CBD oil is used for the natural treatment of chronic pain, including back pain, neuropathic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and headache pain.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical found in cannabis plants. Unlike the better-known marijuana component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive, and it does not cause a “high” (1).
The mechanisms involved in CBD’s effects are not yet completely understood.
It is believed that cannabidiol may affect the body’s endocannabinoid system (a complex system of cell-to-cell communication). Along with contributing to brain functions like memory and mood, the endocannabinoid system influences how individuals experience pain.
Although there is growing anecdotal evidence of CBD oil’s ability to manage pain, medical experts stress there are currently few human trials to support these claims.
Much of the evidence for CBD’s effects on pain management comes from animal-based research.
Because cannabis has widely been illegal until recently, there is little research into the use of cannabis as a pain treatment for chronic pain conditions.
Fortunately, human studies and trials are underway. These human studies will help substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control (2).
While CBD comes in a wide variety of forms —oral and topical — the majority of studies demonstrating its efficacy have focused on oral use, rather than topical use.
Best CBD Oil For Pain
1American Hemp Oil CBD Oil
When compared to other CBD oils available on the market, American Hemp oil is superior in taste, quality, and effectiveness. They are one of the largest hemp manufacturers in the country and have a reputation as being top-notch.
Their CBD oil provides you with a potent dose of CBD derived from CO2 extraction. Their manufacturing process is further advanced using flash chromatography which removes the THC content from the source product and provides you with the a truly pure result.
American Hemp is also extremely transparent in terms of their manufacturing process and their lab testing results. Their lab results can easily be located on the home page of their website and are listed by specific dosage amounts.
2Genetics CBD Blood Orange
Genetics CBD Blood Orange supplement contains turmeric and ginger to reduce inflammation and promote the health of the heart and muscles.
While many CBD oils have an earthy taste that could cause some users to be reluctant to consume it as a supplement, this CBD oil has a blood-orange flavor that makes its use pleasant. Many users have reported the taste is not overpowering and the oil is also extremely smooth in texture.
3EMPE Full Spectrum CBD Oil
EMPE full-spectrum CBD oil is ideal for treating pain and inflammation. You can also use these drops to treat conditions that affect your wellbeing, such as depression and anxiety. If you have post-workout pain or chronic pain due to a health condition or are recovering from surgery, EMPE has one of the best oils on the market.
Many users have also reported this to be an extremely fast-acting product as well for those looking for quick relief. EMPE CBD Oil also provides access to their lab testing results, ensuring its purity and commitment to quality.
4Nutiva Organic Hemp Oil
Nutiva’s hemp oil is sourced from Canada and is completely organic. The oil is cold-pressed and can be added to your favorite foods and smoothies to give you the benefits of hemp throughout the day. The oil contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and is also high in chlorophyll to provide necessary oxygen to your cells and cleanse the body.
This oil is suitable for vegan, raw and vegetarian diets and is non-GMO. If you’re looking for high-quality hemp oil you can consume as a food while getting rid of inflammation in the body and managing pain, Nutiva’s hemp oil is one of the best choices.
5Just Hemp Foods All Natural Hemp Seed Oil
This hemp oil is ideal for its slightly nutty taste. You can add it to your salad as part of your dressing or put it in your cereal or granola. The oil is also a healthy addition to smoothies. The container in which it comes also helps to protect its potency by blocking out any available light.
While Just Hemp Food’s CBD oil is one of the newer products on the market, it still manages to rank highly due to their serving size, as well as their purity and potency. Though it is not certified organic, this oil provides an oil that is comprised of pure cold-pressed and cold-filtered hemp seed oil making it truly pure and able to give you one of the largest CBD doses possible.
6Manitoba Harvest Hemp Oil
Manitoba Harvest Hemp oil has one of the most well-known reputations in the CBD oil industry and provides an impressive 10g of hemp oil per serving. The flavor is not too overpowering, so you can easily incorporate it into your foods, whether you’re preparing salad or want to dress cooked vegetables with the oil.
This oil provides omega 3,6, and 9 fatty acids increasing the available health benefits, as well as an unrefined cold-pressed hemp oil. It is completely free of flavorings or additives and manages to also avoid GMO ingredients.
7Eco Finest Hemp Oil
Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids are present in Eco Finest Hemp oil to give you the protein you need to promote wellbeing and keep pain at bay.
There are also several vitamins in Eco Finest Hemp Oil and the flavor is nice so you won’t get a leafy aftertaste. This oil is completely organic and doesn’t have any additives. You can take the oil as a supplement or add it to your food and smoothies.
