The “wild promises” made by the makers of CBD pain relief products offer false hope to those with chronic pain, with no evidence they actually work, researchers have said.

Scientists from the universities of Oxford and Bath carried out a study of products containing CBD, a chemical found in the cannabis plant. These products can include capsules, oils, gummies, patches, creams and drinks.

They found that CBD is no better than a placebo when it comes to treating pain, prompting the researchers to say that “pain deserves investment in serious science to find serious solutions”.

Professor Chris Eccleston, from the University of Bath, said: “CBD presents consumers with a big problem. It’s touted as a cure for all pain.

“But there’s a complete lack of quality evidence that it has any positive effects.

“It’s almost as if chronic pain patients don’t matter, and that we’re happy for people to trade on hope and despair.”

As well as finding that some products didn’t contain any CBD, the scientists also discovered some items may contain chemicals that are illegal or harmful, including THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis.

Another key finding was that consuming CBD products could increase a person’s risk of serious illness, such as liver toxicity.

Dr Andrew Moore, of the University of Oxford, said: “For too many people, there’s no medicine that manages their chronic pain.

“Chronic pain can be awful, so they are very motivated to find pain relief by any means. This makes them vulnerable to the wild promises made about CBD.”

The market for CBD products is huge – it was worth an estimated £2.4b in 2021 and is expected to grow to £48b by 2030.

However, these products are not covered by trade standards, and the team behind the latest study said there needs to be greater regulation of this industry.

Dr Moore said: “What this means is that there are no consumer protections.

“And without a countervailing body to keep the CBD sellers in check, it’s unlikely that the false promises being made about CBD’s analgesic effects will slow down in the years ahead.”

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