• There are direct studies linking cannabidiol (CBD) to pain. The combination of CBD and THC may help relieve chronic pain and other disorders caused by glycine receptor (GlyR) dysfunction(1).
  • Unlike marijuana, cannabidiol is a nonpsychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It has the potential of having pain-relieving properties(2).
  • Combining cannabidiol with THC has shown to be helpful in the treatment of chronic pain(3). These agents may still be declared safe and valuable in the treatment of chronic pain associated with multiple conditions(4).
  • Taking CBD pills for pain relief is a practical way to consume the nonpsychoactive cannabis plant compound. Individuals may take CBD pills instead of tinctures or CBD oil for those who are not a fan of CBD’s natural grassy flavor.

How CBD Pills May Help With Pain

CBD works by attaching to non-cannabinoid receptors in the brain. The compound affects anxiety, hunger, sleep, pain perception, and mood by directly activating the serotonin 5HT1A receptor(5).  

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is crucial for pain perception regulation(6).

The ECS maintains body homeostasis or balance and is composed of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), enzymes, and endocannabinoids.

Cannabinoids are a family of compounds with a wide variety of biological targets. They can be divided into synthetic cannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and endocannabinoids(7).

Plant-based cannabinoids like CBD and THC may mimic the actions of endocannabinoids and thus interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

CB1 receptors are present in the central and peripheral neurological systems. In contrast, CB2 receptors are found primarily in the immune system cells(8).

The CB1 and CB2 receptors play a critical role in regulating neurotransmission and the central nervous system’s immune cells(9).

The ECS works peripherally to reduce pain and inflammation, using CB1 and CB2 to control dermatitis(10).

Thus, studies on mice suggest that peripheral CB1 receptors play a role in pain nociception(11).

In humans, the endocannabinoid system is composed of cannabinoid receptors that interact with cannabinoids that the body produces. This system has several functions in the body that regulate metabolism and hunger, mood and anxiety, and pain perception(12).

Due to the chronic nature of pain, cannabidiol has potential benefits for pain management(13).

The main components of whole-plant cannabis are cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids. While there are over 100 different cannabinoids in the plant, the two major components are THC and CBD(14).

The primary psychoactive component of the plant is THC, while the nonpsychoactive element is CBD(15)

Preclinical and clinical research showed that CBD may help relieve chronic pain from various diseases(16).

Although there is limited research on the effects of CBD, there are hypotheses that the compound may provide anti-inflammatory properties that may help manage pain-related medical issues(17).

 Benefits of CBD Pills: Why Try CBD Pills for Pain

Animal studies showed various CBD interactions and regulation of the endocannabinoid, inflammatory, and nociceptive (pain-sensing) systems(18)

Cannabis or medical marijuana has become an alternative to traditional painkillers(19).

Unlike marijuana, CBD, a natural compound in cannabis plants, is a nonpsychoactive compound in cannabinoids that may have potential health benefits in managing pain(20)

The quantity of THC and CBD extracts in the plant reflects the effects of various cannabis strains(21). The effect may improve the safety and tolerability of cannabinoids and reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. 

Although CBD is untested in clinical trials for pain management, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties and low toxicity profile point to its potential as an analgesic(22).

Another research found that combining cannabidiol and THC may be helpful in the treatment of chronic pain. A class of cannabinoids has the potential to treat chronic pain and other conditions caused by GlyR dysfunction. Although treatments may still be proven to be safe and helpful(23).

Ionotropic glycine receptors are key components of the brainstem and spinal cord. These channels enable fast synaptic transmission in the adult brain(24).

Individuals with GlyR dysfunction experience various forms of neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by muscle stiffness, spasms, and exaggerated startle(25).

CBD for Chronic Pain

In one of the animal studies, it was observed that nonpsychoactive cannabidiol may potentiate glycine receptors. These receptors are essential for nociceptive regulation in the spinal region(26)

Nociception is a physiological process that occurs when a person experiences noxious stimuli. It helps protect the body’s tissues from potential damage(27).

The study showed that cannabidiol may suppress chronic pain without causing observable analgesic tolerance in rodents.

Certain nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), may potentiate glycinergic receptors (GlyRs) in the dorsal horn neurons in rats. The analgesia is not linked to the binding affinity of CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Meanwhile, researchers noted that CBD’s potential benefits were not just psychological in another study(28). The research indicated that CBD also has pharmacological effects.