8Sweet Essentials Extra Virgin Unrefined Hemp Seed Oil
Sweet Essentials Extra Virgin Unrefined Hemp Seed Oil is a cold-pressed oil has antioxidant properties which protect your body from free radicals.
Sweet Essential Hemp Seed Oil also contains several amino acids that are essential for all your body’s functions. You’ll get a serving of omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, and you can also use the oil on your skin to prevent breakouts and irritation and maintain a youthful appearance.
9EndoCanna Care Pure Hemp Extract
Pure hemp extract from EndoCanna has high amounts of all the omega fatty acids you need to facilitate and balance all your body’s functions. The oil has a mild taste and contains no artificial additives.
You can also take the oil before or after working out or to treat conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia.
10New Age Premium Hemp Oil
New Age’s premium hemp oil provides a large dose of CBD alongside omega-3 and omega-6 to give you the best possible health benefits. It also vegan-friendly, organic, and GMO-free, making it appealing for multiple lifestyles.
The extremely high satisfaction ratings among users also makes this a solid choice for those looking to get started in the CBD oil market.
How We Rank
CBD oils generally come in one of two forms: full-spectrum or isolate. CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD and extracts the CBD directly rather than leaving any remaining compounds associated with the original plant source. For pain management purposes, the full-spectrum version of CBD is much more ideal. Full- spectrum CBD includes naturally occurring fibers, proteins, and terpenes that assist in the anti-inflammatory process and enhance the antagonistic qualities found with CBD use. As a result, we exclusively chose to rank products, like Eco Finest and EMPE Full Spectrum CBD oil, that contained the full-spectrum form.
Next, we looked at the extraction process and CBD amount. Overall, the more CBD included in an oil, the better. The odds of a product having a larger CBD content, however is increased based on the extraction process used during harvesting. We gave higher preference to products with CBD extracted using CO2, like our number 1 pick American Hemp. The CO2 process breaks down the CBD compound allowing for a more potent effect as well as greater bioavailability. While this was not an absolute requirement, products that did not use this process such as Absolute Scientific were much closer to the bottom of the list.
Next, we reviewed the ingredient list for each CBD oil product. In general, the purer the CBD oil the better. While this holds true for CBD oils as well, we did give extra points to CBD oils that included additional ingredients known to have anti-inflammatory properties. CBD oils, like Genetics CBD, that included turmeric or vitamin E for example were given higher rankings as these ingredients only help to enhance the pain management effects.
Conversely, we penalized products that included additional ingredients with very few or unknown anti-inflammatory properties or health benefits. This included any artificial sugars, flavors, fillers, or colors. Organic or all-natural oils were given top marks compared to other options available on the market.
Lastly, we chose products that had verifiable third-party lab testing results available. One of the key components found with high-quality CBD oils is the presence of lab testing. These tests help to ensure CBD oil products have the claimed amount of CBD and are free of heavy metals and toxins. This was an absolute must-have for any products we chose to rank. Products that did not have testing results available or contained questionable results were not even considered for our list.
After all this we determined the top 10 best CBD oils for pain on the market.
1 CBD can help relieve chronic pain. Acute pain is usually successfully managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or opioids, but chronic pain is often difficult to treat and can be very disabling.
In a 2018 review assessing how well CBD works to relieve chronic pain, researchers recognized that cannabinoids act simultaneously on multiple pain targets within the peripheral and central nervous system (3).
The endocannabinoid system — a system that is responsible for balancing many processes, including controlling the stimulation of nerve cells to increase or decrease pain — is also believe to play a role in the pain response.
Everyone has an endocannabinoid system. When this cell-signaling system is functioning properly, the neuroregulatory process stimulates the nerve cells to increase pain only when there is an injury or other problem that needs attention.
Scientists believe that in some cases, the body does not generate enough cannabinoids for the endocannabinoid system to be able to work efficiently. This in turn prevents it from effectively regulating inflammation and pain.
In cases where the body does not synthesize enough cannabinoids, supplementing with plant-based cannabinoids, such as CBD, may help address the deficiency and in turn improve the endocannabinoid system’s ability to function (4).
The review also looked at studies conducted between 1975 and March 2018, examining various types of pain, including cancer pain, neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia.
Researchers concluded that CBD was effective in overall pain management and did not cause negative side effects.
