CBD Oil for Pain: 4 Techniques That Others Don’t Mention

CBD Oil for Pain At a Glance

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become synonymous with a “magic pill” that provides a panacea of benefits and pain management is one of the purported benefits.

There is sufficient scientific and anecdotal evidence to suggest this is true.

CBD oil supports pain management for chronic pain, headaches / migraines, pain associated with cancer, symptoms of arthritis, and back pain.

Each type of pain requires a specific dosage and administration method. We will discuss how to use CBD oil for pain, the experiences of others, and how to get started.

How Does CBD Oil Treat Pain?

The primary mechanism that CBD oil treats pain is the endocannabinoid system (the receptors in our brain and body that respond to things like cannabidiol).

Numerous studies point to CBD oil as a valuable tool for treating multiple types of pain including both acute and chronic pain (a combination which is rare) [1].

Chronic pain is often caused by chronic inflammation. One of the valuable effects of CBD oil is as an anti-inflammatory [2].

Here is a short 5 minute clip of Joe Rogan discussing his experience with CBD oil for pain:

CBD Oil for Pain via Anti-Inflammation

A 2010 study in the journal Future Medicinal Chemistry analyzed the value of cannabinoids as a “novel anti-inflammatory drug” [3].

Arthritis is a common symptom of chronic inflammation and CBD oil can alleviate this type of pain. A study in rats showed that transdermal CBD (explained below) reduced pain and swelling [4].

People who suffer from arthritis or chronic joint pain can use transdermal CBD oil to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain.

One woman who suffered from chronic pain had this to say:

Worth. The. Money…I’ve started being able to do more basic chores (cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping) without feeling like a zombie at the end of it. My husband says it looks like I’ve been in a lot less pain and in a much better mood…

CBD didn’t magically change the fact I’ve been sedentary for a long time, but it has dropped my pain levels a lot. Which means I can move more. And that’s about the best you can ask for.” [5]

CBD Oil for Back Pain

There is overlap between arthritis pain and back pain, but many people suffer from chronic back pain of some sort.

For some people, the back pain is due to muscular problems. For other people it is due to neurological issues. CBD oil can help manage back pain of both types.

If you decide to use cannabidiol oil for back pain, the best solution is transdermal or using a CBD tincture. Continue reading to find out the difference.

cbd tincture in action

Cannabis Does Not Cure Cancer

There are people who use CBD oil to treat the side effects of cancer or chemotherapy (such as nausea, vomiting, etc).

Cannabis (whether THC or CBD) can be a valuable tool for treating the pain associated with cancer of all types, but Dr. Weil reminds us that it will not treat the cancer itself [6].

In fact, the FDA issued warning letters to companies in 2017 that claimed CBD oil had any effect on cancer (it doesn’t).

For people struggling with the pain associated with cancer, cannabidiol can be a valuable ally. It will be treating the symptom (pain) not the root cause (cancer), but sometimes that’s worthwhile if the pain is debilitating.

CBD Oil for Headaches and Migraines

Another application of CBD oil is for the management of migraines and headaches. According to one user:

I was basically chronic daily migraine before starting CBD. I noticed an immediate improvement in my sleep while helped initially, and as I built up my dose of CBD, I hit the majority of my relief at a month in. I’ve seen probably a 75% reduction in my migraines, so I basically have weeks free now.” [7]

The users online believe that CBD oil can help prevent migraines, but doesn’t help much once they have already started. Consistency in dosing is key.

A study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research confirmed that cannabis (not CBD specifically) was valuable for headache sufferers [8].

How Long Does CBD Oil Relieve Pain?

Using CBD oil to relieve pain will depend on many factors including (but not limited to):

  • What type of pain do you have?
  • What CBD oil dosage are you using?
  • What type of CBD administration are you using?

An acute muscle injury, for example, may feel significantly better with a single application.

As some of the anecdotes show, chronic pain management, headaches etc can take up to a month.

One reason is because you must find the dosage that works best for you and solves the particular pain that you’re facing. We created a recommended starting point below.

Some reports suggest that cannabidiol oil can develop a tolerance. This doesn’t mean it will “stop working”, but it may not be as effective over time.

The Best Way to Use CBD Oil for Pain

The medical director of George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine, Mikhail Kogan, prescribes patients CBD often.

Dr. Kogan believes CBD is “safer than Tylenol or caffeine by tenfold. If you compare them to opiates, they’re about 10,000 times safer.” [9]

His recommendation is to use drops of CBD under the tongue in a sublingual solution (also known as a tincture).

Tinctures are one of the best methods because the bioavailability of CBD oil is not high when taken orally (a capsule).

A tincture has 20 – 35% bioavailability [10] while oral doses are 6 – 15% [11].

Generally speaking, tinctures are best (though vaping has higher absorption, it’s also out of the system quicker).

However, with pain, transdermal creams and patches work great. These methods help isolate the area.

Recommended Starting Points to Use CBD Oil for Pain

We broke down many different types of pain that CBD oil can help manage. Below we will break them down with our recommended starting dosage and administration method.

Chronic Inflammation / Arthritis

Recommended Starting Point: Transdermal patch / CBD topical cream

CBD topical cream or balms work well with arthritis. Use a serving as recommended by the manufacturer. According to one user “CBD topical cream helps with the pain considerably” [12]

If you use a tincture (as some people do) try doses of around 32 mg per day. The Oyasin CBD tincture is 16.5 mg per serving (so try AM and PM).

Back Pain

Recommended Starting Point: Transdermal patch / CBD topical cream

Similar to arthritis related pain, it is worth getting relief directly to the source. If the topical applications do not work, try a tincture to help with neurological causes of back pain.

Cancer Pain

Recommended Starting Point: Tinctures / vaping

Pain associated with chemotherapy and cancer can be supported with CBD oil from a tincture or vaping pen. The tinctures are generally best.

Headaches / Migraines

Recommended Starting Point: Vaping / tincture

There isn’t much evidence on this, but the consensus among the community is to use vaping methods to consume CBD for headaches. Tincture is secondary.

Vaping seems to help get rid of migraines after they come on while tinctures seem more useful for preventing the headaches.

Getting Started

The value of cannabidiol for managing pain is clear. The scientific literature is not yet conclusive, but will create more evidence over time.

There is clear evidence in favor of CBD oil for anxiety and even other cannabinoids like CBN, but we must still wait for more science to clarify things for pain management.

The experiences and anecdotes of people who use CBD oil for pain relief continually show how valuable this tool is today.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430692/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
  3. Ibid.
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
  5. https://www.reddit.com/r/CBD/comments/8dq6po/one_month_on_cbd_oil_for_chronic_pain/
  6. https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/herbs/using-cbd-oil-for-pain-relief/
  7. https://www.reddit.com/r/CBD/comments/74p67j/official_migraine_headache_dosage_thread/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5436334/
  9. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2018/cbd-oil-marijuana-health-benefits.html
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17051591
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2937482
  12. https://www.reddit.com/r/CBD/comments/8nxunh/recommendations_for_cbd_oil_for_pain/