Thinking about using CBD oil for pain, but not yet sure whether it’s right for you? There are a lot of things to keep in mind.
In this article, we’re giving you a comprehensive breakdown of the pros and cons of CBD oil for pain so you can make a decision that you’re confident about — whether you end up using CBD or not.
Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Pain: Key Points
PROS of CBD oil for pain:
- Has therapeutic potential for pain
- Can be used in many different ways
- Has fewer side effects than opioids and NSAIDs
CONS of CBD oil for pain:
- Isn’t FDA-approved to treat pain
- May be costly compared to other options
- May interact with some prescriptions
How CBD Works for Pain
The ECS is a transmitter system in your body that’s designed to keep your bodily processes in a state of homeostasis, or balance.
Science shows that CBD works for pain by increasing your levels of anandamide, a neurotransmitter in your ECS that’s associated with reduced pain sensations.
It’s worth noting that more investigation into CBD is needed before we can be sure that it’s a reliable painkiller.
However, the scientific research we have so far, as well as anecdotal evidence, suggests that CBD can render significant benefits for those dealing with various forms of pain.
Pros of Using CBD Oil for Pain
Let’s start off by discussing reasons why CBD oil can be beneficial if you’re dealing with pain.
1. CBD Has Research-Backed Benefits for Pain & Inflammation
As you just learned, research has shown that CBD is beneficial for certain types of chronic pain (as well as acute conditions). Personally, we’ve had customers find great results with CBD for tooth pain, gout, joint pain, tendonitis, arthritis, sciatica, and neuropathic pain, among other things.
2. CBD Is a Healthy Alternative to Opioids and NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Etc.)
Most prescription painkillers are very effective. However, many of these drugs have nasty side effects.
For example, side effects of oxycodone, a common pain-killer opioid, include constipation, sexual problems, swelling, nausea, vomiting, sweating, itching, and sleepiness.
Long-term opioid use can cause breathing problems, immunosuppression, constipation and bowel obstruction, fractures, and tooth decay — among other things.
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, an example being ibuprofen) also have negative side effects. Long-term side effects of NSAID use include heart attack, stroke, and kidney problems.
We could go on all day. We don’t talk about these side effects to scare you, but rather to illustrate the problems that may occur if you have to use opioids or NSAIDs for extended periods of time.
By contrast, CBD use has no long-term side effects, and the short-term side effects (nausea, dry mouth, drowsiness, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and fatigue) are relatively minor in comparison to those of prescription drugs.
3. There are Multiple Ways to Use CBD
Taking CBD is seamless because there are so many ways you can do it. For instance, CBD oil is easy to dose precisely, while CBD gummies taste great. Water-soluble CBD can be added to drinks, allowing you to get your daily dose while enjoying tea, lemonade, or coffee.
So many types of CBD products mean it’s easy to get what you need out of a product.
4. CBD Won’t Get You High
One concern that many people have when exploring CBD as an option is that it will get them high.
Thankfully, this isn’t the case. Unlike cannabinoids such as delta 8 and delta 9, which are also commonly used for pain, CBD is not psychoactive. Even full-spectrum CBD, which contains small amounts of THC, will not get you high.
5. Many CBD Products Contain Healthy Ingredients
Not only are natural, hemp-derived cannabinoids good for your body — many CBD products contain other beneficial ingredients, too.
For example, many CBD oils are made with a hempseed oil base. Hempseed oil has a variety of benefits for cardiovascular health, inflammation reduction, and skin health.
Additionally, many full-spectrum CBD blends contain terpenes, compounds that naturally occur in the hemp plant. Some of the benefits of common terpenes include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
6. CBD Provides Mood Support, Too
If you’re dealing with pain, you might also want something to lift your mood. CBD may be able to help here, too — anecdotal evidence suggests CBD can promote feelings of calm, relaxation, and positivity.
You won’t find weak, ineffective, or dangerous products here. Only high-strength, American-made CBD products that have been 3rd-party lab tested. You deserve better.
Cons of Using CBD Oil for Pain
Though CBD has many potential benefits for pain, there are some drawbacks to consider, too.
