Does CBD help with arthritis pain?
If you have chronic arthritis pain, you may be wondering about cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment. CBD, along with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals, is found in marijuana. But unlike THC, CBD is not “psychoactive” — that is, it does not cause the intoxication or high associated with marijuana use.
There’s a good chance you’ve tried it already: according to a Gallup poll in August of 2019, about 14% of Americans report using CBD products, and the number one reason is pain. The Arthritis Foundation conducted its own poll and found that 29% reported current use of CBD (mostly in liquid or topical form), and nearly 80% of respondents were either using it, had used it in the past, or were considering it. Of those using it, most reported improvement in physical function, sleep, and well-being; of note, a minority reported improvement in pain or stiffness.
Perhaps you’ve been tempted to try it. After all, most types of arthritis are not cured by other treatments, and CBD is considered a less addictive option than opiates. Or maybe it’s the marketing that recommends CBD products for everything from arthritis to anxiety to seizures. The ads are pretty hard to miss. (Now here’s a coincidence: as I was writing this, my email preview pane displayed a message that seemed to jump off the screen: CBD Has Helped Millions!! Try It Free Today!)
What’s the evidence it works? And what do experts recommend? Until recently, there’s been little research and even less guidance for people (or their doctors) interested in CBD products that are now increasingly legal and widely promoted.
But now, there is.
A word about arthritis pain
It’s worth emphasizing that there are more than 100 types of arthritis, and while pain is a cardinal feature of all of them, these conditions do not all act alike. And what works for one may not work for another. Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and stiffness and maintaining function for all types of arthritis. But for certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, conventional prescription medications are highly recommended, because these drugs help prevent permanent joint damage and worsening disability.
In addition, individuals experience pain and respond to treatment in different ways. As a result, it’s highly unlikely that there is a single CBD-containing product that works for all people with all types of arthritis.
What’s the evidence that CBD is effective for chronic arthritis pain?
While there are laboratory studies suggesting CBD might be a promising approach, and animal studies showing anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, well-designed studies demonstrating compelling evidence that CBD is safe and effective for chronic arthritis pain in humans do not exist. A randomized trial of topical CBD for osteoarthritis of the knee has been published, but in abstract form only (meaning it’s a preliminary report that summarizes the trial and has not been thoroughly vetted yet); the trial lasted only 12 weeks, and results were mixed at best. One of the largest reviews examined the health effects of cannabis and CBD, and concluded that there is “substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.” But there was no specific conclusion regarding CBD, presumably because definitive studies were not available.
Of course, there is anecdotal evidence and testimonials galore, including reports of dramatic improvement by people who tried CBD in its various forms (including capsule, liquid, topical, and spray) for their pain. But we are still waiting for well-designed, scientifically valid, and rigorous clinical trials (such as this one in progress) that are so badly needed to answer the question of just how helpful CBD may be to people with chronic arthritis pain.
Are there downsides to CBD treatment?
As with any treatment, there can be downsides. CBD is generally considered safe; however, it can still cause lightheadedness, sleepiness, dry mouth, and rarely, liver problems. There may be uncertainty about the potency or purity of CBD products (since they are not regulated as prescription medications are), and CBD can interact with other medications. For pregnant women, concern has been raised about a possible link between inhaled cannabis and lower-birthweight babies; it’s not clear if this applies to CBD. Some pain specialists have concerns that CBD may upset the body’s natural system of pain regulation, leading to tolerance (so that higher doses are needed for the same effect), though the potential for addiction is generally considered to be low.
There is one definite downside: cost. Prices range widely but CBD products aren’t inexpensive, and depending on dose, frequency, and formulation, the cost can be considerable — I found one brand that was $120/month, and health insurance does not usually cover it.
Are there guidelines about the use of CBD for chronic arthritis pain?
Until recently, little guidance has been available for people with arthritis pain who were interested in CBD treatment. Depending on availability and interest, patients and their doctors had to decide on their own whether CBD was a reasonable option in each specific case. To a large degree that’s still true, but some guidelines have been published. Here’s one set of guidelines for people pursuing treatment with CBD that I find quite reasonable (based on recommendations from the Arthritis Foundation and a recent commentary published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research):
- If considering a CBD product, choose one that has been independently tested for purity, potency, and safety — for example, look for one that has received a “Good Manufacturing Practices” (GMP) certification.
