CBD Oil for Pain Relief & Management

Many people with chronic pain find cannabidiol (CBD) oil helpful in reducing pain, inflammation, and general discomfort. This derivative of the marijuana and hemp plant is different from other cannabinoids like THC in that it does not produce a high. Can cannabidiol be an alternative treatment for people with chronic pain? What is the best CBD oil for pain? Let’s find out.

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Typical Pain Management Today

In developed parts of the world such as the United States, Europe, and Australia, superior medical care has led to an increased life expectancy, and consequently, an aging population. Disabling chronic pain affects 25 percent of elderly people [1] and up to 80 percent of nursing home residents [2]. In the United States alone, an estimated 38 million people live with chronic pain. Of these, about 12 million have used cannabis in an attempt to obtain relief [3]. Pain management is an emerging public health concern. CBD oil for back pain, cancer-related pain, neuropathic pain, and other types of pain is a promising treatment option for people with intractable pain that is unresponsive to traditional therapies.

Using CBD (Cannabinoids) to Treat Pain

To date, two cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2 – have been identified in the human nervous system [4]. CB1 receptors are present in the nociceptive (pain-sensitive) areas of the brain and spinal cord. CB2 receptors play an important role in suppressing inflammatory processes as well as pain. These receptors are a part of the endocannabinoid system that is responsible for regulating activities such as relaxation, eating, and sleeping. Cannabinoids (derivatives of the cannabis plant) interact with the endocannabinoid system to control pain. CBD cream for pain works by acting directly on the cannabinoid receptors. However, it does not produce a high like THC, the best-known derivative of the marijuana plant. CBD also reduces inflammation and has anti-oxidant properties. CBD interacts with other neurotransmitter systems such as 5-HT1A and has a calming effect on anxiety which is common in people battling chronic pain.

How to use CBD oil for pain? There are many different forms of the oil with different THC/CBD concentrations.

Different Forms of CBD to Treat PainCBD Options for Pain Relief


  • Liquid oil
  • Paste
  • Capsules
  • Sprays
  • Dissolvable powders
  • Cooking oils
  • CBD-infused water, chewing gum, brownies, gummies, etc.


  • Wax
  • Crystalline isolates
  • Vape cartridges

Topical (CBD cream for pain)

  • Patches
  • Salves and balms
  • Soaps and shampoos

How Fast Does CBD Work?

There is no one right answer to this question. How long it takes CBD to work depends on a number of factors, including the severity of pain and method of consumption. For example, the medication Sativex which contains CBD has been approved for the treatment of neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis. It is also used to treat cancer-related pain that is unresponsive to opioids. It is available in the form of a mouth spray. Effects of this CBD oil for nerve pain commence in about 15-40 minutes.

Vape pens are the fastest way to get CBD into the bloodstream and dispersed throughout the body. The effects are felt within minutes and last a couple of hours. On the other hand, orally ingested CBD oil is slower to begin producing a pain-relieving effect and typically takes 30-90 minutes to act, but the effects last longer, about four hours. Sublingual (under the tongue) lozenges, tinctures, and oils are also available. Topically applied CBD is the slowest and the pain-relieving effects may not be felt until an hour after application, but the effects last longer for up to 5 hours.

It may take a little experimentation to ascertain which method works best for a particular person in terms of pain relief. Of course, individual preference also counts. Some people prefer ingesting CBD while others prefer smoking it or applying it to the skin.

What is the CBD Dosage for Pain?

There is no universal dosage of CBD oil for pain. The Food and Drug Administration has not outlined a recommended daily intake, so there’s no official dose. This is because everyone is different and needs a different dose of CBD to obtain pain relief. The dose that works best for an individual will depend on the concentration of CBD, body weight, metabolism, and severity of pain.

People who are using cannabidiol for the first time should start out with a small dose and observe its effects. Most people are able to figure out a stable dose in a week to 10 days. The correct dose should provide pain relief without causing psychotropic (mind-altering) effects or adverse effects such as nausea. It is advisable to maintain a log of the dose taken and its effects on pain relief to see what works best. Here are some typical CBD dosages for different medical conditions:

Chronic pain: Up to 20 mg daily

Cancer pain: Sativex up to 10 sprays per day (25 mg CBD plus 27 mg THC)

Glaucoma: Up to 40 mg daily

Sleep disorders: Up to 160 mg daily

Epilepsy: Up to 300 mg daily

What Types of Pain Can CBD Help With?

CBD for Chronic Pain

CBD is a novel approach for the treatment of chronic pain. It is a promising adjunctive therapy for people with intractable pain. Studies [4] have shown that Sativex, a CBD-containing medication, offers good results in people with chronic pain due to multiple sclerosis. Not only does it offer pain relief, it also reduces associated symptoms such as insomnia. Moreover, it is better tolerated with fewer side effects compared to smoked herbal cannabis.

CBD for chronic back pain has proven to be efficacious [5] in patients who have failed back surgery syndrome. A study found that patients required minimum dose adjustment of the cannabinoids (THC plus CBD) for relief from refractory pain. After one year of treatment, pain rating had decreased on average from about 8 to about 4 when used along with spinal cord stimulation. CBD is, therefore, an effective adjuvant treatment in people with chronic back pain.

