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Home > News > Science & Health > Content Piece

This New Study Will Test the Effects of CBD on Spinal Pain

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Sep 08, 2020   
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Scientists at the University of Sydney have been given AUD$1.7 million (USD$1.23 million) to help research whether CBD can treat the chronic pain that commonly occurs after a spinal cord injury (SPI).

The researchers hope that, by giving patients CBD and monitoring their brains, they can one day develop targeted treatment options for the spinal condition.

A CBD solution?

Spinal cord damage can leave injured individuals with regular pain and stiffness. Many of those living with the condition have been known to manage their symptoms with medical cannabis, but few clinical trials have actually investigated how cannabis could be treating the pain.

To better understand the effects cannabis could be having, the University of Sydney team plan to give CBD to patients with SPI-induced chronic pain in a clinical trial.

In the first part of the study, the researchers will compare the brain images of patients with SPI-induced pain to images from patients without the condition. Then, in the second part of the study, a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trail will be conducted to investigate CBD’s ability to reduce pain.

“While there are some studies showing that CBD can reduce pain in other chronic conditions, no one fully understands how it works to reduce pain. Our study can help tease this out,” Luke Henderson, a professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Medical Sciences and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

The study is the latest aspect of the university’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, a wider research project that has been investigating “the medicinal potential of the cannabis plant” since 2015. Thanks to an initial pledge of AUD$33.7 million – the largest ever given to research at the University of Sydney – the initiative has helped finance several studies that investigated whether cannabis can treat conditions such as Tourette syndrome, insomnia, epilepsy, anxiety, and cancer.

Around AUD$350,000 of this fund helped finance the spinal cord injury study, while the New South Wales Ministry of Health donated a further AUD$1.45 million.

“We hope this research will be able to make real impacts for patients and their families, paving a path towards an effective treatment for a greater number of patients,” Dr Elizabeth Cairns, a research fellow from the Lambert Initiative, said in a statement.

The first trials are expected to take place at Neuroscience Research Australia institute, Sydney, and the University of Sydney during the first half of 2021. Those looking to participate can find more information at the University of Sydney website. 


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