CBD Oil For Pain Relief: Benefits, Dosage, & Side-Effects
CBD oil is a popular natural health supplement for managing pain.
But does it really work?
Learn what the evidence suggests, what products to use, and why so many people are swapping their pain meds with CBD oil.
Top Picks: Best CBD Oils For Pain (2020)
- Royal CBD Oil — Strongest CBD Oil For Pain Overall
- Gold Bee CBD Oil — Best Organic CBD Oil
- Headery Snooze oil — Runner Up
How To Choose High Quality CBD Products For Pain
Different forms of CBD are going to offer a different set of benefits toward pain management.
The main factor to consider when choosing what CBD products to use is the source of the pain. If the problem is on the surface of the skin or in the muscles, a CBD pain cream is usually the best option.
Pain originating from inside the body, such as PMS pain, cancer pain, or deep joint pain may be better managed through a CBD oil or capsule instead.
CBD Oils & Tinctures For Pain Management
CBD oils and tinctures are an excellent option for pain management. They have a relatively fast onset of effects, keep for long periods of time, and doses are easily tweaked to fit the individual needs of the user.
This is the most common method of using CBD, by far. They’re easy to use, allow for completely customizable dosing, and are rapidly absorbed into the body.
For faster effects, hold the oil under your tongue for a few minutes before you swallow. The CBD will be absorbed much more quickly through the tiny blood vessels under your tongue.
The best CBD oils for pain come with a full-spectrum extract, and offer a high potency of active full-spectrum hemp extract.
What’s the Dose of CBD Oil For Pain?
The optimal dosage for CBD products can vary from person to person. Use our CBD oil dosage calculator to find the optimal dose for you based on weight and desired strength.
Most of the research investigating the effects of CBD on pain management recommends high doses — usually around 1 – 1.5 mg/kg of bodyweight. For a 150 pound person (68 kg) this works out to somewhere between 60 and 100 mg of CBD per dose.
Therefore, it’s best to use medium or high strength doses when treating pain conditions. For especially difficult to treat pain, even higher doses may be necessary.
It’s also beneficial in these cases to use CBD alongside other pain-management techniques such as physiotherapy, stretching, diet changes, and exercise.
Does CBD Oil Have Any Side-Effects?
Although CBD has been proven safe and effective, it’s important to know about the potential side-effects of CBD. The most common side effect is drowsiness or fatigue, but some people experience effects like nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea.
To avoid side-effects, it’s wise to start with a low dose of CBD (around 5 mg) first to see how it affects you before moving on to a full dose.
The most common side effects of CBD include:
- Appetite Suppression
- Dry mouth
- Lower heart rate
What Are The Benefits of CBD Oil For Pain?
- Blocks pain transmission in the spinal cord and brain — through the vanilloid and opioid pain receptors
- Reduces inflammation — one of the primary causes of pain in the human body
- Alleviates common side-effects of pain — including insomnia, depression, and anxiety
- Reduces the underlying causes of arthritis pain — one of the most common causes of pain
- Regulates nerve cell health & regeneration — which may offer support for pain associated with ALS, multiple sclerosis, PMS, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and more
- Reduces swelling and inflammation in the muscles after a workout
1. CBD Oil For Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is the leading cause of chronic pain in the developed world. It’s thought to affect as many as 54 million people per year.
There are two different types of arthritis — CBD has been shown to offer support for both:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis — arthritis caused by autoimmune disease (the body’s immune cells attack the joint tissue, causing pain)
- Osteoarthritis —arthritis caused by low-grade inflammation in the joints, leading to a loss of protective cartilage and further inflammation
CBD has been shown to inhibit an enzyme known as lipoxygenase (LOX) — which is a key mediator in the type of inflammation taking place alongside osteoarthritis . By slowing the activity of the LOX enzymes, CBD can slow the progression of inflammation in the joints and lead to a gradual reduction of pain symptoms over time.
Another study found that CBD extract inhibited several key inflammatory mediators involved with rheumatoid arthritis, leading to the production of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF) . RASF formation plays a key role in the underlying process causing rheumatoid arthritis.
By blocking these fibroblasts, CBD may interrupt the underlying cause of the condition.
2. CBD Oil For Inflammatory Pain
Inflammation is a function of the immune system. It’s your body’s initial response to irritation or damage. Imagine getting a cut or scrape on your skin. Before anything else happens, the area around the scratch or cut becomes red and swollen — this is inflammation taking the initial steps to begin the healing process.
The inflammatory process may occur in response to infection or physical injury (bumps, bruises, fractures) as well as to metabolic, degenerative, and autoimmune conditions.
When you suffer an injury, such as an ankle sprain, the inflammation is particularly noticeable.
But when inflammation occurs internally at lower levels with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, or diabetes the signs can go unnoticed — potentially leading to long-term damage.
