Study Finds Cannabis Extracts Relieve Burning Mouth Syndrome Symptoms


A team of Italian researchers has found that daily use of a cannabis extract reduced pain and other symptoms caused by burning mouth syndrome. Results of the study, “Evaluating the suitability and potential efficacy of cannabis sativa oil for patients with primary Burning Mouth Syndrome: A prospective, open-label, single-arm pilot study,” were published last month by the journal Pain Medicine.

The International Headache Society has defined burning mouth syndrome (BMS) as “an intraoral burning or dysaesthetic (abnormal sensation) sensation, recurring daily for more than 2 hours per day over more than 3 months.” A neuropathic pain condition of unknown origin, BMS can affect the roof of the mouth, tongue, lips, and the sides of cheeks. 

To conduct the study, researchers in Turin, Italy recruited 17 patients who had been diagnosed with BMS and treated them with a full-plant cannabis extract daily for four weeks. Each dose consisted of one gram of the pharmaceutical extract diluted in 10 grams of olive oil.

“To date, no studies have provided evidence of a reliable and safe treatment for long-term management of BMS both in terms of symptom relief and quality of life,” the authors wrote

“This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first study analyzing the role of cannabinoids in the management of unresponsive BMS,” they added.

The rationale for the study and background on the medicinal attributes of cannabis were published in an international directory of research studies.

“Cannabis (Cannabis sativa, or hemp) and its constituents (in particular the cannabinoids) have been the focus of extensive research,” the listing for the study reads. “The plant’s behavioral and psychotropic properties are attributed to its content of this class of compounds, the cannabinoids, which are produced mainly in the leaves and flower buds of the plant. There are also non-psychoactive cannabinoids with several medicinal functions, such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabigerol (CBG), and many others.”

Pain Intensity Tracked For Study

To gauge the effectiveness of the cannabis extract, researchers monitored the pain intensity in the test subjects, as assessed by four different clinical measurements. Levels of anxiety and depression were also considered, as were any adverse effects or unexpected effects reported by the study participants. Pain intensity was assessed before the study, after the experimental cannabis extract protocol had been administered, and during the succeeding 24 weeks.

“Subjects showed a statistically significant improvement over time in terms of a clinical remission of the oral symptoms,” the researchers wrote in the results of the study. “Levels of anxiety and depression also changed statistically, displaying a favorable improvement. No serious reactions were detailed. None of the patients had to stop the treatment due to adverse events.”

In their conclusion, the authors of the study reported that the treatment was safe and effective and called for more research on the subject.

“In this pilot evaluation, the C. [cannabis] sativa oil provided was effective and well tolerated in patients with primary BMS,” they wrote. “Further bigger and properly defined randomized controlled trials, with different therapeutic approaches or placebo control, are needed, however.”



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