Can CBD Help With Toothache?
- Toothache, also called dental pain, is a condition caused when a person’s dental pulp becomes inflamed. It is commonly a result of tooth decay, which is said to be the most common human infective disease that affects a significant percentage of school children worldwide(1).
- Several studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) may help reduce pain and inflammation(2).
- A review of the oral spray Sativex, which contains CBD, was found to provide analgesic effects upon use(3).
- However, studies on cannabidiol for toothaches are lacking. No human clinical trials have been made to prove that CBD can effectively treat dental pain.
Why People Are Turning to CBD for Toothache
Toothache, also known as dental pain, is caused by an inflammation of the dental pulp and is commonly a result of tooth decay build up.
Tooth decay is believed to be the most common infective human disease, affecting sixty to ninety percent of school children worldwide(4).
A toothache can also be caused by periodontitis, a gum disease that can lead to loss of the affected tooth. Advanced forms of periodontitis may require dental surgery or tooth extraction.
Painkillers, like paracetamol and ibuprofen, are the first-line medications often prescribed to relieve tooth pain. However, if these drugs do not provide sufficient pain relief, adding codeine phosphate, or switching to an alternative anti-inflammatory medication is recommended(5).
Studies have shown that the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) may be a potential agent to treat severe pain and inflammation(6).
A study published in 2007 investigated CBD’s supposed therapeutic properties on neuropathic and inflammatory pain in rats. The researchers of the study noted that daily CBD treatment reduced pain sensitivity in the subjects(7).
In 2008, a review analyzed several clinical trials on the cannabis-derived oromucosal spray Sativex for its analgesic effects. Sativex is a product that contains equal proportions of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD.
The clinical trials were performed on subjects with various pain-related disorders. Based on their findings, the authors hypothesized that the presence of cannabidiol in Sativex was crucial in attaining significant pain relief in patients(8).
Although there are no specific clinical trials on CBD for toothache, these studies hint that cannabidiol may be a potential treatment for dental pain.
How CBD Oil Works to Help with Toothache
Knowing how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is essential to understand how the compound exerts its supposed therapeutic properties.
The ECS is a biological system that is made of lipid-based transmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors.
Experts believe that the endocannabinoid system has an extensive influence on balancing the body by modulating certain processes. Some of the functions that are regulated by the ECS are pain management and the body’s immune system(9).
CBD has been found to engage with both the cannabinoid receptors of the ECS. These are the receptors that allow the endocannabinoid system to modulate the body.
Cannabidiol specifically interacts with the CB2 receptor, which, upon activation, reduces oxidative stress and inflammation(10). CBD has also shown to bind with receptors outside of the ECS to exert analgesic activity.
A study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology analyzed clinical trials on the use of cannabis plant constituents for chronic pain.
The authors learned that CBD is another important cannabinoid that displays analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties(11). They also mentioned that CBD regulates the perception of pain by interacting with other receptors in the body.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Toothache
- CBD may possess properties that may alleviate dental pain. Studies and clinical trials have shown that CBD might have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that could help with toothaches.
- Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound. It is not similar to THC, the primary mind-altering substance of marijuana, which can cause a “high” upon use.
- Most states in America allow individuals to purchase and use CBD. In places where it is sold legally, people can buy CBD products even if they do not have a doctor’s prescription.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges the potential therapeutic applications that cannabis constituents, like CBD, may provide(12). The agency also supports scientific-based research in this area.
- Even in high doses, the effects of CBD were not found to cause concerns, like increased heart rate and dry mouth(13).
- There have been no clinical trials performed on CBD to prove its efficacy in treating dental pain.
- The only CBD product that has been allowed by the FDA is Epidiolex, a drug that is used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy(14).
- In a 2017 review, users were warned that CBD might cause interactions with other medications that can result in harmful side effects(15).
- Many CBD products sold online and in some dispensaries are prone to mislabeling(16). Individuals who decide to buy CBD via these channels are at risk of taking more or less of the compound than expected.
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Toothache
There are anecdotal reports that baking soda may help relieve toothache.
Researchers in a 2009 study analyzed the effectiveness of a baking soda toothpaste in reducing dentinal hypersensitivity in human subjects. The authors assessed pain and discomfort in the participants and learned that the toothpaste was able to reduce both(17).
Camphor is also considered as an alternative solution for dental pain. A study found that camphor has a mild anesthetic and antibacterial action, which is said to be effective in relieving pain due to tooth decay(18).
Camphor is said to have antiseptic and antiviral properties(19).
Clove oil, or the oil extracted from cloves, is also believed to help with toothaches.