- CBD should be one part of an overall pain management plan that includes nonmedication options (such as exercise) and psychological support.
- Choose an oral treatment (rather than inhaled products) and start with a low dose taken in the evening.
- Establish initial goals of treatment within a realistic period of time — for example, a reduction in knee pain that allows you to walk around the block within two weeks of starting treatment; later, if improved, the goals can be adjusted.
- Tell your doctor(s) about your planned and current CBD treatment; monitor your pain and adjust medications with your medical providers, rather than with nonmedical practitioners (such as those selling CBD products).
- Don’t make CBD your first choice for pain relief; it is more appropriate to consider it if other treatments have not been effective enough.
- Don’t have nonmedical practitioners (such as those selling CBD products) managing your chronic pain; pain management should be between you and your healthcare team, even if it includes CBD.
- For people with rheumatoid arthritis or related conditions, do not stop prescribed medications that may be protecting your joints from future damage; discuss any changes to your medication regimen with your doctor.
The bottom line
If you’re interested in CBD treatment for chronic arthritis pain or if you’re already taking it, review the pros, cons, and latest news with your healthcare providers, and together you can decide on a reasonable treatment plan. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, it may be quite important to continue your conventional, prescribed medications even if you pursue additional relief with CBD products.
We may not have all the evidence we’d like, but if CBD can safely improve your symptoms, it may be worth considering.
Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling
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Medical Marijuana: Facts about cannabis, THC, and CBD
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Best CBD Oil for Pain Relief & Inflammation: Highest Quality Brands On The Market
Over the past three years, CBD oil has become increasingly popular as a health and wellness supplement.
One of the main reasons people are interested in trying CBD oil is because of its pain-killing benefits. We’ll get into the details of how CBD is suggested to help with pain later, along with some suggestions for the best CBD oils for pain and inflammation.
The ability for CBD to help with pain is a significant advantage over conventional pain management options — which often involve addictive and potentially harmful medications. Instead, this natural supplement has very few side effects and an exceptional safety profile — all without compromising on effectiveness.
But how do you choose the right CBD oil for the job?
This is an important question to ask because the truth of the matter is that not all CBD oils work. Many simply contain too little CBD to be of any help, while others contain harmful contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, or chemical solvents — all of which could add to the pain you’re already experiencing by damaging the sensitive nerve cells around the body.
We’re going to cover all of this in the article below. You’ll learn how to spot a high-quality CBD oil and how current evidence shows CBD to work inside the body.
This is a big topic, so let’s get started with our list of top-rated CBD oils for pain.
Top 10 Best CBD Oil Brands for Pain Management in 2022
Not sure which CBD oil to buy to help with chronic pain? Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how CBD is suggested to work for pain and inflammation, here’s our top 5 list of CBD oils I’ve used myself for back pain.
We’ll also offer some advice on a few ways you can spot a trustworthy CBD vendor even if they didn’t quite make it onto our list.
I’ve been using CBD for over 5 years now and I’ve stumbled upon some stellar companies with top-notch oils and fly-by-night businesses with oils that can’t simply don’t work.
I have a relatively short list of CBD brands that I fully trust and I want to share my choices with you so you can avoid some of the headaches and disappointment I’ve already endured.
Here are my top 10 CBD oil brands for pain:
1. Royal CBD (Best CBD Oil On The Market)
|Total CBD Content||250 – 2500 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Mint, Vanilla, Berry|
|Potency||8.3 – 83.3 mg/mL|
Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
Why Royal CBD is My Top Pick:
As skeptical as I am towards the majority of new CBD brands, I decided to give Royal CBD a try because I liked the company’s dedication to quality. I love seeing companies that take what they do seriously.
You can tell right away from the color, flavor, and consistency of the oil that you’re dealing with a product well above average.
This oil is cheaper than most of the other premium CBD oils I’ve tried, comes in a full range of potencies, and uses some of the best full-spectrum hemp extracts I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard friends using this brand for quite some time and decided to give it a try for myself — so I ordered a few bottles in different strengths.
After taking the Royal CBD’s 2500mg full-spectrum CBD oil for just over a week, I noticed an improvement in my back pain. There was a time when I had serious problems falling asleep because of the sharp pains in my back that seemed to intensify whenever I laid down to fall asleep. It was a nightmare. I’d lay awake for hours changing positions to try and find a spot that didn’t leave me writhing in discomfort.
