Study Explores CBD for Pain, Sleep in Hand Osteoarthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis


Investigators supplemented a slim body of existing research on CBD for pain management.

A study presented at ACR Convergence 2021, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, examined the potential for cannabidiol (CBD) as an add on analgesic therapy in patients with hand osteoarthritis or psoriatic arthritis.

Patients are increasingly using medical cannabis to mitigate a range of ailments, and many pharmacists are now seeking educational resources on CBD, carrying CBD products at their stores, and counseling patients on CBD safety and use. But the recent International Association for the Study of Pain presidential task force on cannabis and cannabinoid analgesia reported that there remains a scarcity in research supporting CBD for pain management.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 129 patients with hand osteoarthritis or psoriatic arthritis. Patients received synthetic CBD 20-mg to 30-mg or placebo for 12 weeks.

Investigators aimed to examine the effects of CBD on pain intensity, adverse events (AEs), sleep quality, anxiety, depression, and pain catastrophizing, with a primary outcome of pain intensity during the last 24 hours (0-100mm). Patients were assessed using the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Pain Catastrophizing Scale and the Health Assessment Questionnaire.

In total, 129 patients were randomly assigned to receive CBD or placebo and included in the primary analysis. Twenty two percent of patients receiving CBD and 21% receiving placebo experienced a reduction in pain intensity, study authors reported. At 12 weeks, the between-group difference in pain intensity was 0.23mm (95%CI -9.41 to 9.90; p = 0.96).

“We found no statistically significant effect of CBD for clinical pain intensity in patients with hand osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis compared to placebo and no statistically significant effects regarding sleep quality, scores of depression, anxiety, or pain catastrophizing,” the authors concluded.


  1. Vela J, Kristensen S, Dreyer L, et al. Cannabidiol treatment in hand osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis – a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. ACR Convergence 2021; November 3-9, 2021. Abstract 1456.

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