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PhD student awarded for research on pain-relieving effects of CBD



The study looked at whether the pain relief CBD users claim to experience is due to pharmacological effects or placebo.

An American PhD candidate has won a prestigious award for his research on the effectiveness of CBD.

Martin De Vita, PhD candidate in psychology at Syracuse University in New York state has received the university’s research excellence award for his study on the pain-relieving effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in humans. 

De Vita received the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS) Doctoral Dissertation Research Excellence Award for his dissertation, The effects of cannabidiol and analgesic expectancies on experimental pain reactivity in healthy adults: A balanced placebo design trial. 

His study looked at whether the pain relief CBD users claim to experience is due to pharmacological effects or placebo.

De Vita’s research team found that CBD and expectancies for receiving CBD do not appear to reduce experimental pain intensity, but do make the pain feel less unpleasant.

As part of the study De Vita developed advanced experimental pain measurement protocols.

“There are these other dimensions of pain, and it would be interesting to see which ones are being targeted,” De Vita said at the time.

Martin De Vita

“We found that sometimes pharmacological effects of CBD brought down some of those, but the expectancies did not. Sometimes they both did it. Sometimes it was just the expectancy. And so, we were going into this thinking we were going to primarily detect the expectancy-induced pain relief but what we found out was way more complex than that and that’s exciting.”

The FABBS Doctoral Dissertation Research Excellence Awards acknowledges and honours graduate student scientists who have conducted doctoral dissertation research of superior scientific quality and broader societal impact.

De Vita’s study garnered national media attention, being featured in outlets including Yahoo! and Medical News Today.


Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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