Cannabidiol and Chronic Pain

E. Council, B.S. Research Biologist

Chronic pain is nociceptive or neuropathic pain that persists for three or more months and affects the quality of life. While chronic pain is a burden in itself, it displays comorbidity with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Chronic pain arises as a result of pain receptors becoming caught in a state of hyperexcitability that leads to dramatic functional changes in peripheral and central neurons. The most common prescription for chronic pain, opioid drugs, are highly addictive with harmful side effects including respiratory depression. To no surprise, most individuals undergoing chronic pain treatment are not happy with their current treatment plan. Cannabidiol is a safe, effective treatment option for chronic pain.

Cannabidiol is a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce multiple therapeutic effects. Studies show, cannabidiol provides anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, neuroprotective, and analgesic effects without the risk of harmful side effects, dependence, or tolerance. Cannabidiol provides analgesic effects by modulating the activation of receptors expressed on neurons and immune cells that play a large role in chronic pain. Cannabidiol is proven to suppress inflammatory responses that cause hyperexcitability in pain receptors. In addition, cannabidiol suppresses the transmission of pain signals. Because cannabidiol is a multi-target drug, it may interact with more than one receptor at a time. Therefore, cannabidiol can simultaneously suppress inflammation and the transmission of pain signals while providing anxiolytic effects. Altogether, cannabidiol can attenuate chronic pain and symptoms of comorbid mood disorders.

This information was gathered from “The Application of Cannabidiol in Chronic Pain Management: A Narrative Review”. For more information see:

Council, E. (2019) The Application of Cannabidiol in Chronic Pain Management: A Narrative Review. Manuscript Submitted for Publication.