With this oil, my experience went far beyond what I expected. Not only did it help ease the pain, but my overall quality of sleep improved. I mean, I didn’t sleep longer but I began to wake up rested and with a clear head.
My favorite combination for this particular oil is the vanilla in the 1000 mg bottle. This is the largest potency option currently offered by Royal CBD and has the best value overall. I took the oil twice per day, once in the morning when I woke up, and again in the evening before bed. One bottle of the 1000 mg CBD oil lasted me about a month.
- Sourced from US-grown organic hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes
- Available in 4 different strengths
- Up to 2500mg of CBD per bottle
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- Great natural flavors (no aftertaste and comes in multiple flavor options)
- Free shipping within the USA
- Newer brand on the market that only sells online, no physical presence
2. Gold Bee (Best Organic CBD Oil)
- Premium Colorado-grown hemp
- CO2 extraction
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- Delicious kiwi flavor
- Sweetened with organic honey
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- Only one flavored option available
- No high-strength oils (yet)
What I Like About Gold Bee:
I honestly believe Gold Bee makes the best organic CBD products out there. The brand combines premium Colorado-grown hemp with organic honey sourced from the Brazillian Rainforest. While Gold Bee offers a modest selection of oils — with up to 1200 mg of CBD per bottle — the formula is spot-on when it comes to the quality of ingredients. I’m totally not going to complain about the potency, as my back pain and sleep quality got better than with some high-strength oils I’ve tried in the past. Considering the quality of these products, they actually come at a bargain price. If you want to try other formats from Gold Bee, you can choose between its high-strength capsules and CBD-infused honey.
3. CBDPure (Runner Up)
|Total CBD Content||100 – 600 mg|
|Potency||1.6 – 10 mg/mL|
What I Like About CBDPure CBD Oil:
I love how transparent this company is. If I were judging companies solely by their transparency level, CBDPure would have scored the second place, right after Royal CBD. The company provides all the details about each stage of production when making this CBD oil. You can find all the third-party lab test results for each batch on the product page — something we’ve come to expect from any high-quality CBD company.
What really makes this company stand out is its incredible satisfaction guarantee. If you order the product and decide it wasn’t working for you, simply send it back and get a full refund. This satisfaction guarantee extends over 3 whole months — which is about three times longer than the industry average.
I keep a bottle or two of CBDPure oil in my medicine cabinet for achy moments after a run or hike with the kids.
The only real downside to this oil is the potency — which comes in denominations of 1.5, 5, and 10 mg/mL. This is suitable for more minor symptoms, but may not be enough for people with heavy CBD demands.
- Sourced from Colorado-grown organic hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Tested for the cannabinoid content and purity in a third-party lab
- Rock-solid 90-day return policy
- Narrow product range
- Low potency
- They don’t ship to every state (i.e. Louisiana, Indiana, Arkansas, Kansas)
|Total CBD Content||300 – 4000 mg|
|Available Flavors||Unflavored, Acai Berry, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon|
|Potency||10 – 133.3 mg/mL|
What I Like About HempBombs:
I used HempBombs CBD isolate-based hemp oil for quite some time before switching to full-spectrum CBD oil and in my opinion, this is the best brand when it comes to CBD isolates. Their products contain 99% pure CBD and ZERO THC.
Now don’t get me wrong, CBD isolates are great, they offer consistent doses of CBD, contain 0% THC, and are generally cheaper than their full-spectrum counterparts. In most cases, I like using a full-spectrum extract like Royal CBD oil because of something called the entourage effect — which is a concept highlighting the phenomenon where cannabinoids like CBD tend to work better when other hemp-derived compounds are also present.
In isolates, the only cannabinoid present is CBD.
HempBombs CBD oil is available in five different strengths — from 300mg to 4000mg per bottle. The CBD is added in the form of a 99% pure isolate — which means there’s going to be virtually no traceable amounts of any other cannabinoids, including THC, CBC, CBG, or CBN.
You can also buy these oils in different flavors. Hemp Bombs often adds new flavors to the list, but my all-time personal favorite is the Acai berry. It’s not too sweet but adds a really pleasant flavor to the otherwise bland CBD and MCT oil formula.
