• Joint pain is a discomfort usually felt in the hands, feet, knees, or spine. People with arthritis, old injuries, depression, or stress may experience joint pain(1).
  • Animal and laboratory studies suggest CBD may have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties(2). Individuals who tried CBD mentioned using it to manage arthritis symptoms(3).
  • There are no conclusive clinical studies on CBD for joint pain to date. For now, no conclusions can be made on CBD’s effectiveness in managing joint pain.
  • Individuals experiencing joint pain should consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment before taking CBD.

How Effective Is CBD in Treating Joint Pain?

Some laboratory and animal studies suggest CBD may have potential pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects(4).

One survey noted that many people with arthritis have used or are currently using CBD. Although there is currently no treatment for arthritis, 29% of those surveyed mentioned they use CBD to help manage the symptoms of arthritis(5).

However, well-designed human studies that provide compelling evidence of CBD’s effectiveness and safety for chronic arthritis pain currently do not exist.

What Evidence Shows That CBD Is Effective for Joint Pain?

A 2018 study on the effects of synthetic transdermal CBD on knee pain caused by osteoarthritis was conducted over 12 weeks(6).

Results showed that while CBD might help reduce knee pain, its effects were not statistically different from placebo.

Another study was conducted on a rat model of arthritis using CBD transdermal gel(7).

The study showed that doses of 6.2 and 62 milligrams (mg) of CBD per day may provide therapeutic benefits to manage arthritis pain and provide anti-inflammatory effects without evident side effects.

While this study was conducted on rat subjects, results may be useful in similar future studies on humans.

In one large-scale review on the effects of CBD and cannabis, data suggested that cannabis may be effective in alleviating chronic pain among adults(8).

However, there are no definitive clinical studies on CBD for joint pain to date. Thus, no conclusions can be made regarding CBD’s effectiveness in managing joint pain.

How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Joint Pain

Individuals considering using CBD oil for joint pain should consider the following guidelines(9):

  • Consider choosing a CBD product that a third-party lab independently tests for safety, potency, and purity.
  • CBD should be considered a non-medication option, together with exercise, as part of an overall pain management plan.
  • Consider CBD products that can be orally administered instead of inhaled. One benefit of oral products is starting with a low dose.
  • Individuals interested in taking CBD must refrain from making it their first option for pain relief.
  • Individuals with certain types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis or related disorders should not discontinue their prescribed medications even when CBD is available.

They should consult their doctor before considering modifying their medication regimen.

Other variables to consider when looking for high-quality CBD oil include extraction methods, forms of CBD, and other personal preferences.

Manufacturers use various extraction methods such as carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrocarbon, or ethanol to pull the hemp extract from the cannabis plant.

After CBD oil is extracted, it is identified as either broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, or isolate.

Broad-spectrum CBD oils usually have most of the compounds and cannabinoids in a full-spectrum CBD product present, except for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

On the other hand, CBD isolates contain pure CBD only without the other cannabinoids or compounds.

Consumers who prefer CBD products without THC and its associated psychoactive effects may opt for broad-spectrum CBD oil or isolates.

Meanwhile, full-spectrum CBD oil has all the cannabinoids and compounds found in the cannabis plant, including THC, flavonoids, and terpenes.

Flavonoids possess antioxidative properties, while terpenes produce an aromatic effect.

Combining these compounds produces an “entourage effect,” where the combined benefits of cannabinoids and other compounds are more than the sum of the benefits of each part(10).

CBD products sold by reputable brands usually come with a certificate of analysis (COA). Third-party labs provide the COAs containing the test results of the product’s actual CBD content.

Third-party lab testing also checks for any harmful contaminants like heavy metals or pesticides that may cause a health risk to consumers. CBD brands selling quality products must be transparent by posting the COAs on their website.

Some individuals may prefer non-GMO CBD products that use organic hemp. They may also consider purchasing from manufacturers that have grown hemp plants in California, Colorado, Kentucky, or Texas.

The FDA warns businesses that labeling a CBD product as a dietary supplement or marketing it as a food additive is illegal.

Guidelines on Using CBD Oil for Joint Pain

A report on individuals using or who have used CBD for arthritis mentioned that 62% used CBD in liquid form, while 55% used a topical product applied to their joints(25).

Individuals contemplating on taking CBD oil to help manage joint pain may consider the following administration routes:

  • Oral administration – When taken orally, CBD passes through the gastrointestinal tract and metabolizes in the liver before being delivered into the bloodstream.

Examples of orally-administered products include CBD capsules or softgels and edibles such as gummies, candies, and chews.

These products may take 30 to 90 minutes to take effect and last for about six to eight hours(11).

  • Sublingual administrationCBD oil is administered sublingually or under the tongue, allowing CBD to be absorbed straight into the bloodstream and bypass the digestive tract.

Some standard methods to deliver CBD sublingually are CBD oil tinctures using droppers or oromucosal sprays.

The onset time for sublingual administration is 15 to 30 minutes. Effects may last for about two to four hours(12).

CBD oil tinctures are usually mixed with a carrier oil such as medium-chain triglycerides or MCT oil to dilute the CBD concentrate.

  • Topical applicationTopical CBD products like CBD creams, lotions, ointments, and balms are applied to the skin.

Topicals may take about 15 to 30 minutes to take effect and may last for two to four hours(13).

  • InhalationVaping administers CBD through inhalation. This route is considered one of the fastest ways to administer CBD into the body(14).

Onset time for vapes takes about 2 to 15 minutes, and effects may last for two to four hours(15).

Individuals considering vaping as an administration route for taking CBD are cautioned that vaping can cause health risks related to lung disease(16).

Those with adverse health conditions must consult their doctor for diagnosis and treatment options before vaping or smoking CBD.

