CBD has become a popular alternative natural therapy for pain in recent years. Much of this is due to the increasing legalization of cannabis in many States.
Indeed, CBD has been shown to improve the lives of those suffering from chronic pain by about 25%, with a further 50% helped by combining CBD and THC therapeutic products.
While human studies and research trials have been low, animal trials have demonstrated that CBD can be an effective form of pain relief and inflammation.
This, combined with strong anecdotal evidence, has led researchers and users to believe that CBD can be an effective complement to your pain management program.
While the scientific evidence does not yet match the marketing, the use of CBD as an alternative pain therapy cannot be entirely ruled out, either.
The short answer?
CBD products, when in combination with other pain relief, can be a great alternative pain management tool for some. The important thing to remember, though, is that it shouldn’t necessarily be your only or first choice.
Read on to learn more about the different uses of CBD products for pain relief, how effective they can be, and what options are currently on the market!
Overview of Using CBD for Pain Relief
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural, active compound that is found in marijuana and hemp plants. Out of over 100 cannabinoid compounds, CBD is the second most abundant compound.
CBD is usually extracted as an oil and combined into other forms.
Unlike other cannabis products, CBD does not cause you to feel high, as it only contains trace amounts (up to 0.3%) of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD thus doesn't have the psychotropic effects that THC does.
Test-tube studies have indicated that CBD may work on endocannabinoid system receptors, decreasing the body’s inflammatory response.
Although there are few quality clinical studies on CBD, anecdotal evidence and animal studies suggest that CBD has both pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
As a complement to your pain care plan, CBD can be very effective.
In fact, CBD has a long history of medical use for its potential benefits. The earliest known records have been found in an Egyptian medical papyrus, dated c. 1550 BC!
It’s believed that CBD can modulate pain by stimulating the reuptake of adenosine, a neurotransmitter, boosting its levels in the brain. This then inhibits pain sensation.
It may also block pain signals by binding itself to TPRV1, the capsaicin receptor responsible for inflammation and pain
A lot more is known about THC than CBD's pain-relieving effects. However, researchers believe that CBD affects serotonin and glycine receptors, which may be involved with pain.
Whether this is due to actual pain relief - or creates a placebo effect - is as yet unknown.
As of today, there are no CBD-based prescription drugs available in the U.S. as painkillers. However, there are other products available, such as topical CBD creams and gels. These two in particular are believed to help with inflammation and neuropathy.
Full-spectrum CBD oil for pain relief is another popular option. A Forbes Health survey was conducted in April 2022. They found that 60% of U.S. adults use CBD products for their potential benefits and pain-relieving effects.
At Kanjo, there are two pain relief topical products that are great for relieving pain:
- Kanjo Hemp Pain Relief Gel with Menthol, Arnica, and Hemp Seed Oil
- Kanjo Hemp Pain Relief Cream with Trolamine Salicylate and Hemp Seed Oil
What Kind of Pain Can CBD Help With?
CBD products are advertised as being able to help with all sorts of conditions and different types of pain.
What the evidence tells us, however, is that CBD may be helpful for those suffering from the following:
- Chronic pain
- Joint and arthritis pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Cancer treatment relief
- Migraine pain relief
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) related pain
In addition to all of the above, CBD can also be effective for a variety of other long-term health conditions. It’s important to note, however, that the human clinical trial evidence for CBD is not extensive.
For many users, efficacy was increased when in combination with THC products, which is not yet legal in many States.
Pay attention, too, to where you purchase your CBD products, as many are unregulated and not yet approved by the FDA! There could be potential side effects when used incorrectly.
There is some evidence that CBD products may be helpful for those suffering from chronic pain, though with some caveats. Chronic pain can occur for people with arthritis, MS, and other long-term pains, including cancer pain.
How effective the treatment can be is very dependent on the patient and their medical history.
However, a 2019 study found the spray Sativex to be significantly successful in treating MS-related or cancer-related pain. This spray combines equal parts CBD and THC and is currently only approved in Canada, but is undergoing trials for approval and use in the U.S.
The key takeaway with CBD products for chronic pain is that there is not yet enough evidence to make findings conclusive, and you should always exercise caution.
Buy from a reputable supplier, and check if the product is FDA approved!
Arthritis and Joint Pain
Researchers found in a 2015 study that CBD gel could reduce arthritis-related joint swelling and pain in rats.