1. More Research on CBD is Needed
CBD hasn’t been researched to the extent that doctors and scientists can guarantee its ability to address pain or reduce inflammation.
As a result, CBD isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a painkiller. Also, we don’t always know when CBD is the right choice versus when it isn’t.
If you’re planning to use CBD in lieu of any prescriptions you’re already taking, consult with your doctor beforehand.
2. The CBD Industry Is Only Lightly Regulated
For the most part, the US government doesn’t regulate the production of hemp products.
Because of this, there is a lot of bad-quality CBD out there. This makes finding and buying CBD a bit tedious at times.
3. CBD Can Be Costly Compared to Other Options
Generic ibuprofen costs $10-20 for a bottle of 30 standard-strength tablets. Compare this to CBD oil, which can cost $50-60 or more per bottle, and depending on the dose you take, will last roughly as long as the ibuprofen.
With CBD products, you get what you pay for — if you want a good-quality CBD oil, you’re going to have to spend more than if you opted for ibuprofen or something similar.
4. CBD Isn’t Legal in Every Country
CBD is federally legal in the US per the 2018 Farm Bill. However, its legality varies in other countries, so you may not be able to use it while traveling (at least not legally).
5. CBD May Interact with Some Prescription Medicines
CBD by itself is safe, but it can interfere negatively with other medicines you’re taking. CBD can inhibit certain enzymes in the liver from metabolizing other drugs you’re taking, potentially leading to toxic buildup.
This applies to opioids, various over-the-counter meds, blood pressure meds, and more. When in doubt, check with your doctor before taking CBD if you’re using prescription medicines.
CBD Oil Buying Tips
Since the CBD industry is largely unregulated, you have to get smart in order to find high-quality products. Here are a few tips:
Read 3rd-Party Lab Reports
CBD companies typically have their products lab tested by 3rd-party companies to ensure potency and safety standards are met.
If the company you’re looking at doesn’t have lab reports, don’t buy from them.
If they do, check the report to ensure the product contains the amount of CBD it claims to, and doesn’t contain any contaminants.
Opt for Full-Spectrum CBD with Terpenes
In addition to CBD, full-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBC, CBN, and a bit of THC, as well as terpenes. In other words, full-spectrum CBD is the cannabis plant in its natural form.
When you take a product that contains a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes together, you get amplified benefits — this is known as the entourage effect. This is especially beneficial if you’re taking CBD to address pain.
This one is a no-brainer — if other people aren’t finding a CBD product to be good quality and helpful for their situation, it probably isn’t the right choice for you, either.
Conclusion: Is CBD Worth Using for Pain?
Given you’re not already taking prescriptions that CBD would interact with, CBD may very well be the right choice.
If you’re seeing a doctor for pain, be sure to ask them before you begin taking CBD. Even if you’re not using prescriptions, they might have suggestions for how to best use CBD.
And lastly, remember that getting results with CBD takes some experimentation. Start out with a small dose, and then adjust from there (feel free to check out our CBD dosage chart and guide).
Need more options? Check our guide to CBN vs. CBG for pain.
CBD Oil & Pain: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions we commonly get about CBD oil for pain.
What is the downside of CBD oil?
CBD is generally well-tolerated and safe. However, it may cause adverse side effects such as dry mouth, reduced appetite, drowsiness, fatigue, and diarrhea. CBD may also interact with any medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Does CBD oil really help stop inflammation and pain?
Research suggests that CBD oil may exert anti-inflammatory and pain-killing effects. Studies generally show that CBD is a promising treatment for chronic pain and other forms of pain. However, more clinical evidence is needed before CBD can be regarded as a reliable painkiller and anti-inflammatory.
How long does it take for CBD to stop pain?
The amount of time CBD takes to begin working depends on the type of product you use. CBD edibles and capsules take 45 minutes to one hour to begin working, whereas CBD oil and CBD topicals take just 10-20 minutes to begin working.
Does CBD oil reduce arthritis or pain?
Research suggests that CBD oil may be an effective way to manage pain, including arthritis-related pain. However, as of yet, there isn’t enough clinical evidence to know if CBD is as reliable as prescription drugs at reducing pain.