CBD continues to grow in popularity and use, even though there are still many questions to be asked and studies to be done. Proponents say cannabidiol (CBD) offers many benefits like pain management, but scientists say it has not yet been clinically proven to be pain-reliving.

A recent study dove into this issue in an attempt to glean some insight: Does CBD really help people deal with pain, or is it all due to a placebo effect? The result? The answer is a bit complex.

The Placebo Effect

Syracuse University (SU) psychology researcher Martin De Vita, the lead author of the study, explains that “For science and the public at large, the question remained: Is the pain relief that CBD users claim to experience due to pharmacological effects or placebo effects?”

The placebo effect is defined as a phenomenon in which some people experience a benefit after the administration of what is actually an inactive, “look-alike” substance. According to De Vita, this is a fair question to ask of CBD.

“…We know that simply telling someone that a substance has the ability to relieve their pain can actually cause robust changes in their pain sensitivity. These are called ‘expectancy effects’”, he explained.

The CBD Study Results

De Vita then pointed to the results of the current study. According to him, the hypothesis was that they would primarily detect expectancy-induced placebo analgesia (pain relief) in CBD use. In reality, after measuring several different outcomes, it was a little bit of both.

“We found improvements in pain measures caused by the pharmacological effects of CBD and the psychological effects of just expecting that they had gotten CBD. It was pretty remarkable and surprising.”

The study involved 15 healthy adults, aged 18-30 years. Pain was induced safely using heat, and then CBD oil or a placebo was given. After which, the pain responses were assessed. In order to analyze the expectancy effects, researchers told the participants that they received a placebo, when they actually received CBD – and vice versa.

“That way,” De Vita explains, “we could parse out whether it was the drug that relieved the pain, or whether it was the expectation that they had received the drug that reduced their pain.”

What the Study Means for CBD Merchants

For some time now, CBD merchants have been hoping for studies just like this one conducted at Syracuse University (SU). Studies that shed some light on the many benefits of CBD use. Even with these positive results, merchants continue to struggle when it comes to day-to-day operations and tasks, like finding a cbd payment processor. The hope is that CBD increasing popularity will encourage even more studies like this one and open new doors for the industry.

Content crafter Alex Wilmont has been active in the payments industry for over 15 years. He lives simply, gives generously and loves his 2 dogs. His mission is to enhance and innovate the fintech industry for years to come.

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