This, amongst other early studies, shows that CBD could help with arthritic-related pain in humans, too. However, the scientific evidence and trials here are not yet available.
There is currently little guidance available for those with arthritis considering CBD products and dietary supplements.
However, oral treatments and a low dose (taken in the evening), are a reasonable recommendation.
This, combined with an overall pain management plan and psychological support, is also recommended to help with arthritic pain.
As with anything, it’s important to remember to consult with medication professionals about overall pain management and treatment.
Though nonmedical practitioners, such as CBD product vendors, may be knowledgeable about their products, they should not be consulted exclusively.
Neuropathic pain is common in those suffering from MS. It’s also a common occurrence with infections such as shingles, or injuries such as herniated discs.
A small study done in 2017 found that CBD products could help with chronic neuropathic pain, but a 2018 Cochrane review concluded that the benefits of cannabis-based medicine were outweighed by potential side effects.
Another 2020 study looked at CBD oil as a treatment for peripheral neuropathy and found that it significantly reduced intense and sharp pain in patients.
As you can see, more research is needed to conclusively state that CBD could be helpful for those suffering from neuropathic pain.
However, Sativex is an approved MS treatment, absorbed in the mouth. Doses vary from patient to patient, and finding the optimal dose may take some trial and error.
Dog Joint Pain
Did you know that CBD may be helpful not only for pain in the human body, but also for canines?
Studies have shown that CBD may have an anti-inflammatory effect on many dogs.
Therefore, it may help alleviate common symptoms of canine arthritis.
The endocannabinoid receptor system (ECS) in dogs’ bodies may be affected by CBD products. This is through interaction with their CB1 and CB2 receptors, helping to reduce pain and swelling.
Studies are still limited and the American Veterinary Medical Association is advocating for more well-controlled clinical research, but the evidence thus far seems promising.
A 2018 study by Cornell University found that CBD vastly improved levels of comfort and mobility, and another 2020 study had similar findings of its medicinal benefits.
Regardless: When considering CBD for your canine friend, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian first!
This is especially important if they’re on any other medications.
Types of CBD Products for Pain Relief
How to Use CBD Oil for Pain
CBD oils usually come in tinted glass bottles with a dropper.
The oil can either be added to food or drinks, or a few drops can be placed under the tongue. The oil should be held for up to a minute before swallowing.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Take for Pain?
Dosage of CBD oil will depend on the method of administration and specific product.
The only currently approved CBD oil is Epidiolex, for which the starting dosage is 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) twice daily. After a week, this can be increased to twice daily.
However, Epidiolex is only available by prescription and is used to treat seizures in those with severe epilepsy.
As with any product, consult your medical professional for appropriate dosages as well as product instructions.
There is evidence that the use of alcohol and other depressants may increase CBD’s sedation effect.
Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Pain
Many CBD products will use third-party testing for third-party lab results of their own products.
While there may be many pros to taking CBD oil, as discussed in this article, the scientific evidence is not yet available for efficacy in humans.
- CBD oil is consumed orally, which means it goes directly into your bloodstream
- More convenient and simple
- Can be taken in food or drinks
- Effects usually last longer
- Can cause some side effects, such as dry mouth, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, and drowsiness
- Signs of liver injury have been reported with high-dose usage of Epidiolex
- As with all CBD products, may contradict with other medications or diseases, such as liver disease or Parkinson’s disease
- Not yet enough scientific evidence or robust research to conclusively state how effective or safe it is for humans
How to Use CBD Cream for Pain
CBD creams offer an external topical application method for localized pain relief.
The CBD is then absorbed into the epidermis (skin) and pores, working with the cannabinoid receptors in the skin.
The effects are typically immediate and can provide pain relief to a specific area.
However, due to low bioavailability, the CBD will never absorb into the bloodstream no matter how much you apply to your skin!
How much CBD Cream Should I Apply?
There is no standard dosage, so you should consult your medical practitioner before starting any CBD products. As all bodies are different, all dosages will be different as well.
Typically, the total amount of CBD on the container will be listed on the label. From here, you’ll be able to do some basic math to figure out your correct dosage.
Pros and Cons of CBD Cream for Pain
- CBD cream can target a specific area
- Works quickly
- Does not need to reach the bloodstream, as it binds to the CB2 receptors in the skin
- Effects are more concentrated
- Less potent than edibles
- Difficult to dose
- May cause skin irritation
- Not yet enough scientific evidence or robust research to conclusively state how effective or safe it is for humans
Roll-ons are relatively new to the market and relatively potent.