In the same study, 15 healthy individuals were given a placebo or CBD oil to record their pain perceptions involving intense heat. Participants who received a placebo were told that they received CBD. This group reported that pain was not completely eliminated. However, the unpleasant sensations felt less bothersome.

Thus, there is potential in exploring CBD’s effects on pain perception in individuals with various pain conditions.

CBD for Migraine Pain

Current research on the effects of CBD combined with THC in treating migraines is limited. According to 2017 research, combining the two primary cannabinoids may help reduce the discomfort associated with migraines(29).

The study focused on THC and CBD. Many cannabis strains have different cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, strain characteristics, and other components that produce benefits and side effects(30).

The knowledge of individual cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids is required to cross-breed strains for the best standardized synergistic combinations. These combinations allow for targeted migraine, headaches, and pain treatment.

In conclusion, the study showed that cannabinoids may help treat various conditions, such as chronic pain and migraines(31)

CBD for Arthritis Pain

One animal study involving the use of CBD in rats with arthritis suggested that topical CBD had therapeutic potential for arthritic pain reduction and inflammation without apparent side effects(32).

Aside from its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving potential, cannabidiol (CBD), as some studies have shown, may decrease the pain response in mice with acute arthritis conditions. These findings have raised the possibility of the use of CBD in treating human musculoskeletal diseases(33).

CBD for Gallbladder Pain

Biliary colic, pain due to stone obstruction in the common bile duct, is the most common symptom of gallbladder illness and may last for many days(34). Some individuals may have occasional stomach discomfort and upper back pain due to this disease(35).

In addition to its influence on overall health, the gut microbiome impacts immunity. It is involved in regulating bacterial growth and development(36)

The cannabidiol (CBD) compound showed significant results to help relieve pain(37), manage metabolic disorders(38), and maintain the integrity of the intestinal barrier(39).

Additionally, leaky gut, discomfort, and inflammation-related gastrointestinal conditions are symptoms CBD may help ease. CBD’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate these gallbladder pain-related symptoms.

Efficacy of CBD Capsules for Pain

CBD derivatives and forms have varying usage rules depending on the state(40).

Systematic research was performed to identify studies investigating the use of cannabidiol in adults(41).

Varying doses, dosage schemes, and effects were studied. These assessments noted that cannabinoids may have therapeutic effects for various disorders, including neuropathic pain(42).

In the same study, CBD oral capsules at doses ranging from 0mg to 250mg daily for 10 weeks may be effective for the symptomatic treatment of ulcerative colitis(43).

However, a 1:1 THCCBD combination drug has been licensed by Health Canada for some forms of pain, including central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis (MS) and cancer pain resistant to optimal opioid therapy(44)

Currently, no high-quality evidence supports CBD alone to relieve pain. However, studies linking cannabinoids in clinical trials suggest that CBD as a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid may suppress pain without harmful side effects(45).

How to Use CBD Pills for Pain

There are many ways to administer CBD quality products, such as CBD gummies (oral), creams and lotions (skin application), oil (sublingual), tinctures (sublingual), and pills (oral). 

To take CBD pills, individuals may use a pop-bottle technique. This method is intended for the ingestion of pills. It recommends that the user fill a soda bottle halfway with water(46).

Opening the capsules and mixing the contents into meals or drinks, for example, is another way of using CBD pills.

Dosage: How Many CBD Pills Should Be Taken for Pain?

The strength of the CBD dose may vary based on an individual’s activity level, food, daily stress level, sleep habits, and genetics(47)

Since CBD dosage recommendations vary, the appropriate beginning dose may be determined by combining the patient’s weight with the recommended starting dose. For example, up to 20mg microdoses of CBD once a day through oral administration(48).

CBD dosage continues to be a topic of ongoing investigations. More high-quality studies with various groups are required to define optimum dose, effectiveness, and safety recommendations for CBD use.

More importantly, it is essential to contact a healthcare provider with extensive expertise in administering CBD to find the optimal dose.

Side Effects of CBD Capsules for Pain

As a result of its findings, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that CBD is usually safe and well-accepted by the body, has a good safety profile, and has no threat of being abused(49).

