CSCI Research Brief

Evaluation of the effects of CBD hemp extract on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients: a prospective cohort study

Capano A, Weaver R, Burkman E. Evaluation of the effects of CBD hemp extract on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients: a prospective cohort study. Postgraduate Medicine. 2019;132(1):56-61. doi:10.1080/00325481.2019.1685298

Long-term (chronic) pain is prevalent in most of the world’s industrial countries. Opioids are commonly used to treat long-term pain, regardless of their severe adverse effects. 

Study Method

An initial group of 131 patients, aged 30 to 65, were recruited from a pain management center to participate in the 9-week study; 97 participants completed the study.  The patients had chronic pain and had been prescribed and taking opioids for at least 12 months. Opioid use, as well as other medications used, was observed and data was recorded at baseline, 4, and 8 weeks. Several parameters were used to measure improvement, including:

  • The Pain Disability Index (PDI-4)
  • The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)
  • The Pain Intensity and Interference (PEG)
  • The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-4)

Study Results

The study findings include:

  • Over 50% of those with chronic pain were able to reduce or stop taking opioids within 8 weeks of adding CBD, sourced from hemp, to their pain management regimen.
  • 94% of the study participants reported an increase quality of life as a result of taking CBD for pain.
  • A significant relationship was observed between CBD and the PSQI (i.e., sleep quality) improvement 
  • Improvement was observed in the PHQ (i.e., health questionnaire) and PDI (i.e., pain disability index) but no significant relationship between CBD use and the PDI or PHQ was observed.

The study authors concluded, “CBD could significantly reduce opioid use and improve chronic pain and sleep quality among patients who are currently using opioids for pain management.”

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