- Sourced from 100% certified organic hemp from European farms
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Completely THC-free
- Tested in third-party laboratories for purity and potency
- Available in 5 separate strengths
- Up to 4000mg of CBD per bottle
- Lacks the synergistic effects from other cannabinoids
- The highest potencies are overkill for most users
- Uses synthetic flavoring agents
|Total CBD Content||250 – 5000 mg|
|Potency||8.3 – 166 mg/mL|
What I Like About CBDistillery:
CBDistillery is now one of the largest CBD companies in North America. The company began in 2016 as a legacy brand for Balanced Health Botanicals.
Over the years, CBDistillery has had the chance to really dial-in its CBD oil formula. The company now sells its CBD oil in two formats — “full-spectrum” and “THC-free.” The THC-free option is great for people who want to benefit from the synergy of CBD and other cannabinoids but without bringing any THC whatsoever into their system.
Even the full-spectrum option contains less than 0.3% THC — which is well below the amount needed to cause any psychoactive effects. These oils are both completely non-psychoactive.
You can choose between five different strengths, starting at 250mg up to 5000mg of CBD per bottle. This covers just about every range of potencies you would ever need. We recommend opting for the higher potency options because they have the best value overall. The higher potency you purchase, the further your dollar gets you.
The more potent options also las the longest because you need smaller amounts of the oil each time to get the desired dose of CBD.
I tried the 1000mg bottle to keep myself calm during the first few months after giving birth to my first son and I must admit it helped me maintain my sanity during that time. I found it to have a remarkable calming effect on the body and mind.
- Available as full-spectrum CBD or pure CBD oil (THC-free)
- 5 strengths to choose from
- Carries up to 33.3 mg of CBD per mL (in the 1000 mg bottle)
- Excellent value CBD oil
- The hemp isn’t certified organic
- No flavor options available
- The company website is clunky and hard to navigate
6. NuLeaf Naturals
|Total CBD Content||240 – 4850 mg|
What I Like About NuLeaf Naturals
Nuleaf Naturals is one of the most popular CBD companies in the United States — most likely related to how long the company has been in the business of selling CBD. Nuleaf naturals were one of the first CBD companies to enter the mainstream market.
Despite the companies longstanding reputation, Nuleaf Naturals only sells one CBD oil. When you go to the website you’ll find a few different options, including a pet oil — but it’s important to understand that these are all the exact same full-spectrum extract, the only difference is the bottle sizes.
We love the simplicity of Nuleaf Naturals product lineup. The oils come with a decent potency of around 48 mg/mL, and just about every bottle size you can imagine. This makes it easy for everybody to find a product that works for them regardless of the budget.
With that said, if you have the cash, we highly recommend getting the larger bottle sizes in order to get the best value for your money.
You can choose between five different sizes:
- Sourced from organic Colorado-grown hemp
- Extracted using supercritical CO2
- Made from a full-spectrum hemp extract
- More expensive than the other brands in this ranking
- Narrow product range
7. Charlotte’s Web
|Total CBD Content||200 – 1800 mg|
|Available Flavors||Mint Chocolate, Lemon Twist, Orange Blossom, Olive Oil|
|Potency||7 – 60 mg/mL|
About Charlotte’s Web:
Charlotte’s Web is one of the pioneers in the American CBD industry. Established by the Stanley Brothers, the company has coined a reputation of a trustworthy manufacturer by helping now late Charlotte Figi with her treatment-resistant epilepsy. Although the company has recently received a warning letter from the FDA due to their health claims, they still have many faithful customers and a massive number of positive reviews on the web.
Charlotte’s Web CBD oil comes in several potencies: 200 mg, 500 mg, 1500 mg, and 1800 mg of CBD per bottle. The highest strength offers 60 mg of full-spectrum CBD per milliliter. There are two bottle sizes to choose from: 30 mL and 100 mL; Charlotte’s Web also has flavored variants of its CBD oil, including Lemon Twist, Orange Blossom, Mint Chocolate, and Olive Oil.
What could the company do better?
First off, they could change their extraction method because they use ethanol, which is less efficient than CO2 extraction. Secondly, and most importantly, the suspension in olive oil makes them taste a bit bitter — even in the flavored versions.