Though it is commonly well tolerated, CBD may still cause various side effects, such as(50):

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue 
  • Reduced appetite

For the consumer’s wellness, seek medical advice from a doctor before taking over-the-counter CBD pills, mainly if consumers are using any drugs or nutritional supplements

CBD may have substantial pharmacological interactions, particularly with drugs labeled with a grapefruit warning(51).

Can CBD Use Make Individuals High?

Cannabidiol, in contrast to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the other prominent compound in cannabis, is not psychoactive and does not produce the “high” or psychoactive effect that is associated with cannabis use(52).

Comparison of CBD Capsules With CBD Oils and Gummies

Here are the things to know about CBD products in CBD softgels, capsules, oil, and gummies for consumers’ awareness

CBD Capsules

Various factors affect whether CBD capsules are best for an individual, such as the individual’s preference. Thus, it is difficult to claim which method is the best for the consumers.

Aside from being easy to take, capsules are also more portable than CBD oil. They can be used for various reasons, such as convenience and portability. Capsules are safe to use as they do not contain chemicals or leaking bottles.

Taste is also a crucial factor in deciding which type of oil or capsules to buy. While others dislike the bitter taste of CBD oil, others prefer milder ones.

Nevertheless, the amount of CBD in each capsule is controlled. The user can select the milligram (mg) of CBD pills they can take. Typically, there is a recommended dosage on the product label.

Consumers may want to choose a well-reviewed CBD softgel capsule brand. Keep in mind that if these capsules contain gelatin, they are not suitable for vegans. 

Based on origin, capsule shells may be classified as vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Vegan capsule shells are made from HPMC or starch instead of gelatin(53).

Another alternative is to use a CBD product that may include melatonin, like Medterra CBD gel capsules. 

Consumers may check how melatonin, which has been found to induce relaxation and, when combined with CBD, may assist in getting a good night’s sleep. 

However, the consumers should use discretion and research the company’s reputation in marketing quality CBD products.


Most individuals confuse CBD oil with other CBD products. Oils and tinctures are often packaged in dropper bottles, with just the product’s total liquid volume and CBD concentration indicated on the label.

CBD oil consumption may be confusing, especially for first-time users, since many CBD products include several cannabinoids not limited to cannabidiol. Most CBD oil for medicinal and health uses comes from hemp plants instead of marijuana(54). Cannabinoid content distinguishes CBD oils.

There are three main CBD oil types: CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD oil, and broad-spectrum CBD oil.

The main difference between broad-spectrum extract, full-spectrum hemp extract, and CBD isolate is how much of each chemical compound (CBD and THC) is in these types.

Full-spectrum CBD oil, whether or not it is from organically grown hemp extracts, includes all cannabinoids and other plant components(55)

Broad-spectrum CBD  comprises all cannabinoids and plant components except THC.

Meanwhile, CBD isolate is a pure CBD product that contains CBD only and is commonly sold as a crystal or a powder.

CBD isolate is extracted using the same process as other forms of CBD. After the cannabinoids are extracted, they are filtered out.

CBD Gummies

Edibles like CBD gummies are gaining popularity as a convenient and effective method to consume hemp oil. 

When purchasing CBD oil, gummies, or pills, verify each product’s total active cannabidiol (CBD) quantity. The label will state the amount of active CBD in the product.

Next, check the CBD number of servings in the package. Reputable CBD firms and brands always explicitly indicate the CBD content.

CBD capsules are intended to offer a consistent dosage of cannabidiol. On the other hand, gummies are digested by the body’s enzymes(56).

Tips for Buying the Best CBD Pills

Here are valuable tips for beginners seeking the best types of CBD brands when it comes to pills and capsules:

  • Whether CBD brands of pills are chosen, ensure that these products are made using organic ingredients that the USDA has authorized. 

It is possible to determine the potency and purity of the oil by inspecting the certificate of analysis (COA). If a third-party lab has examined the product, it should provide a certificate of analysis.

  • CBD products should pass safety inspections to ensure that they are genuinely non-GMO, gluten-free, and contain no heavy metals, pesticides, or molds.
  • It is strongly advised that consumers purchase organic hemp plant extracts rather than synthetic ones. The extraction process may be accomplished using a variety of extraction processes, including steam distillation or the use of ethanol, carbon dioxide, and natural solvents.
  • Some consumers may appreciate the brand’s use of efficient and eco-friendly CO2 extraction methods to ensure the quality of the CBD brands.
  • It is imperative to remember that “hemp oil” and “hemp seed oil” are not interchangeable. Although it includes minerals and fatty acids, hempseed oil does not have the same qualities as full-spectrum cannabidiol.
  • It is possible to get CBD supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids, often advertised to aid individuals in reducing stress and getting deep, restful sleep. Marketers can sell these products as CBD tinctures, capsules, or soft gels intended for oral use.

