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September 20, 2019

$3 million in NIH grants will investigate whether CBD really relieves pain

Researchers at Temple University will be among the funding recipients

Alternative Medicine CBD
CBD Oils NIH Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

CBD oils, pictured above, are a popular product touted for pain relief and other medicinal uses. The National Institutes of Health has awarded $3 million in grants to fund studies that will examine the science of CBD as a pain reliever.

Claims about the medicinal value and effectiveness of CBD will be put to the test by a series of grant-funded studies from the National Institutes of Health.

The trendy ingredient that has showed up in food, oils and cosmetics will be examined in nine different studies that will receive a combined $3 million, officials said Friday. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, will not be examined as part of the initiative.

“The treatment of chronic pain has relied heavily on opioids, despite their potential for addiction and overdose and the fact that they often don’t work well when used on a long-term basis,” said Helene Langevin, director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “There’s an urgent need for more effective and safer options.”

While the public has responded positively to the appearance of CBD products, science backing up assertions about their pain-relieving properties remains sparse. These projects, many of which will study CBD's analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, aim to better understand how these chemicals may be used and synthesized to treat a range of pain conditions.

One local study out of Temple University will use rodent models of pain to evaluate the effects of four components of cannabis that could work together to protect against pain development. The study will also examine how these components interact with morphine.

The grants ultimately aim to gather science that can be used to incorporate cannabis into multidisciplinary pain management.

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