2 CBC oil helps reduce inflammation. The underlying origin of pain — whether it is acute or chronic pain, peripheral or neuropathic pain — is inflammation and the inflammatory response (5).
In preclinical studies, CBD is associated with potent immune-modulatory and anti-inflammatory activity.
According to a 2009 issue of The AAPS Journal, CBD has been shown to reduce inflammatory cytokines in murine models of inflammatory disease and chronic and acute pain (6).
3 CBD oil may help treat osteoarthritis pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, some preliminary research suggests that CBD may help with arthritis pain. Most of the research, however, comes from animal studies.
The results of one such study, published in a 2017 issue of the journal Pain, found that prophylactic CBD treatment prevented the development of pain and nerve damage in the joints of rats with osteoarthritis (7).
Researchers explained that CBD could prevent osteoarthritis pain and joint neuropathy because it decreased joint inflammation and served as a protectant to the nerves.
Scientific studies in humans are lacking, and in one phase II clinical trial, the results were not that impressive.
At the end of the 12-week trial, patients using a proprietary CBD transdermal gel did not have statistically different pain scores from those who received placebo.
They only noted minor reductions in pain and improvements in physical function.
4 CBD oil may help treat fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition associated with widespread chronic pain, fatigue, memory problems and mood changes.
Two systematic reviews of cannabis/cannabinoid use in chronic fibromyalgia (along with neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and mixed chronic pain) established that 22 of 29 trials demonstrated a significant pain-relieving effect and several also reported improvements in secondary outcomes (sleep and spasticity) 8.
Experts stress, however, that the studies were small and not well designed (9). Better studies are needed.
5 CBD oil may help treat neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is pain from damage to the nervous system, which can be caused by diabetes, chemotherapy or HIV.
A 2018 report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, examined the use of a variety of cannabis-based medicines (including CBD oil sprays) and found they might be of some benefit in the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain (10).
Troublesome side effects, such as sleepiness, dizziness and mental confusion, however, may limit the clinical usefulness of such treatment.
These effects were likely due to the cannabis-based medicines containing THC and/or CBD from plant sources or made synthetically, some of which are more likely to result in these side effects than products without THC.
6 CBD oil may help treat chronic low back pain. Degenerative disc disease is the deterioration of one of the disk-shaped cushions between the bones of the spinal cord. Symptoms are most commonly concentrated in the low back and include pain that ranges from nagging to severe.
A recent study of mice with degenerative disc disease found outcomes much improved with high doses of CBD. Though the exact pathway is not yet known, researchers found reduced damage to spine areas in their experimental population.
A 2014 study found that CBD reduced the severity of damage caused by disc degeneration in the vertebrae of rats (11).
Although further research is necessary to clarify the mechanisms involved in CBD’s effects, the present results suggest the possibility of its use for disc degeneration pain and treatment.
7 CBD oil may help treat multiple sclerosis pain. Multiple sclerosis is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord, which can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
Spasticity is one of the more common symptoms of this condition and refers to feelings of stiffness and a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms. Spasticity may be mild or so severe that it produces painful, uncontrollable spasms of extremities.
Most CBD and multiple sclerosis studies so far have involved relatively small numbers of people with the condition and the outcome measures have varied among studies.
However, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, reviews of published studies have generally shown that cannabinoids favorably impact symptoms of pain and spasticity (12).
Research presented at the 2019 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting confirmed the effectiveness of THC-CBD therapy to reduce treatment-resistant multiple sclerosis spasticity and sustain improvement for 18 months (13).
8 CBD oil may provide cancer treatment relief. The National Cancer Institute has pointed to CBD as a possible option for reducing chemotherapy side effects, such as pain.
These beneficial effects, however, were seen when a combination of THC-CBD was used.
In a 2010 study, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, researchers reported that the use of a THC-CBD extract in addition to opioids provided more effective pain relief than using opioids alone (14).
A 2013 study showed that the long-term use of THC-CBD spray was generally well tolerated, with no evidence of a loss of effect for the relief of cancer-related pain with long-term use.
Furthermore, patients who kept using the study medication did not seek to increase their dose of this or other pain-relieving medication over time (15).
9 CBD may help treat migraines. Although studies on CBD and migraine are limited, a 2017 study indicated that a CBD-THC combination can lead to less acute and less intense migraine pain.
In phase I of the study, an oral dose of 200mg resulted in a 55 percent drop in acute pain.
In the same study, participants with cluster headaches also found pain relief with the combination of CBD and THC compounds, but only if they had a childhood history of migraine (16).
