Report finds CBD Products to be Ineffective

Liz Filmer
31 Mar 2024

CBD products like gummies and oils are a waste of money and may even be potentially harmful, say Oxford scientists.

Researchers examined 16 clinical trials and discovered that in 15 of them, the use of CBD was no more effective than a placebo at relieving pain. CBD is one of the main cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant and is widely sold in supplement form comprising oils, vapes, weed gummies, and drinks at local health stores, online and in supermarkets.

An extremely critical analysis of existing studies on CBD by specialists at the esteemed universities of Oxford, Bath and Alberta, Canada, found that there was “no evidence” that CBD supplements were effective. This was found to be the case regardless of the dosage, how often it was taken or the route via which it was ingested. The study was published in a recent edition of the Journal of Pain.

The report discovered varying levels of CBD in products than what was advertised. In some cases, there was found to be no CBD present in the products.

“For people living with pain, the evidence for CBD or hemp extract shows it is expensive, does not work, and is possibly harmful.” said the scathing report.

As well as an absence of CBD, traces of chemicals that should not have been present were also found in some products, including THC, which is of course the main psychoactive cannabinoid of the cannabis plant that is used recreationally but remains illegal in the UK and other countries.
Professionals have also connected the use of CBD to inflated rates of serious harm to users, including potential liver toxicity and hepatitis.

How are CBD Products Regulated?

CBD products are not currently regulated by a medical body and are widely available in the UK. CBD Products are generally found to have health benefits including the alleviation of pain.

It is estimated that about 20% of Britons suffer from chronic pain and critics have said that many CBD products were guilty of making “wild promises” for those desperate to find a solution.

 “For too many people with chronic pain, there’s no medicine that manages their pain. Chronic pain can be awful, so they are very motivated to find pain relief by any means. This makes them vulnerable to the wild promises made about CBD.” Dr Andrew Moore, study co-author, University of Oxford 

He went on to say that there were “no consumer protections” and that in the absence of any regulation of CBD sellers and products, it was doubtful that the fake claims that are made about the analgesic effects of CBD will stop in the years ahead”.

Only medical cannabis has a regulatory license on the NHS and is available although still hugely under-prescribed for those suffering from severe forms of epilepsy, chemotherapy-induced nausea and people with MS.

Meanwhile, non-medical CBD items are classed as “novel foods” and must only follow safety, labelling and advertising rules. Therefore they are not mandated to be uniform in terms of content or quality.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) updated its guidance on CBD last year and lowered the advised limit of CBD to 10mg per day, down from 70mg.

Prof Chris Eccleston from the Centre for Pain Research in Bath, who led the study has said

“CBD presents consumers with a big problem. It’s touted as a cure for all pain but there’s a complete lack of quality evidence that it has any positive effects. It’s almost as if chronic pain patients don’t matter, and that we’re happy for people to trade on hope and despair.”

The study concludes that there are no excuses for misleading the public, and yet it is entirely likely that the public is definitely being misled and potentially placed in harm’s way. Other than being advised to discontinue using advertising that is misleading or incorrect, it remains unclear as to what penalties CBD manufacturers face.

More From Soft Secrets:

FSA Updates Guidance on CBD Dosages

Is HHC the new CBD?

CBD Laws in Europe

How to Read a CBD Label?






Liz Filmer