough to make a compelling case to use pure CBD like Epidiolex for dental pain. A larger phase 3 trial will be the next step to get FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) approval for Epidiolex or other pure CBD solutions to use for dental pain management. I am looking forward to translating this into common practice. It will tremendously help patients with acute toothache and possibly other acute inflammatory pain conditions.”
To read this study, visit The Journal of Dental Research here.