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Does CBD oil work for pain relief?

Man on floor in pain

Does CBD oil work for pain relief?

What do we know?

Cannabidiol, CBD for short, is a popular new supplement that’s made its way into the spotlight with its claims to help with a variety of conditions including pain relief, anxiety and skin conditions. It’s available in a wide range of products, from oils to lotions and balms. But does it work?

CBD is a type of cannabinoid that’s a natural chemical found in the Cannabis plants. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is also one of the chemicals found in Cannabis plants (specifically the Marijuana plant) that causes a high. The main difference between these chemicals is that THC creates physiological effects (resulting in a ‘high’), unlike CBD. 

Despite the different characteristics, both of these chemicals act on the body’s natural endocannabinoid system. The ECS system plays a significant part in natural bodily processes, including appetite, pain and memory.

Across the world, many people are trying out CBD products to treat chronic pain, inflammation and general discomfort from medical conditions. Still, the scientific evidence surrounding CBD use for this purpose is very thin. This is mainly due to the politics surrounding Cannabis, which restricted the farming and use of hemp-derived products for many years, and therefore limited the research about this product.

Having said that, the research that is being carried out at the moment is very promising, and there are even a few CBD products currently being prescribed by GPs for medical conditions such as epilepsy, so hopefully, soon there will be CBD medication for pain relief available from the GP.


Why is CBD being chosen over prescription pain relief?

Cannabidiol is a popular alternative compared to prescription pain relief (such as opioids) for people who have chronic pain and have become reliant upon those habit-forming medications.

Even though more research is required to verify the pain-relieving properties of CBD, it’s clear to see that patients are benefiting from trying these CBD products.

CBD is gradually becoming a ‘quick-fix’ for many medical conditions and symptoms for anything from psoriasis through to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It seems to be becoming the medical industries ‘shining star’ which has seen researchers jump at the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how this product is helping people.

There currently isn’t a great deal of information on clinical trials about CBD for pain relief on humans, but non-harmful pre-clinical tests are being carried out on animals, for example, animals with painful arthritis.

These studies have shown that CBD reduces pain and inflammation and has very few side effects.

Laboratory equipment all glass beakers and test tubes

How does CBD help with pain relief? How does it work?

For thousands of years, people have been using CBD as a natural remedy for pain relief.

Still, the medical community have only recently begun studying its benefits and how it works in-depth!

CBD reacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in our brain and immune system (the tiny proteins attached to our cells). These receptors receive chemical signals and respond by creating anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects that aid with the management of pain.

The current theory that the endocannabinoid system has two cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.

CB1 receptors are in the brain and are believed to be associated with cognitive actions including mood, memory, thinking and our appetite. In contrast, the CB2 receptors can be found in the immune system and are responsible for how the body reacts to pain and inflammation. 

THC attaches to the CB1 receptors (which explains why using THC rich marijuana can affect behaviour and appetite).

In contrast, CBD creates a positive effect of the CB2 receptors whereby the body is enticed to generate more of its own cannabinoids.

This is how CBD is believed to work, but more research is being carried out to ensure that this is entirely accurate.

Science picture close up of single Cell receptor

What kind of pain relief can CBD help with?

CBD Oil tincture and Hemp leaves on wooden chopping board

It is said that CBD oil and CBD infused products can help with arthritis pain relief, symptoms surrounding cancer treatment and migraine pain relief.

For arthritis pain, it’s advised that a topical CBD-infused product is used and applied directly to the skin where the arthritis is causing pain.

Researchers have tried this method of treatment on rats with arthritis for four days and noticed a significant decrease in inflammation without any side effects.

This test, so far, has only been carried out on animals, so more research needs to take place to see if it is as effective on humans.

However, with most topicals designed to help with arthritis pain, it’s a case of trying products to see if they work for you and whether you like the product.

We have a guide to CBD topicals, balms and lotions is coming soon.

Different shaped pills on black back ground

There have been case studies that have shown people with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) trying CBD oil to help reduce the pain felt during muscle spasms.

Muscle spasms are one of the most common symptoms of MS and can cause extreme pain.

MS patients that have tried CBD oils have sometimes reported a reduction in the frequency of their spasms as well as pain relief, but these results are modest and haven’t got scientific verification yet, we are mid trials.

There have been reports that CBD and CBD oils have been helping cancer patients reduced the pain from their cancer treatments.

Research has also been carried out on animals to see whether CBD can shrink cancerous tumours, which was successful on some of these animals.

Still, there currently isn’t enough research to see this success with tumours in humans. However, many researchers have begun to test how CBD can help ease the pain related to cancer treatment.

Decorative banner made of Hemp Leaf

Are there any side effects when taking CBD oil for pain relief?

As with most medications, there are a few side effects that can occur in some people, but usually, most people tolerate CBD oil well.

The most popular side effects are believed to be tiredness, diarrhoea, lack of appetite and weight gain or weight loss.

Medicines Brightly coloured capsules and pills


Although there currently isn’t a lot of research and conclusive data to support CBD oil and CBD infused products for pain relief, it’s agreed that these products have a lot of potentials. There are several CBD products to try when it comes to pain relief, and it all depends on where the pain is. For arthritis, we would recommend trying a CBD Oral Drops, or CBD infused lotion or balm that can be applied topically to the area of discomfort. In contrast, CBD capsules and oils may be better for pain related to cancer treatments.

Decorative banner made of Hemp Leaf

For advice and guidance about which CBD products could be best to help relieve pain, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or call us on 01344 203010.

How does the EndoCannabinoid system work in our bodies? see our article ‘How does CBD Work’