This herbal oil is often used topically to alleviate dental pain and is advertised as having powerful antioxidant properties(20).
On the other hand, several studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that may help with toothaches.
In animal models, cannabidiol has been found to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines or molecules that cause inflammation(21).
CBD was also found to inhibit disease progression in mice.
How to Choose the Right CBD for Toothache
Cannabidiol is available in three forms, namely full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates.
Of the three, full-spectrum CBD may be the most appropriate choice for users with dental pain and tooth decay.
The full-spectrum variant contains CBD, THC, terpenes, and terpenoids. Based on a study(22), these compounds may be useful in pain management.
The following are additional tips that people can use to select the best CBD hemp oil for managing toothaches:
- Acquire the certificate of analysis (COA) or the lab report of the chosen CBD product. This document assures the user that the CBD product has undergone proper testing and contains the exact specifications on its label.
- Purchase CBD made from organic hemp plants. Industrial hemp is the best source of CBD.
- Consult an oral health care professional, preferably someone experienced in medical cannabis, before buying CBD.
CBD Dosage for Toothache
At the time of writing, the FDA does not have official guidelines on the proper CBD dosage for toothaches.
How to Take CBD Oil for Toothache
There are various kinds of CBD products sold today. However, some methods of consumption may be better for dental health compared to others.
Users can apply CBD in the form of tinctures and oils directly to the affected area. Most CBD tinctures have droppers that allow people to administer CBD with coconut oil sublingually.
CBD capsules and gummies offer a more direct approach to taking cannabidiol.
The benefits of CBD for dental hygiene may also be obtained by using a CBD-infused toothpaste or mouthwash.
Several studies on CBD have shown that the cannabis constituent possesses properties that may reduce pain and inflammation related to toothaches.
Home remedies, such as baking powder and camphor, may help alleviate a toothache.
However, no clinical trials have been made on CBD for dental pain.
Users are advised to check up with a medical professional before deciding to purchase any CBD product for their condition.
- Renton T. Dental (Odontogenic) Pain. Rev Pain. 2011;5(1):2-7. doi:10.1177/204946371100500102
- Vučković S, Srebro D, Vujović KS, Vučetić Č, Prostran M. Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:1259. Published 2018 Nov 13. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.01259
- Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245-259. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s1928
- Renton T. op. cit.
- Vučković S, Srebro D, Vujović KS, Vučetić Č, Prostran M. op. cit.
- Costa B, Trovato AE, Comelli F, Giagnoni G, Colleoni M. The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Eur J Pharmacol. 2007;556(1-3):75-83. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2006.11.006
- Russo EB. op. cit.
- ECHO (2017, June 8). The Endocannabinoid System Encourages Homeostasis: What Does That Mean? Retrieved from: https://echoconnection.org/endocannabinoid-system-encourages-homeostasis-mean/.
- Atalay S, Jarocka-Karpowicz I, Skrzydlewska E. Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019;9(1):21. Published 2019 Dec 25. doi:10.3390/antiox9010021
- Vučković S, Srebro D, Vujović KS, Vučetić Č, Prostran M. op. cit.
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2020, March 11). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd.
- Grotenhermen, F., Russo, E., & Zuardi, A. W. (2017). Even High Doses of Oral Cannabidol Do Not Cause THC-Like Effects in Humans: Comment on Merrick et al. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2016;1(1):102-112; DOI: 10.1089/can.2015.0004. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0036
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2020, March 11). op. cit.
- Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034
- Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909
- Ghassemi A, Hooper W, Winston AE, Sowinski J, Bowman J, Sharma N. Effectiveness of a baking soda toothpaste delivering calcium and phosphate in reducing dentinal hypersensitivity. J Clin Dent. 2009;20(7):203-210.
- Kumarswamy A. Multimodal management of dental pain with focus on alternative medicine: A novel herbal dental gel. Contemp Clin Dent. 2016;7(2):131-139. doi:10.4103/0976-237X.183066
- Chen W, Vermaak I, Viljoen A. Camphor–a fumigant during the Black Death and a coveted fragrant wood in ancient Egypt and Babylon–a review. Molecules. 2013;18(5):5434-5454. Published 2013 May 10. doi:10.3390/molecules18055434
- LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; 2012-. Eugenol (Clove Oil) [Updated 2019 Oct 28]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551727/
- Nagarkatti P, Pandey R, Rieder SA, Hegde VL, Nagarkatti M. Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Med Chem. 2009;1(7):1333-1349. doi:10.4155/fmc.09.93
- Russo EB. op. cit.