I’m always skeptical of claims concerning therapeutic uses of CBD oil (cannabidiol) and also the results of clinical trials that contain a small number of participants. So when I came across a 2023 paper in the Journal of Dental Research (peer-reviewed) about a clinical trial with 61 participants that examined whether CBD could be used to treat toothache pain, I was tempted to ignore it. But the trial by the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine should not be ignored; it was a double-blinded placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial (RCT) with two different doses of the drug – the so-called “gold standard.”
The Rutgers groups divided 61 patients who were suffering from moderate to severe toothache into three blinded randomized groups:
- Low dose CBD-treated (10 mg/kilograms body weight (mpk))
- High dose CBD-treated (20 mpk) (1)
The primary outcome was the numerical reduction in pain score, while there were several secondary outcomes, including the amount of time until relief and the force with which participants could bite. The CBD used was Epidiolex (2), the brand name for a solution of pharmaceutical CBD, which was approved by the FDA for certain types of epilepsy in 2018.
Summary of results
Figure 1 (below) shows the magnitude of pain reduction measured by the Visual Analogue Scale. Although there seems to be a considerable difference in pain in the CBD-treated participants, note that statistical significance is only seen at 120 and…