Animal study

Chronic muscular pain


Archives of Oral Biology, Volume 104, 2019, Pages 33-39, ISSN 0003-9969

Article name

Cannabidiol, cannabinol and their combinations act as peripheral analgesics in a rat model of myofascial pain


Hayes Wong, Brian E. Cairns - Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Cannabinoids: A Potential Solution for Muscle Pain

This study, conducted by L.L. Coughenour and published in the Archives of Oral Biology, investigates the potential of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, specifically cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN), as a treatment for muscle pain in rats.

Who Conducted the Study?

The research was led by L.L. Coughenour and was funded by MITACS Canada and InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. The study was approved by the University of British Columbia Animal Care Committee, ensuring ethical treatment of the animals involved.

Main Findings

  • Injection of CBD or CBN decreased nerve growth factor-induced muscle sensitivity in rats.
  • Combining CBD and CBN resulted in a longer-lasting reduction of muscle sensitivity than either compound alone.
  • Higher concentrations of CBD seemed to reduce the duration of this effect, suggesting an inhibitory effect of CBD on CBN.


The study was conducted on female Sprague-Dawley rats. The researchers injected the rats' masseter muscles (jaw muscles) with nerve growth factor (NGF) to induce muscle sensitivity, mimicking conditions like fibromyalgia and temporomandibular disorders. The effects of CBD and CBN, both individually and in combination, were then assessed.

The doses used were 5 mg/ml for CBD and 1 mg/ml for CBN. The combinations of CBD and CBN were either 1:1 mg/ml or 5:1 mg/ml. The researchers used an electronic von Frey hair to measure the rats' withdrawal response, indicating their level of muscle sensitivity.

Electrophysiological experiments were also conducted to confirm that the cannabinoids were acting peripherally, i.e., at the site of the muscle pain, rather than centrally in the brain.

Potential Implications

The results suggest that non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD and CBN could potentially provide relief for chronic muscle pain disorders without causing unwanted side effects in the central nervous system.


The study was conducted on rats, so the results may not directly translate to humans. Also, while the combination of CBD and CBN was more effective than either compound alone, higher concentrations of CBD seemed to reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.


This study provides promising evidence that non-psychoactive cannabinoids could be a potential treatment for chronic muscle pain. However, more research is needed, particularly in humans, to fully understand the implications of these findings.

For more details, you can read the full study here.


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