Consumers may prefer CBD products that utilize the entourage effect to get the full benefits of the CBD pill. The entourage effect hypothesis states that cannabinoids interact with each other to increase the effects of the CBD(57).

Many companies may claim that they have the best CBD capsules. Some brands, like Joy Organics, may promote their full-spectrum product line. However, consumers may check the CBD brand claims and whether these products are third-party tested, organic, and have existing consumer reviews.

Likewise, consumers may also look for a CBD brand with manufacturers that have years of experience in the various phases of the hemp production process, like Colorado Botanicals. Based on reviews, customers may check how this company stayed in business and its reputation.

Aside from CBD pills, consumers may want to consider other CBD-derived products such as CBD oil, vapes, tinctures, gummies, creams, and lotions. 

Nonetheless, consulting a healthcare specialist with expertise in CBD usage may be the best course of action before consumers decide to take any CBD pills


The only CBD product authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is Epidiolex, available only by prescription. It has been approved to treat two kinds of epilepsy. 

However, the issue with using CBD is that its purity and dosage can be imprecise. 

The FDA has issued warning letters to individuals and companies selling unauthorized drugs that contain cannabidiol. The agency tested the chemical content of the compounds in some of the CBD products(58)

The FDA’s warning letters indicated that the violators disobeyed the Federal Food, Drugs, and Consumer Protection Act by engaging in interstate commerce and marketing these products for medical use.

The 2018 Farm Bill allows the marketing of CBD products with less than 0.3% THC in the U.S. The bill protected the FDA’s authority over hemp-derived goods. 

As a result, hemp products must comply with all relevant FDA criteria and standards. However, each state has laws regulating the amount of THC allowed in the territory(59).

  1. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine Receptors
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain
  5. Healing with CBD pg 104
  6. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain
  7. Cannabinoids
  8. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. CBD for chronic pain: The science doesn’t match the marketing
  13. A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain
  14. Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals
  15. Ibid
  16. A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain
  17. Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol
  18. CBD for chronic pain: The science doesn’t match the marketing
  19. Trends in Opioid Use, Harms, and Treatment
  20. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine Receptors
  21. Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules
  22. Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules
  23. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine Receptors
  24. Impaired Glycine Receptor Trafficking in Neurological Diseases
  25. Glycine Receptor Autoantibodies Impair Receptor Function and Induce Motor Dysfunction
  26. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors
  27. Nociception
  28. CBD: How Much Pain Relief Is Real and How Much Is Placebo?
  29. Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis, and Benefits in Migraine, Headache, and Pain: An Update on Current Evidence and Cannabis Science
  30. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis
  31. Ibid.
  32. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis
  33. Ibid.
  34. Gallbladder Disease
  35. Ibid.
  36. Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals
  37. Acute changes in cerebral blood flow after smoking marijuana
  38. Endocannabinoid Binding to the Cannabinoid Receptors: What Is Known and What Remains Unknown
  39. Metabolic syndrome and gallstone disease
  40. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)
  41. Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials
  42. Ibid.
  43. Ibid.
  44. Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids
  45. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine Receptors
  46. Two tricks to make it easier to swallow pills
  47. CBD Dosing
  49. Cannabinoid (CBD) Pre-Review Report, page 14.
  50.  What Are the Benefits of CBD – And Is It Safe to Use?
  51. Grapefruit–medication interactions: Forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences?
  52. Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on Individuals
  53. Are your capsules vegetarian or nonvegetarian: An ethical and scientific justification
  54. Hemp & Cannabidiol: What is a Medicine?
  55. Quality Traits of “Cannabidiol Oils”: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations
  56. Bioequivalence Studies of Vitamin D Gummies and Tablets in Healthy Adults: Results of a Cross-Over Study
  57. The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders
  58. FDA warns 15 companies for illegally selling various products containing cannabidiol as agency details safety concerns
  59. Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill
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