10 CBD oil may help ease the pain associated with the skin condition epidermolysis bullosa. Epidermolysis bullosa is a group of genetic conditions that cause the skin to be very fragile and to blister easily.
In a report published in Pediatric Dermatology in 2018, scientists studied three cases of topical CBD use (applied as an oil, cream and spray) in children with this rare skin condition.
Treatment resulted in faster wound healing, less blisters and improvement of pain.
In fact, one participant was able to completely wean off oral opioid pain medication, and there were no adverse effects reported (17).
11 CBD may help treat postoperative pain. Morphine has been used historically to relieve postoperative pain, but it causes unwanted side effects. Researchers interested in discovering natural products which produce adequate postoperative pain relief with no side effects, have turned their focus to cannabinoids.
Some clinical trials, using cannabinoid derivatives in postoperative pain, are in progress (18).
Though CBD is generally well tolerated and considered safe, it may cause adverse reactions in some people, especially when taken orally.
Reactions include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue.
These effects have typically been reported only with very high daily intake.
Due to a lack of scientific studies on CBD oil, the side effects when applied to the skin are not yet known. However, the amount of CBD the body absorbs and sends to the bloodstream through the skin is likely negligible.
CBD is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements.
When drugs do not have FDA approval, it can be difficult to know whether a product contains a safe or effective level of CBD.
Unapproved products may not have the properties or contents stated on the packaging.
Other side effects may include:
1 CBD may interact with blood thinning medication. CBD may increase the blood-thinning effects of warfarin (Coumadin), resulting in a dangerous hemorrhage.
2 CBD oil may affect blood pressure. CBD has been shown to cause a modest drop in blood pressure in people taking high doses.
3 CBD may interact with some types of anti-epileptic drugs, by increasing blood serum levels of anti-epileptic drugs.
4 CBD may cause liver injury. Signs of liver injury have also been reported in some patients, but this is less common.
Physicians do not have a milligram-specific, universal dosing method for CBD in the way they do with traditional prescription medication.
Until larger, long-term studies are performed, the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for pain is unknown.
Those interested in trying CBD, should discuss it with their doctor first or talk to a practitioner who is familiar with CBD oil. Medical experts can help their patients find higher quality, reliable products.
What is in CBD oil? CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
How do you use CBD oil for pain? CBD oil is available in drop or topical form. Drops can be used under the tongue, while CBD lotions and creams can be rubbed into the skin.
A topical cream applied to affected areas may be helpful for localized pain while drops under the tongue are intended for more generalized pain.
What is the best CBD oil for pain? There are several things to consider when selecting the best oil for pain. These include:
Looking for products that show how much CBD you get not just in the whole bottle but in each dose.
Also taking extra care with products that list only the amount of total “cannabinoids” they contain, not specifically how much CBD is in them. Those cannabinoids could include not just CBD and THC but dozens of other related compounds.
Keep in mind that products that are being sold as CBD are unregulated by the FDA. Some products might even contain THC, which can interfere with medications and cause unwitting users to get high.
To help figure it all out, experts urge individuals to consult with their physician for guidance on recommended oils.
How long does it take for CBD oil to work for pain? This depends on several factors, such as the location, severity of your pain and dosage used.
Reaction to CBD also depends on individual biochemistry and genetics.
For effects within a few minutes, oil drops under the tongue may be useful. Topical lotions, rubbed onto the skin, vary from person to person — some may feel it right away, others not for several hours.
How much CBD oil should be taken for pain? Experts do not yet know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for pain, or any particular medical condition for that matter — except epilepsy.
More evidence is needed before safe and effective dose recommendations can be made for specific uses.
If your physician recommends using CBD, he or she will likely start with a low dose to see how well your body responds, and increase the dose as you go along.
When treating arthritis pain, the Arthritis Foundation recommends starting with a CBD-only product, 5 – 10mg twice daily, and then slowly increasing, going up to dose of 50 – 100mg per day.
How does CBD work for pain? Experts are not exactly sure. It is believed that cannabinoids act simultaneously on multiple pain targets within the peripheral and central nervous system.
The endocannabinoid system is also thought to play a role.
The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system. Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.
Is CBD legal? The short answer is it is complicated and depends on which state you are in.
The federal 2018 Farm Bill lifted a nationwide ban on producing hemp, from which the oil is made, and which formerly was classified as a controlled substance.
CBD that is extracted from other cannabis plants is still illegal on the federal level, but may be legal under state law.
