CBD for Dental Pain

Stephen Andrews
22 Nov 2023

Toothaches can sometimes be extremely uncomfortable and may require taking prescription medicines to ease down sensations of pain. Researchers at Rutgers University and the University of Texas looked at whether cannabis can alleviate acute dental pain, and they found that CBD may work equally well as opioids, and even better when given in larger doses.

Toothaches can be horrible to the point that a person can’t eat or sleep normally, and must take pain medicine until seeing a dentist. 

Dental pain occurs from inflammation in the soft center in the tooth, and it can also be caused by other inflammatory conditions such as gum disease. 

A new study that appeared in the Journal of Dental Research, says that “a single dose of CBD is as potent as current analgesic regimens and can manage emergency dental pain effectively.”

The study  is likely “the first randomized clinical trial testing CBD for managing emergency dental pain,” its authors noted. 

CBD Offers Significant Pain Relief from Dental Pain 

Researchers used Epidiolex, the FDA-approved oral solution used in epilepsy treatments, to test whether CBD can help against dental pain. 

The study included 61 adult patients with moderate to severe toothache, who were divided into three groups. The first group were patients who received lower doses of CBD (10 mg per kg), the second received higher doses of CBD (20 mg per kg), and a third group was given placebo. Each participant was then monitored for three hours. 

The two groups that were given CBD both experienced significant reduction in pain. The maximum pain relief effect was at about 180 minutes after CBD administration, while the maximum median pain relief experienced by the patients was 73 percent at the 180-minute mark

Those who received a higher dose of CBD also experienced faster reduction in pain relief, or 15 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes among those who took the lower dose. In addition, the same group also had improvements in bite force, which is important for nutrient intake. 

While the study proves that CBD can work as an effective medicine for dental pain, the researchers also noted side effects such as “sedation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.”

CBD Can Be Better Than Prescription Pain Medicines 

The team said that their finding “can catalyze the use of CBD as an alternative analgesic to opioids for acute inflammatory pain conditions.”

In particular, higher CBD dose was found to be slightly more effective than opioids when comparing the pain relief scores of the two types of medicines. 

Some of the most commonly used over-the-counter medications used for dental pain relief include acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen, says the study. CBD can substitute these medicines for those who can’t take them or who don’t experience sufficient pain relief after taking them. For example, acetaminophen can have contraindications in those with allergies. 

Historically speaking, dentists have also been among the largest prescribers of opioids, according to the study’s lead author, Vanessa Cherpa. 

“The rise in opioid-related addiction and death has everyone looking for better alternatives, things that can alleviate serious pain without hurting so many patients,” said Cherpa, who is Rutgers dental school professor and director of clinical and translational research at the university’s endodontics department. 

“We studied cannabidiol or CBD because previous research from other specialties suggested that it might relieve dental pain without any psychoactive effects, which is really what everyone wants to find,” she said in a Rutgers press release

The next step in the trial would be to get FDA approval for using Epidiolex or other pure forms of CBD to use in dental pain management, Cherpa said. “I am looking forward to translating this into common practice. It will tremendously help patients with acute toothache and possibly other acute inflammatory pain conditions,” she added. 

Also read on Soft Secrets:

What is CBD?

Transdermal Cannabis Patches for Pain, Inflammation, Sleep

Can CBD Help with Allergies?

Stephen Andrews