CBD Dosage for Joint Pain

To date, there are no CBD dosage guides approved by the FDA specifying the formulation or amount of CBD to take for joint pain and wellness. However, people may take CBD starting with a lower dose(17).

Factors like diet, exercise, health conditions, genetics, and stress levels may affect CBD dosage(18).

Currently, CBD products are not yet approved by the FDA for treating joint pain.

Individuals experiencing joint or back pain caused by arthritis should schedule an appointment with a doctor for diagnosis and treatment before considering taking CBD.

Benefits of CBD for Joint Pain

According to the Arthritis Foundation, people interested in purchasing CBD usually cite arthritis or pain caused by arthritis as one of the reasons for buying CBD(19).

Aside from pain relief, other reported benefits of taking CBD include improved physical function and sleep and relieving fatigue symptoms(20).

Preclinical studies also suggest CBD may have therapeutic benefits for addiction due to cocaine, opioids, and other psychostimulants(21).

Safety and Side Effects of CBD Oil for Joint Pain

The World Health Organization (WHO) noted that CBD has a good safety profile and is a well-tolerated drug in general(22).

One study stated that humans may tolerate CBD doses of up to 1,500 milligrams of CBD (mg of CBD) per day(23).

On the other hand, some known side effects of CBD include loss of appetite, drowsiness, fatigue, and diarrhea(24).

In 2018, a study was conducted on kidney transplant patients taking CBD to help manage chronic pain. The results suggested that CBD may cause adverse side effects, such as dizziness, dry mouth, intermittent heat episodes, or nausea(25).

Another study determined the effects of CBD on patients prescribed with CBD oil. The researchers noted that some patients in the study experienced adverse effects such as sedation and vivid dreams(26).

CBD is considered a safe substance in general. However, it may deactivate the cytochrome P450 enzymes necessary to metabolize pharmaceutical drugs like painkillers (analgesics), blood thinners, and insulin(27).

Some CBD brands market their products with false, unproven, or misleading claims. The FDA warns that such products may cause consumers to forgo proper medical diagnosis, supportive healthcare, and treatment(28).

Individuals currently taking prescription medication must seek medical advice from a doctor or clinician regarding their medication before considering taking CBD.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD is among the predominant active ingredients of the cannabis plant. CBD is a hemp-based phytocannabinoid and is also one of the components found in marijuana. However, when used by itself, CBD does not cause a “high(29).”

Phytocannabinoids are naturally-occurring cannabinoids in cannabis plants like kemp and marijuana.

The sale of CBD products is now booming, and purchasing such products is becoming easier through local stores, clinics, and online stores. 

Reports mentioned that most people cite arthritis or arthritis pain as a common reason for buying CBD(30).

How Does CBD Oil Interact With the Body?

CBD works by engaging the cannabinoid receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS)(31).

The ECS is an extensive network of receptors and chemical signals, including the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.

CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and regulate functions like temperature, hunger, or alertness. Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are primarily based in the immune system and help control the body’s immune functions(32).

CBD’s interaction with these receptors may help manage arthritis-related pain(33).

These receptors help regulate many body functions, such as eating, sleeping, learning, pain control, and immune and inflammatory responses(34).

Alternative Products for Joint Pain

Other alternative products that may help relieve joint pain include dietary supplements, over-the-counter topical products, or anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen(35).

If these alternative products are insufficient, the doctor may prescribe painkillers, antidepressants, or steroids(36).


  1. Joint pain
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17752-joint-pain
  2. Does CBD help with arthritis pain?
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/does-cbd-help-with-arthritis-pain-2020041019418
  3. Patients Tell Us About CBD Use
    http://blog.arthritis.org/news/patients-tell-us-cbd-use/
  4. Does CBD help with arthritis pain?
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/does-cbd-help-with-arthritis-pain-2020041019418
  5. Patients Tell Us About CBD Use
    http://blog.arthritis.org/news/patients-tell-us-cbd-use/
  6. Synthetic transdermal cannabidiol for the treatment of knee pain due to osteoarthritis
    https://www.oarsijournal.com/article/S1063-4584(18)30167-5/pdf
  7. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
  8. Does CBD help with arthritis pain?
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/does-cbd-help-with-arthritis-pain-2020041019418
  9. Ibid.
  10. The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/
  11. page 191 of Healing With CBD
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  12. page 192 of Healing With CBD
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  13. page 193 of Healing With CBD
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  14. Best way to take CBD
    https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/best-way-take-cbd
  15. page 190 of Healing With CBD
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  16. Can vaping damage your lungs? What we do (and don’t) know
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-vaping-damage-your-lungs-what-we-do-and-dont-know-2019090417734
  17. CBD dosing
    https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/cbd-dosing
  18. Ibid.
  19. Patients Tell Us About CBD Use
    http://blog.arthritis.org/news/patients-tell-us-cbd-use/
  20. Ibid.
  21. CANNABIDIOL (CBD)Pre-Review ReportAgenda Item 5.2
    https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
  22. Ibid.
  23. Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa Constituent
    https://doi.org/10.2174/157488611798280924
  24. What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700
  25. Chronic Pain Treatment With Cannabidiol in Kidney Transplant Patients in Uruguay
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29579828/
  26. Cannabidiol prescription in clinical practice: an audit on the first 400 patients in New Zealand
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7330185/
  27. CBD user’s guide
    https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/cbd-users-guide
  28. What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD
    https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis
  29. Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don’t
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476
  30. Patients Tell Us About CBD Use
    http://blog.arthritis.org/news/patients-tell-us-cbd-use/
  31. page 103 of Healing With CBD
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  32. The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-essential-and-mysterious-202108112569
  33. page 146 of Healing With CBD
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  34. The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-essential-and-mysterious-202108112569
  35. Joint pain
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17752-joint-pain
  36. Ibid.
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