Other types of chronic pain, for example, pain associated with organ transplant, can also benefit from CBD. One study [6] found that at doses of 50-100 mg per day CBD was well tolerated with no severe side effects and partial to complete pain relief in kidney transplant patients. An overview of 16 studies with nearly 2000 participants [7] looked at the efficacy of CBD oil for nerve pain. The authors concluded that cannabis-based medicines such as THC/CBD oromucosal sprays are effective in neuropathic pain relief.

CBD for arthritis pain relief

CBD Oil for Arthritis Pain

Arthritis affects millions of people around the world. The condition is characterized by degeneration of joints, inflammation, peripheral neuropathy, and pain. CBD cream for pain has been found to be effective in relieving arthritis pain and inflammation without any evident side effects [8].

In animal models, transdermal (across the skin) application of CBD oil at doses of 1-6 mg per day was found to significantly reduce joint swelling, pain, and immune cell infiltration in a dose-dependent manner [9], indicating that topical CBD has therapeutic potential for arthritis pain. In addition, cannabidiol was found to be neuroprotective, i.e., it can prevent the development of pain and nerve damage in arthritic joints when given as a preventative [10]. According to the results of another study [11], CBD administered after clinical symptoms have appeared can block the progression of arthritis.

CBD Oil for Cancer Pain

Cannabis preparations containing CBD are effective in relieving pain in patients with malignancies. The results of more than a dozen trials indicate that CBD for chronic pain is significantly superior in terms of analgesic effect compared to placebo [12]. Studies [13] have shown that CBD dosage for pain relief may be as low as 2.5 to 10 mg in combination with THC. However, the most effective dose is 10 sprays per day containing 27 mg of THC and 25 mg of CBD. The highest approved dose is 12 sprays per day with 32 mg THC and 30 mg CBD in patients with malignancy.

Advantages of CBD Oil Over Traditional Pain Treatments

CBD oil for back pain and other types of pain has many advantages over conventional pain remedies:

  • It is a natural therapy with minimal side effects.
  • It is generally well tolerated and has a good safety profile.
  • It provides pain relief without psychoactive effects (without causing a high).

Traditional pain remedies include opioid pain relievers, but these drugs have an extremely high potential for abuse and addiction. CBD oil for pain is not habit forming and there is no risk of dependence. With certain pain relievers such as Bextra and Celebrex (COX inhibitors), there is concern for gastrointestinal ulcers, bleeding, cerebrovascular accidents, and heart attack. CBD for pain relief is not associated with any of these risks at pharmacologically relevant doses.

Study Results: Effectiveness of Pain Relief

While many studies are still being conducted, and more research funding is reaching this new health phenomenon, there is still a lot of great evidence to show that CBD can be an effective pain management solution.

Here are some study results demonstrating the effectiveness of CBD for chronic pain:

  • Pain relief with CBD:THC 1:1 sublingual spray at doses of 2.5-120 mg per 24 hours is significantly superior to placebo and provides improvement in muscle spasms, bladder control, and spasticity along with pain reduction [14].
  • THC/CBD for 12 weeks showed the combination is well tolerated as a sublingual spray and extracts containing THC are most effective in pain control [15].
  • Medicines containing THC/CBD for analgesia are effective in reducing the intensity of pain and sleep disturbance in people with central neuropathic pain due to multiple sclerosis [16].
  • Significant pain-relief is noted and disease activity is suppressed with Sativex (THC/CBD combination) treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis [17].

What is the Best CBD Oil for Pain?

It’s important to remember that unlike other medications, CBD products are not FDA-regulated for purity and dosage. That’s why it’s particularly important to purchase products from reputed manufacturers. Like any substance introduced into the body, CBD oil side effects can occur, most commonly, nausea, sleep problems, and irritability. Careful dose titration can help avoid or manage these symptoms. Here are some tips on choosing the best CBD oil for pain:

  • Pick a reputed manufacturer and brand name to ensure purity and consistency.
  • Avoid products that are produced with extraction methods that use harmful chemicals.
  • Choose US-grown organic hemp from GMP-certified farms.
  • Buy products tested by a third-party.
  • Purchase CBD-rich products (a high THC content may produce unwanted psychoactive effects).
  • Start with a small dose and see the effect of CBD for chronic back pain or other types of pain.
  • If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, buy whole plant CBD-rich products made from the cannabis plant rather than hemp.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are on other medications which may interact with CBD.

Here at NOW CBD , we recommend trying our Full Spectrum CBD Hemp Oils (available in 3 different strengths) for your pain relief and inflammation reduction. Additionally, if you have aches and pains on your body and joints , you should try our topical pain relief gel as well as many of our customers love using this on a daily basis as it provides instant relief by absorbing right into your pain area through your skin.

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  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17317450/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17563246/
  3. https://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/979a1TheFightAgainstPain.pdf
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30233233
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29579828
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29513392
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26517407
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28885454
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10920191
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29719417
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28866904
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12617376
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15096238
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16186518
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16282192