In a convenient gel form, it’s easy to apply the CBD product to specific spots.
Roll-ons are also often infused with other pain-relieving ingredients. Many athletes are now turning to CBD roll-ons to help with inflammation and pain.
How to Use CBD Gummies for Pain
Eating CBD gummies through oral ingestion is a convenient and easy way to take a CBD product. Easy to dose, tasty, discreet, and portable, simply put one in your mouth and chew, then swallow.
Gummies are especially popular amongst those looking to try CBD products for the first time.
How Many CBD Gummies Should I Eat?
Dosage will vary depending on the individual, and, as with other CBD products, may take some trial and error.
The best approach is to start with a low dosage and gradually increase over time.
To figure out how many gummies you’ll need, consider:
- Your bodyweight
- Individual body chemistry
- Desired effect and potency
- The condition you are addressing
One method of dosage is to take 1–5 milligrams per 10 pounds of body weight, but this is only a general rule of thumb.
It will also depend on how potent the CBD gummies are, as well as your body’s tolerance.
Best practice is always to talk to your medical practitioner for advice about finding the best dosage for you.
Remember that everyone is different- and that your reaction will be, too.
Pros and Cons of CBD Gummies for Pain
- May be easier to dose
- You do not need a prescription to purchase gummies
- Most companies have an easily accessible COA (Certificate of Analysis) on their website
- May cause dry mouth and irritation
- Can cause appetite fluctuation
- Can cause dizziness
- Can cause diarrhea
- May contradict any current prescription medications
- Not all gummies are created equal
- Takes time to work through the digestive system, so effects will be slower
Other CBD Edibles for Pain
Of course, gummies are not the only CBD product on the market.
Other edible products include:
- Pills or soft gels
Remember, though, that many of these products are not FDA approved. Always exercise caution when buying CBD products! Only buy from a reputable vendor, check your State Laws, and consult your medical practitioner before taking any CBD products.
How to Use CBD Spray for Pain
CBD sprays can be used topically, under the tongue (sublingual), or in the nose. All are quick and convenient to apply.
If using an oral spray, you’ll need to spray it directly beneath your tongue or inside of your cheek for the most effective results.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a spray, as this will determine how best to use it.
When using a topical spray, be sure to avoid broken skin and mucous membranes.
How Much CBD Spray Should I Apply?
As with the other products in this article, consult your medical practitioner for proper advice on dosage.
Also, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly! All dosages will vary from person to person.
Pros and Cons of CBD Spray for Pain
- Discreet and easy application
- Higher bioavailability when used sublingually or through the nose
- Available in different flavors and strengths
- Harder to find than oils or gummies
- Dosing is imprecise
- May cause side effects, such as fatigue, diarrhea, changes in appetite, and changes in weight
- Not yet enough human medical evidence to support the efficacy of CBD sprays for pain
CBD Dog Treats
How to Use CBD Dog Treats for Joint Pain
There are various CBD dog treat products available on the market. You can also create your own by soaking dog treats in CBD oil until absorbed. These can then be fed in measured doses to your canine friend.
However, be sure to exercise caution when giving your dog a packaged CBD treat or a homemade one. Always start with small doses to understand the effects.
Always consult your veterinarian before giving them anything containing CBD, especially if on other medications.
Which is Better for Pain: CBD or Hemp?
CBD is better for body pain symptoms. Hemp actually contains no CBD, so you cannot benefit from any of the potential pain relief that CBD provides.
Is CBD Safe to Use?
CBD appears to be safe for adults, though there may be some side effects. It can also contradict other medications, so it's best to always to check with your medical practitioner before use.
Where Can You Buy CBD Products?
CBD products are available from CBD vendors, as well as online. Be sure to check your State Laws and only purchase from a reputable vendor.
Are All CBD Products Legal?
As long as your CBD product does not contain more than 0.3% THC, it is considered to be federally legal. However, the legal definition varies from State to State, and you should check your local State Laws for a definitive answer.
Does CBD Reduce Inflammation or Just Pain?
While the evidence is not conclusive, animal tests have shown that CBD may reduce both inflammation and pain. More human research is needed to better understand the effects on pain.
Will CBD Oil Show Up on a Drug Test?
CBD itself should not cause a false positive drug test unless there is a trace amount of THC in the oil. This can happen if the oil is not extracted correctly from the hemp plant.