• CBD (cannabidiol) is an active component in marijuana. Despite CBD being a crucial element of marijuana, it is mainly derived from hemp plants(1). The part of hemp plants that contain the most cannabidiol is the flowers, hemp buds, and stalks. 
  • CBD oil and hemp oil are often misconstrued for the same thing. The difference between the two oils is that hemp oil contains little to no CBD. Meanwhile, CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the flowers and leaves of hemp plants.
  • CBD interacts with the ECS and its cannabinoid receptors. This interaction may produce anti-pain (analgesic) and anti-inflammatory effects(2).
  • However, further research on CBD oil and its effectiveness in pain is needed. It is best to talk to a physician experienced in cannabis use before taking CBD for a medical condition.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is created by infusing CBD extracts with a carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil, or hemp oil(3).

Where Does CBD Come From?

Cannabidiol is an active ingredient in marijuana or cannabis plants. While CBD is a vital component of medical cannabis, cannabidiol is procured directly from the hemp plant, a family member of marijuana, or synthetically manufactured in a lab(4).

The part of the hemp plant that possesses or makes the most CBD is the flowers, hemp buds, leaves, and stalks. 

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil: What Is the Difference?

Individuals often mistake CBD oil and hemp oil for the same product. However, these two oils have significant differences. 

Hemp oil possesses little to no CBD content and is made by pressing hemp seeds into carrier oils. Meanwhile, CBD oil is made by extracting cannabidiol from the hemp plant’s flowers, stalks, leaves, and buds.

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to maintain homeostasis or balance(5)

Homeostasis is the process living things use to regulate stable conditions needed for survival(6).  

The ECS comprises different essential components, such as the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2(7).

These receptors assist in modulating various bodily functions, such as eating, sleeping, pain control, and inflammatory and immune responses(8).

CB1 receptors are primarily located in the CNE (central nervous system). These receptors are responsible for pain regulation. Meanwhile, CB2 receptors found in the tissues and cells in the immune system trigger the body’s anti-inflammatory response(9)

These receptors may produce anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects when they interact with CBD(10)

Benefits of CBD

Researchers have hypothesized that CBD may have positive effects, such as analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that may aid in managing chronic pain and improve users’ quality of life(11).

Moreover, the compound’s purported anti-inflammatory effects show CBD as a promising alternative for dealing with different types of pain(12).

Other benefits of CBD may include reducing pain linked to the following medical conditions(13):

  • Arthritis
  • Inflammation
  • Migraines
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cancer

Animal-Based Research of CBD Oil for Pain

A study on rat models with arthritis examined the effects of CBD transdermal gel(14).

The result of the study discussed that 6.2 to 62 milligrams (mg) of CBD dose every day may reduce arthritis pain and deliver anti-inflammatory effects without causing any significant side effects. 

Moreover, a 2021 systematic review investigated the efficacy of cannabinoids and cannabis-based drugs on pain-associated behaviors in animal models with persistent pain due to injuries. 

The researchers indicated that cannabidiol may have reduced pain-associated behaviors in animal models with neuropathic pain. However, the compound produced varied results in inflammatory pain models(15).

The said animal studies on the benefits of cannabidiol may sound promising. However, due to the inconclusive evidence, additional research on the effects of CBD on humans is required. 

How to Use CBD Oil for Pain

The most common methods to use CBD oil are(16):

  • Ingestion
  • Sublingual (under the tongue)
  • Topical absorption
  • Inhalation 

Ingesting CBD edibles like gummies and chews works by delivering the compound directly to the user’s gastrointestinal tract before the compound is taken in by the liver(17)

Individuals may also take CBD oil through sublingual administration using tinctures. Users may apply a few CBD oil drops under their tongue and then swallow after a few minutes.  

Holding the compound under the tongue allows the mucous membranes under the mouth to absorb the CBD oil. 

Users may also topically apply CBD products like creams, lotions, balms, and salves for localized pain relief(18)

Lastly, individuals may inhale or vape CBD. This method is the fastest way to feel the effects of the compound due to its immediate passage into the bloodstream(19).  

However, vaping may cause severe pulmonary diseases, so caution is advised(20).

It is best to talk to a doctor before using any CBD product for any medical conditions.

CBD Dosage for Pain

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not certified the use of CBD as a medical treatment for pain. Thus, there is no standard dosage of CBD for the health issue.  

However, several factors like the user’s stress levels, genetics, health conditions, diet, and exercise may influence CBD dosages(21).

Moreover, one study suggested that humans may tolerate approximately 1,500 mg of CBD per day(22).

Lastly, for individuals who are considering trying CBD for the first time, it may be best to start with a lower dosage(23).

Clinical studies suggest that 10mg of CBD every day is an optimal starting point when using CBD products. However, if the product contains THC, one should consider starting at a lower dose of 1 to 2.5mg(24).

Safeness of CBD Oil

According to a review from the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD possesses a good safety profile and is well tolerated by the body(25)

Consulting a doctor or medical health professional before taking any CBD products is vital. 

Risks and Side Effects of CBD Oil

Currently, there is no clinical research on CBD’s potential risk when used for pain. 

However, in general, CBD may yield minor side effects like(26):

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue 
  • Appetite loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth

Individuals are advised to speak to their physician or a medical health provider before taking any CBD oil product for pain or related conditions.

Legality of CBD

The approval of the 2018 Farm Bill declared CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC federally legal in the United States(27)

Still, it is vital to verify state laws before buying and traveling with CBD products to avoid legal ramifications.

  1. Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don’t
  2. CBD oil: What is it and how does it work?
  3. Healing with CBD page 205
  4. Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don’t
  5. Page 103 of Healing With CBD
  6. The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator
  7. An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system
  8. The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious
  9. Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules
  10. CBD oil: What is it and how does it work?
  11. A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain
  12. page 167 of Healing With CBD
  13. page 167-168 of Healing With CBD
  14. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis
  15. Systematic review and meta-analysis of cannabinoids, cannabis-based medicines, and endocannabinoid system modulators tested for antinociceptive effects in animal models of injury-related or pathological persistent pain
  16. Healing With CBD, page 189.
  17. Healing With CBD, pages 202-203.
  18. Healing with CBD. page. 210.
  19. Best way to take CBD
  20. Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products
  21. CBD dosing
  22. Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa Constituent
  23. CBD dosing
  24. Page 218 of Healing With CBD
  25. Cannabinoid (CBD) Pre-Review Report, page 14.
  26. What Are the Benefits of CBD – And Is It Safe to Use?
  27. Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill
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