An NYU research study found that a cannabidiol (CBD) tablet safely and effectively reduced post-operative pain. The tablet ORAVEXX was given to patients following minimally invasive rotator cuff surgery. The fast-release CBD tablet did not produce negative side effects like gastrointestinal distress or risks such as liver toxicity that sometimes accompany CBD oil use. Researchers in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at New York University Langone Health recently presented the findings at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon’s 2022 Annual Meeting.
Participants between the ages of 18 and 75 were placed into either a placebo group or a group receiving CBD. Participants were prescribed a low dose of the narcotic Percocet, and they were instructed to wean off the narcotic as soon as possible after surgery. Patients continued to take the placebo or CBD 3 times a day for two weeks.
Patients receiving CBD immediately following surgery experienced roughly 23% less pain as measured by the visual analog scale (VAS) pain score. Within two days after surgery, patients receiving CBD reported up to 25% improved pain levels compared to those receiving placebo. The study also indicated that patients taking 50mg of CBD reported lower pain and higher satisfaction with pain control compared to patients receiving placebo.
An increasing body of research supports the use of CBD for pain management without the undesirable effects of pharmaceutical medications or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Lead investigator Michael J. Alaia, M.D. and associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, explained that CBD “...could be a new, inexpensive approach for delivering pain relief, and without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDs and addiction risks linked to opiates. Additionally, CBD has the benefit of pain relief without the psychotropic effects associated with THC or marijuana.” Expanding cannabinoid treatment options that provide therapeutic value without THC’s mind-altering influence is critical for addressing symptoms associated with many disorders.
Cannabinoids interface with the human endocannabinoid system which is the set of receptors that are involved in a range of functions including memory, appetite, sleep, stress, and attention. CBD and THC differ in how they interact with receptors. CBD does not bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors like THC does. In terms of targeting pain with CBD, future research and drug development will focus on how to develop and administer CBD ratio medical products that offer pain reduction and increased wellness without psychoactivity.
ORAVEXX is designed and manufactured by the life sciences company Orcosa Inc. It is considered non-addictive and safe. NYU Langone recently started another study on ORAVEXX treatments for osteoarthritis patients. Multiple phase 2 studies will evaluate the drug’s efficacy for other acute and chronic pain management issues and assess the role of CBD on inflammation.