Research Summary

Cannabidiol Equal to Placebo in Pain Reduction For Patients With Psoriatic Arthritis

Jessica Ganga

Cannabidiol (CBD)—the chemical found in marijuana—is sometimes used to treat pain in patients, but there is a lack of research on the use of CBD and pain management for patients with psoriatic arthritis. Enter Vela and colleagues, who looked at the use of CBD in the management of pain in patients with psoriatic arthritis or hand osteoarthritis with moderate pain intensity despite therapy.

In their study, the researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that included 129 patients. Patients with hand osteoarthritis or psoriatic arthritis and a pain score greater than 30 (using the 100-point visual analogue scale [VAS] pain scores) received either 20 mg to 30 mg of synthetic CBD (n = 70) or placebo (n = 66) daily for 12 weeks. The researchers used pain intensity during the past 24 hours as their primary outcome. Of the 136 patients, 129 patients were included in the primary analysis.

Of the total, 22% who received CBD and 21% who received placebo experienced a reduction in pain intensity of more than 30 mm. Further, the researchers found that “between-group difference in pain intensity at 12 weeks was 0.23 mm.”

Given the results, the researchers determined that there was little effect in the use of CBD to manage either hand osteoarthritis or psoriatic arthritis pain in patients.

“We found neither clinically nor statistically significant effects of CBD for pain intensity in patients with hand osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis when compared with placebo,” the researchers concluded. “In addition, no statistically significant effects were found on sleep quality, depression, anxiety, or pain catastrophizing scores.”



Vela J, Dreyer L, Petersen KK, Arendt-Nielsen L, Duch KS, Kristensen S. Cannabidiol treatment in hand osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pain. 2022;163(6):1206-1214. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002466