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CBD for Dental Pain: Rutgers University Study Explores Promising Alternative to Opioids




A recent study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University proposes that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in marijuana, can serve as a viable alternative to opioid painkillers in relieving acute dental pain.

Published in the Journal of Dental Research, the study involved 61 participants experiencing severe dental pain, randomly assigned to receive either CBD or a placebo. The CBD was administered in the form of Epidiolex, an FDA-approved CBD solution.

Over a three-hour period, researchers utilized a visual analogue scale to monitor pain levels. Results indicated that participants using CBD reported a significantly greater reduction in pain compared to the placebo group. Approximately 85% experienced at least a 50% reduction in pain, with the median pain reduction around 70%.

Interestingly, participants who received CBD also exhibited a stronger bite force. This observation suggests that CBD improved tooth function, particularly beneficial in cases where pain hindered the patient's ability to chew.

The primary motivation for the study was to identify an equally effective but safer alternative to opioid painkillers.

Lead author Vanessa Chrepa, an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, explained, ‘The first line of defense for dental pain has always been anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). But many patients can't take such medications or can't get sufficient relief from them.'

Chrepa continued, ‘So, dentists have traditionally been among the largest prescribers of opioid medications, either alone or in combination with these other medications. 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.'

While marijuana components have been explored as alternatives to opioids previously, the Rutgers researchers specifically focused on finding a non-psychoactive and non-addictive component. CBD, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), does not induce a psychoactive “high.”

Looking ahead, further phase three trials have been proposed to solidify the study's findings. Dr. Chrepa expressed optimism about translating these findings into common practice, stating, ‘It will tremendously help patients with acute toothache and possibly other acute inflammatory pain conditions.'


Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.