- One of the most reputable brands on the market
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Delicious flavored versions
- Up to 1800 mg of CBD per bottle
- Available in two sizes: 30 mL and 100 mL
- Third-party tested for potency and purity
- Non-organic hemp
- Ethanol extraction
- Suspension in olive oil (bitter taste)
- The company received a warning letter from the FDA in the past due to inappropriate health claims
|Total CBD Content||300 – 7500 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Berry, Orange, Mint|
|Potency||10 – 250 mg/mL|
cbdMD is another popular manufacturer that offers a wide range of CBD extracts, from tinctures to gummies to capsules, bath bombs, topicals, sleep aids, and pet products.
The brand offers a wide range of pure CBD oils, with up to 7500 mg of CBD per bottle. The highest potency comes with a whopping dose of 200 mg of pure CBD suspended in MCT oil for higher bioavailability and a smoother flavor. cbdMD also has three flavored CBD oils: Berry, Orange, and Mint.
Despite an impressive potency range, cbdMD uses broad-spectrum CBD in their products, which doesn’t evoke the full entourage effect. The higher potency may not necessarily mean better results in this case.
The company has high transparency standards; not only does cbdMD broadly describe their activity from farming to testing, but they also provide batch-specific certificates of analysis for their products, including the results for potency and common contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, and residual solvents.
- US-grown, non-GMO hemp
- CO2 extraction
- Up to 7500 mg of CBD per bottle
- Batch-specific certificates of analysis
- Limited entourage effect due to the lack of THC
- Most people don’t need such high doses of CBD in their routine
|Total CBD Content||500 – 3000 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Citrus, Mint Chocolate|
|Potency||16 – 100 mg/mL|
Medterra is a small craft company from California. The brand offers premium CBD oils in different spectra: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and isolates. The potency of these products ranges between 500 mg and 3000 mg of CBD per bottle, which is a standard range. On top of the unflavored version, there are two flavored options: Citrus and Chocolate
Medterra prides itself on making the real full-spectrum CBD because each bottle of its full-spectrum CBD oil comes with 2 mg of THC. However, these products are only legal in the states that have legalized higher amounts of THC for recreational use. So, if you want to buy the company’s products in all 50 states, your options are limited to broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. These provide more CBD per bottle — upwards of 1000 mg.
The entire Medterra’s product range is tested in a third-party laboratory for their CBD content and safety.
- Premium-grade CBD oils
- Up to 3000 mg of CBD per bottle
- Available as full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and isolates
- Lab tested for potency and purity
- The “real” full-spectrum CBD oil isn’t available in all states
- Some of the lab reports indicate higher CBD levels than stated on the bottle
- No discounts for returning customers
10. Joy Organics
|Total CBD Content||450 – 900 mg|
|Available Flavors||Tranquil Mint, Fresh Lime, Summer Lemon|
|Potency||15 – 30 mg/mL|
About Joy Organics:
Joy Organics holds the reputation of one of the most reputable CBD vendors in the industry. The company was established by a woman named Joy Smith, who has been using CBD oil to manage her problems with pain and sleep. After experiencing the benefits of CBD first-hand, she has decided to share her passion for cannabis with other health-conscious consumers.
The brand sells a range of broad-spectrum CBD products from certified organic hemp. They have many positive reviews all over the Internet; they also haven’t received any warning letter regarding health claims from the FDA — unlike many companies in this space (even the veterans like Charlotte’s Web).
The Joy Organics CBD oil features a broad-spectrum CBD formula in a modest potency range, from 450 to 900 mg of CBD per bottle. You can choose from three refreshing flavors: Summer Lemon, Fresh Lime, and Tranquil Mint. The strongest version of the Joy Organics CBD oil contains 30 mg of broad-spectrum CBD in every milliliter, which is a standard dose for most people who take CBD oil for daily supplementation.
In 2018, one of the company’s flavored CBD oils was found to contain a fungicide that is commonly sprayed on citrus fruit during independent lab testing. Fortunately, Joy Organics recalled the product shortly after this incident and implemented a new third-party testing system to make sure there are no flaws in the end product.