The benefits of CBD for inflammation
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces swelling and redness
- Prevents autoimmune inflammation
- Widens the blood vessels to reduce inflammation faster
3. CBD Oil For Pain From Neurodegenerative Disorders
“Neurodegenerative disorder” is an umbrella term to describe several conditions involving the gradual destruction of nervous tissue.
The most common cause for neurodegeneration is an autoimmune disease, but other factors include prion diseases, protein or fat metabolism dysfunction, or exposure to toxic substances.
As the neurons becomes damaged, chronic pain is a common side effect.
CBD primarily helps through its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective benefits. By alleviating underlying inflammation, CBD oil can help reduce pain and may be able to slow the progression of the disease.
CBD oil has been shown to support the following neurodegenerative disorders:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
4. CBD Oil For Muscle Pain (DOMS)
Many people are using CBD oil for muscle recovery between workouts. The active ingredients in CBD oil help relax muscle tension, ease chronic pain, promote faster cell recovery, and prevent inflammation. All of these effects make CBD oil great for use as a post-workout supplement.
One of the most common causes of muscle pain (aside from injuries) is a condition called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). DOMS is caused by micro-tears to the muscles during a workout (a normal part of the process). DOMS pain usually begins about 24 hours after the exercise and can last up to 72 hours.
DOMS can make it difficult to continue exercising, which is why people are using CBD oils to reduce the severity and potentially even prevent DOMS from occurring in the first place.
For best results, combine your CBD oil with a topical CBD pain cream as well.
The benefits of CBD oil for muscle pain include:
- Blocks pain signals from reaching the brain
- Reduces inflammation in the muscles
- Relaxes tight or spastic muscles
- Speeds healing and recovery between workouts
5. CBD For Neuropathic Pain (Nerve Pain)
This type of pain arises when there’s damage to peripheral nerves, i.e. nerves outside of the spinal cord and brain.
Peripheral nerve damage can result in persistent impairment of nerve function even after the nerve recovers from the original injury .
Causes for nerve damage may include:
- Trauma or injury
- Exposure to neurotoxic substances
- Metabolic disorder (such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease)
- Autoimmune disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis)
Similar to chronic inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain can cause hypersensitization to pain signals .
The benefits of CBD oil for neuropathic pain:
- Reduces pain transmission through the nerves
- Activates the vanilloid pain receptors
- Protects the nerve cells from further damage
- Defends against oxidative damage
- Supports microglia health in the spinal cord and brain
6. CBD For Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a fancy word for long-term pain. It can suggest an underlying dysfunction of the tissue involved and can last anywhere from 6 months to years. Chronic pain is common and can be debilitating.
The longer the pain persists, the more it may become resistant to pain management techniques.
A 2008 review article investigated the effects of CBD and THC on chronic pain that was unresponsive to other medications. Researchers in this study concluded that CBD was an excellent pain-management tool for chronic pain, without any adverse side-effects
7. CBD For Fibromyalgia Pain
A challenging condition to treat, fibromyalgia involves chronic muscle and joint pain throughout the body, along with fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive impairment.
The benefits of CBD oil for fibromyalgia include:
- Alleviates chronic pain & inflammation
- May support sleep quality
- Fights anxiety & depression
8. CBD for Chemotherapy-Induced Pain
An animal study found CBD may prevent painful hypersensitization of nerve receptors to temperature and pressure, a side-effect from chemotherapy medications . The study found that CBD alleviated pain by binding directly to serotonin receptors in the brain.
9. CBD for NSAID-Induced Chronic Pain
NSAIDs are a common class of anti-inflammatories like aspirin and ibuprofen.
Many kidney transplant patients experience chronic pain due to toxic effects to the kidneys of NSAID — which they need to take following surgery.
In a small clinical trial, kidney transplant patients were given doses of 50 mg to 150 mg of CBD twice per day. Results showed partial to complete pain relief in the majority of participants within the first 15 days of the 3-week study
How To Use CBD Oil For Pain Management
CBD is a great natural painkiller, but only if used correctly. It’s critical you use the right CBD oil, find an effective dose for your body, and remain persistent with your dosage schedule.
Here are 5 steps to consider to get the most out of your CBD supplements.
1. Speak With Your Doctor
It’s important to follow a few key steps when using CBD to address pain symptoms.
Anybody experiencing pain should first schedule a visit their doctor. Pain is a warning sign that something is wrong, so it’s important to get checked out to learn what’s causing the pain.
2. Use the Right CBD Products
Next, the right form of CBD should be used — this could involve CBD topicals, CBD oils, or CBD capsules.
Generally speaking, topicals are best for muscle, joint, and skin-related pain, and internal CBD (oils, capsules, gummies, vapes), are better for all other forms of pain.