• CBD oil contains potentially therapeutic properties that may offer pain relief to individuals living with chronic pain and inflammation(1).
  • Tennis elbow is an arm injury that individuals who engage in sports acquire, resulting in pain from a torn muscle(2).
  • Individuals with tennis elbow may resort to CBD oil to reduce the symptoms and long-term effects of tennis elbow at a healthcare professional’s discretion.

How CBD Oil May Help Relieve Tennis Elbow

Studies have shown that CBD oil may contain anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, CBD oil may provide pain relief among individuals experiencing chronic pain(3).

Tennis elbow is a condition caused by elbow fatigue. This injury arises from excessive arm movements, causing pressure on the elbow(4)

Individuals with tennis elbow may feel pain in the forearm up to the wrist.

An experimental study hypothesized that cannabidiol, or CBD, may act as an analgesic for specific chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia(5).

Both tennis elbow and fibromyalgia exhibit body pain in individuals. 

Therefore, CBD products, such as CBD oil, may be suitable for individuals with tennis elbow to reduce pain.

Topical CBD oils take effect when CBD and therapeutic chemicals, namely terpenes and flavonoids, interact with cannabinoid receptors in the skin. These receptors may aid in pain regulation(6).

Moreover, CBD oil targets pain internally through the endocannabinoid system, or ECS(7).

The ECS includes cannabinoid receptors that support various body systems, such as the immune system, and help with pain management.

Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are known for receiving signals to address bodily concerns. The receptors help regulate the activity of neurotransmitters like glutamate, which is connected with pain(8).

CB1 receptors are primarily found in the nervous system, while CB2 receptors reside in the body’s immune system(9).

Moreover, individuals using CBD may experience the entourage effect, a phenomenon in which the cannabinoids and phytochemicals in CBD products synergize to achieve CBD’s optimal healing effect(10).

The Effectiveness and Benefits of CBD on Individuals With Tennis Elbow

Research by Harvard Medical School stated CBD’s purported effectiveness on arthritis and joint pain(11). Based on the study, CBD may work on individuals with tennis elbow, an injury characterized by joint pain.

The Frontiers in Psychiatry journal postulated that CBD may be an effective alternative to over-the-counter medicine(12).

A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association that identified the health benefits and side effects of CBD stated that individuals may experience pain reduction after taking CBD(13).

CBD may also help individuals with physical injuries. Among the therapeutic benefits of CBD is pain relief, as it contains anti-inflammatory properties(14)

However, studies have not confirmed that CBD may cure illnesses completely. More evidence on the safety of CBD intake is also needed, as some CBD products may not be fit for all individuals. 

As the information on the benefits of CBD is limited, individuals are encouraged to approach a healthcare professional before taking CBD to know the compound’s advantages.

How to Take CBD Oil for Tennis Elbow

CBD oil may help address tennis elbow pain when applied as CBD topicals.

Studies have shown that CBD oil may be applied to painful areas to reduce inflammatory symptoms(15-16).

Another study that discussed the benefits of aromatherapy showed that essential oils, like eucalyptus and peppermint oils, may reduce pain among individuals(17).

Aromatherapy is a method wherein fragrances from essential oils stimulate the nervous system through receptors in the body(18).

Therefore, like essential oils, CBD oil may also offer pain relief, given its pharmacological makeup.

Individuals may also take some CBD oil products orally. Research suggested applying a few drops of CBD underneath the tongue, where sublingual glands are located.

Sublingual glands allow the body to absorb medication without these substances passing through the digestive tract, where medicine may interact with digestive enzymes that could affect the medicine’s healing properties(19).

Legality of CBD

The FDA’s Agriculture Improvement Act or the 2018 Farm Bill exempted cannabis and cannabis-derived products from the FDA’s list of controlled substances in 2018. 

CBD products may only be FDA-approved if their THC content is less than 0.3% in dry weight.

However, the FDA warns consumers about mislabeled drugs, especially CBD products(20), as some may contain false information about their THC content.

Individuals must refer to a CBD product’s certificate of analysis, or COA, to determine the product’s composition. The COA may be viewed on a CBD brand’s website.

Despite the FDA’s regulation on cannabis, CBD is not legal in all U.S. states, as some states have not established a legalized cannabis access program.

To know more about the laws regarding CBD products or cannabis itself, individuals may visit the state government website, where information on such may be available.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is among the numerous cannabinoid compounds derived from the hemp plant. It makes up about 40% of the plant, making it a major phytocannabinoid(21).

Unlike delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, another major phytocannabinoid, CBD is not a psychoactive compound. Moreover, in certain studies, CBD is known for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects on humans and animals(22).

Today, CBD works in different forms, such as oils, tinctures, gummies, edibles, and topical salves. 

There are also three types of CBD: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD extract consists of cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBN, and plant chemicals, like flavonoids and terpenes. It also contains less than 0.3% THC(23).