Cannabis-related laws are evolving regularly. Before you try to buy products with CBD or THC, get information about your state’s laws.
Will CBD oil cause me to fail a drug test? CBD products can only contain up to 0.3 percent THC (the psychoactive substance found in marijuana), therefore, it will not lead to a failed drug test.
There are exceptions, however. Many of the CBD oils on the market are unregulated, and while a buyer may think the product has no THC or very little THC, there is no way to know for sure.
But some products are labeled as containing less than 0.3 percent THC when they have more.
In a product that does contain 0.3 percent THC, there is still a potential to test positive for THC, depending on the amount consumed, the frequency of use and individual metabolism of the product.
Is CBD addictive? According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD” (19).
CBD does not work in the same way as cannabis and is not addictive.
Will CBD oil make me high? Pure CBD oil does not contain the chemical psychoactive component THC, which is the part of cannabis that triggers a high.
Can children and adolescents use CBD oil? Experts caution against CBD oil use in children and adolescents, as it may affect the developing brain. In general, it should be avoided by adolescents until more research has been conducted.
However, children aged 2 years of age and older who have rare forms of epilepsy may be prescribed the only FDA-approved CBD medicine, Epidiolex.
What is the difference between CBD and THC? THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are two natural compounds found in plants of the Cannabis genus.
Despite their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC do not have the same psychoactive effects.
THC, which primarily comes from marijuana, is thought to be the most psychoactive substance (i.e., a substance that changes brain function and alters perception, mood, consciousness or behavior) in cannabis.
CBD, which is mostly derived from the related plant hemp, is the major non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana? Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the Cannabis sativa species.
Hemp plants contain no more than 0.3 percent (by dry weight) of THC, the psychoactive substance found in marijuana. By comparison, marijuana typically contains 5 to 20 percent THC. You cannot get high on hemp.
Where can I buy CBD oil for pain? It is best to get recommendations from your healthcare team or to purchase CBD oil from a certified dispensary.
It is important to ensure that you are using a pure product.
Whichever product you consider using, look for independent testing. On manufacturers’ websites, you can look for a Certificate of Analysis, or COA, showing test results. Done by an independent laboratory, COA testing includes analysis for contaminants and measurement of CBD and THC levels, providing an extra level of quality assurance.
Does hemp oil contain marijuana? When people ask this question, they usually want to know if hemp oil contains THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Hemp oil has 0.3% THC, which very low and not enough to bring on the psychological effects that come from using marijuana.
Can I buy hemp oil legally in any state? Yes, you can purchase hemp oil legally in all 50 states, because hemp oil doesn’t contain marijuana extracts.
Will I test positive for a drug test if i take cbd oil for pain? Since hemp oil contains 0.3.% of less of THC, it’s pretty much impossible that you would test positive when taking a drug test.
How will I feel after taking hemp oil? Results vary, but you may feel relaxed and less stressed. You may also find that your joints are less painful and your muscles feel relieved, especially if you take hemp oil after a workout.
What are phytocannibinoids? Phytocannabinoids are a type of naturally-occurring, plant-based chemical compounds that influence the Endocannabinoid System or ECS in the body. the ECS is the body’s main regulatory system and helps to balance the body and consistently keeps a large range of body functions working at their best.
The body makes it own chemicals called endocannabinoids that regulate biological processes in the body. Endocannabinoids have broad effects on various body processes, including pain and infertility. Phytocannabinoids are found in nature and both influence and support ECS.
Are hemp and CBD oil the exact same thing? No, hemp stalk oil is the main ingredient in hemp oil; this is not the main ingredient in CBD oil. Hemp stalk does have naturally occurring CBD, it’s only one of the more than 80 phytocannabinoids in the oil. CBD oil tends to have a more intense effect on the body, though it is not the same as marijuana oil and most forms of CBD oil don’t contain high levels of THC. This is important to note when searching for CBD oil products.
CBD oils are touted for their therapeutic benefits, namely easing pain.
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical found naturally in cannabis plants. Unlike the better-known marijuana component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive, and it does not cause a high.
Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.
Although anecdotal evidence suggests that it can be used to help manage chronic pain such as back pain, neuropathic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and headache pain, human studies and trials are lacking.
The main limitations of the small number of available studies are that they are short in treatment duration and include a small number of patients.
Further research will shed light on the efficacy, proper dosages and long-term safety of medical use.
CBD may cause dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue. It may also interactive with certain medications.