Cannabigerol, or CBG, is a cannabinoid with therapeutic benefits for gastrointestinal problems(24). Meanwhile, cannabinol, or CBN, may improve sleep among individuals(25).

Terpenes and flavonoids are plant chemicals that give plants their unique smell and color. Terpenes, however, may be used in producing essential oils and contain antiviral properties(26).

Broad-spectrum CBD differs from full-spectrum CBD in its THC content. Unlike full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD’s THC content is minimal to none(27).

Finally, isolate CBD is made of pure CBD and is devoid of the natural chemicals and essential oils from the cannabis plant. It also contains no THC(28).

What Is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an arm injury where tendons on the outer elbow become strained due to overuse. This condition causes soreness that could run along the length of the arm(29)

Named as such, tennis elbow mainly occurs among tennis players.

 Aside from elbow pain, another symptom of tennis elbow is poor grip. Due to the pain, individuals with tennis elbow find it hard to lift their arms and hold objects. 

Because of its characteristics, tennis elbow may also be likened to tendinitis, which arises from repetitive activities(30).

Another injury likened to tennis elbow is called golfer’s elbow

Individuals with golfer’s elbow may experience stiffness and numbness. To treat this condition, individuals need to avoid strenuous activities until they recover(31).

For severe cases of tennis elbow, doctors may even recommend surgery that may restore the torn muscle(32). Tennis elbow surgery will require numbing medication and may be executed while the patient is awake.

Such a condition may cause pain that could last long if left unmanaged and affect well-being. If symptoms of tennis elbow persist despite ample rest and medication, individuals must see a healthcare professional who could recommend a suitable treatment.

Who Is Affected by Tennis Elbow?

Individuals who may be affected by tennis elbow are athletes, especially those who engage in racket sports.

Tennis elbow results from repeated and strenuous movements that involve the arm. The weight of the balls hit with rackets in sports may also factor in the risk of getting tennis elbow, as heavy objects may add tension to the elbow(33).

Construction workers, dentists, and other professionals are also at risk of getting tennis elbow. When individuals do activities continuously without rest, their muscles may stiffen and cramp(34). Such activities may cause pain attributed to tennis elbow.

Moreover, adults aged 30 to 50 are prone to tennis elbow as their muscles become more fragile and sensitive with age(35).

Causes of Tennis Elbow

The primary cause of injuries such as tennis elbow is rooted in arm activity. When individuals do several activities repetitively, they may develop mild to immense pain in the elbow. 

Tennis elbow occurs when the arm is strained for too long. From the name itself, tennis elbow may arise after doing sports, such as tennis. 

When tennis elbow occurs, an arm muscle called extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle or ECRB muscle may be torn.

The ECRB muscle keeps the arm stable when in motion. During sports, the muscle may acquire tiny tears(36), especially when the individual fails to move their arm correctly.

Moreover, as individuals use their arms, muscles in the elbow naturally rub against the bone beside it, causing it to atrophy(37).

Other activities where tennis elbow may develop are as follows:

  • Playing badminton and other racket sports
  • Doing carpentry work, such as brushing and sawing
  • Playing musical instruments, like the violin

Studies suggest that individuals vary their arm movements when doing activities, so the arm muscles grind against the bone closest to them less frequently(38).

Besides sports, tennis elbow may develop depending on an individual’s age and daily activity.

Tennis elbow is more common among adults than children. Generally, children have healthier muscles than adults. Moreover, as individuals age, their muscles naturally degrade(39).

Treatments for Tennis Elbow

First aid for tennis elbow includes immediate rest and over-the-counter medication, such as analgesics. These methods may help tennis elbow go away fast.

According to research, the best pain relievers for tennis elbow are paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen(40).

Paracetamol, or acetaminophen, is a medication usually taken orally. It may help individuals with fever and headaches(41)

Meanwhile, NSAIDs come in oral and topical forms. To use NSAIDs topically, individuals may apply the product to the area in pain to relieve discomfort.

Topical NSAIDs are recommended for individuals with physical injuries. This form of medication focuses treatment on the affected area, which may reduce the risk of side effects from taking medication orally(42).

However, healthcare experts may recommend otherwise, depending on the individual’s needs.

Physical therapy may also help cure tennis elbow(43). This method may be helpful for individuals experiencing constant and severe pain. Physical therapy helps regulate blood flow in the muscles, thus reducing inflammation that causes pain.

Physical therapy for tennis elbow may range from body massage to physical exercise(44). Therapists may recommend exercise techniques that mobilize the arm correctly. These exercises may also strengthen muscles, reducing the possibility of tennis elbow recurring.

CBD vs. Traditional Anti-inflammatories or Painkillers

A study that identified the health benefits and side effects of CBD stated that individuals may exhibit overall improvement after taking CBD(45).

Unlike traditional anti-inflammatory medicine, CBD may affect individuals beyond pain management. A study published by the Royal College of General Practitioners showed that taking 40 to 300mg of CBD a day may help users avoid sleep issues and anxiety(46).

Individuals may experience overall wellness after taking CBD as the cannabinoid targets body systems, such as the nervous system, to reduce discomfort caused by various diseases(47).

However, research also suggested that CBD may not work on individuals with mild symptoms(48) and that further observation on the efficacy of CBD is necessary.

Both CBD and analgesics contain properties that aid in chronic pain.

Since CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, the compound may target other neurological conditions besides body pain.

CBD and traditional painkillers also differ in mode of administration. CBD products may come in oils, lotions, edibles, gummies, and powder that may be mixed with food, while analgesics usually come as oral medicine and topicals.

Therefore, individuals who prefer to take medication with their food may use CBD, as some CBD products also come in different flavors to fit individuals’ taste preferences.

A downside of CBD is that it may also exhibit side effects among its users, such as confusion and nausea(49)

Meanwhile, studies have shown that individuals who use analgesics regularly may develop tolerance to the drug(50), while no study has stated that CBD may cause drug tolerance(51).

Moreover, some individuals may be allergic to pain killers(52). This situation limits individuals’ medication choices.

Individuals allergic to analgesics may consider taking CBD as most CBD products contain natural ingredients derived from the cannabis plant.

Another disadvantage of CBD is that the cannabinoid’s presence in some drugs remains under the FDA’s substance control(53). This regulation may make CBD inaccessible in the market.

  1. Cannabidiol primer for healthcare professionals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340472/
  2. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis). https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis/
  3. Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425767/
  4. Tennis elbow. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tennis-elbow/symptoms-causes/syc-20351987
  5. An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia. https://journals.lww.com/pain/Fulltext/2019/04000/An_experimental_randomized_study_on_the_analgesic.11.aspx
  6. TRP Channel Cannabinoid Receptors in Skin Sensation, Homeostasis, and Inflammation. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/cn5000919
  7. Healing with CBD, page 18. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  8. Healing with CBD, page 46. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  9. The role of the endocannabinoid system in pain. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25846617/
  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. Does CBD help with arthritis pain? https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/does-cbd-help-with-arthritis-pain-2020041019418
  12. From an Alternative Medicine to a New Treatment for Refractory Epilepsies: Can Cannabidiol Follow the Same Path to Treat Neuropsychiatric Disorders?. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.638032/full
  13. Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26103030/
  14. Does CBD help with arthritis pain?
  15. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/
  16. The Biochemical Origin of Pain: The origin of all Pain is Inflammation and the Inflammatory Response. PART 2 of 3 –Inflammatory Profile of Pain Syndromes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2771434/
  17. The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Reducing Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
  18. What are the benefits of aromatherapy? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/aromatherapy/faq-20058566
  19. Advances in Nanoparticulate Drug Delivery Approaches for Sublingual and Buccal Administration
  20. Medical Fraud, Mislabeling, Contamination: All Common in CBD Products. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7723146/
  21. Cannabidiol
  22. Ibid.
  23. Cannabidiol primer for healthcare professionals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340472/
  24. The Pharmacological Case for Cannabigerol. https://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/376/2/204
  25. Cannabinol and Sleep: Separating Fact from Fiction. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2021.0006
  26. Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7120914/
  27. Cannabidiol primer for healthcare professionals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340472/
  28. Ibid.
  29. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis). https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis/
  30. Tendinitis
  31. Golfer’s elbow. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/golfers-elbow/symptoms-causes/syc-20372868
  32. Tennis elbow surgery. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007590.htm
  33. Tennis Elbow. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=P00925
  34. Muscle Stiffness
  35. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis). https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis/
  36. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis). https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis/
  37. Ibid.
  38. Tennis Elbow. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=P00925
  39. Muscle Weakness. https://patient.info/signs-symptoms/tiredness-fatigue/muscle-weakness
  40. Tennis elbow
  41. Paracetamol for adults
  42. Ibid.
  43. Lateral elbow tendinopathy: Evidence of physiotherapy management. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4990766/
  44. A Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program for Treating Lateral Elbow Tendinopathy
  45. Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7893882/
  46. Cannabidiol prescription in clinical practice: an audit on the first 400 patients in New Zealand
  47. Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5877694/
  48. Cannabidiol use and effectiveness: real-world evidence from a Canadian medical cannabis clinic. https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-021-00078-w
  49. Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26103030/
  50. Evolution of Analgesic Tolerance and Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia Over 6 Months: Double-Blind Randomized Trial Incorporating Experimental Pain Models. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32006699/
  51. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/
  52. Allergic reactions to aspirin and other pain killers. https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/drug-allergy/allergic-reactions-to-aspirin-and-other-pain-killers
  53. FDA and Cannabis: Research and Drug Approval Process. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-and-cannabis-research-and-drug-approval-process


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