- Non-GMO, US-grown hemp
- Supercritical CO2 extraction
- Broad-spectrum CBD
- Delicious flavors
- A bit expensive
- No high-strength oils
CBD Oil for Pain Management: Complete Guide for Beginners
Now that we’ve covered a few CBD oil options that are going to provide the best value for your money, let’s discuss how CBD is suggested to support chronic pain in the first place. We’ll also cover some of the most common ways people are using CBD oil for pain.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD stands for cannabidiol _ it’s one of the primary active ingredients in the cannabis plant. It’s completely non-psychoactive and offers a wide range of benefits to the human body.
CBD oil is a combination of a CBD extract, with a carrier oil to help dissolve and store the CBD. Most CBD oils use carrier oils like MCT oil, or hemp seed oil — which is then combined with CBD isolate, or full-spectrum hemp extract rich in CBD and other similar cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids like CBD are fat-soluble — which means they dissolve when mixed with oil, but won’t dissolve in water. By dissolving these compounds in an oil solution, the CBD becomes much easier to store and use. Instead of measuring out micrograms of CBD crystals or hemp resin, all you need to do is measure oil to get your dose of CBD. This can be done using a simple dropper that comes standard with most CBD oils.
Because of their ease of use, and long shelf-life, CBD oils have become the go-to method of using CBD and other hemp extracts.
You can also opt-out to use CBD-infused gummies if you wanted something discreetly, read our in-depth review on CBD Gummies to understand better.
How Does CBD Work?
Cannabis has been used for managing pain and inflammation for thousands of years.
The earliest records of the medical use of the herb date back to ancient China when the emperor Shen-Nung placed it among other therapeutic substances in the Chinese pharmacopeia (1). The leaves were wrapped around an injury as a poultice to reduce pain and discomfort, and reverse swelling and bruising.
Despite being a known medicine for a long time, scientists have only recently begun to unlock the mechanisms cannabis uses to achieve its important pain-killing benefits.
Since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in 1992, CBD and other phytocannabinoids have been in the spotlight of modern medicine.
The endocannabinoid system is one of the most important neurochemical networks in the human body (2). It works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system — a series of hormones and receptors that help regulate over a dozen core processes in the human body. The active compounds in the cannabis plant are very similar to the naturally-produced hormones involved with our endocannabinoid system.
By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD and other cannabinoids are able to modulate several key processes, such as:
- Immune function
- Sensory perception (including pain)
- Reproductive health
- Nerve function
How Can CBD Reduce Pain Transmission?
How does all of this relate to pain? The answer lies in the way pain is transmitted to the brain.
When we injure ourselves, cells in the immediate vicinity begin releasing compounds that trigger a cascade of inflammation and sensory activation — which is what triggers the pain transmission.
The pain signal is then sent to the spinal cord through a network of nerves distributed all around the body.
Once in the spine, the pain signal is sent through a gateway (opioid and vanilloid receptors) designed to limit the amount of signal that ends up in the brain for processing. This works like a border crossing. The border security decides whether or not you’re allowed to enter and what you can take with you.
In the context of pain, these gateways can limit the amount of pain signal that continues across the border to the brain. If more pain signal is allowed to pass, the brain perceives more pain. If the pain is stopped at the border, the brain perceives less pain.
Conventional pain medications work by activating the opioid receptors acting as a key gateway for pain transmission to the brain.
CBD has a similar effect, but through a different receptor is known as the vanilloid receptors. These vanilloid receptors are tasked with regulating a specific form of pain caused by either heat or inflammation. CBD has been reported to modulate this vanilloid receptor — leading to a reduction in the pain signals sent to the brain from inflammatory causes such as arthritis, muscle damage, or infection, to name a few.
CBD has other ways it can limit pain transmission as well:
- CBD may reduce inflammation, limiting the initial cause of pain in the body
- CBD acts as an antioxidant, helping the body resist and recover from damage
- CBD relaxes muscle fibers, reducing pain caused by muscle spasms and tightness
More research is needed to fully understand how CBD and other active cannabinoids can block pain. Every year dozens of new research papers are published in an attempt to paint a clear picture of how CBD works, how to get the most benefit from the supplement, and what its limitations are.
(Pain Transmission Pathway to the Brain)
Choosing CBD Oil Companies: How to Differentiate the Good From the Bad
CBD has become a lucrative business. Companies are selling a myriad of different CBD oils and other products in an attempt to cash in on the new health trend. This means there are a lot of excellent products coming to market, but it also means there’s a lot of trash as well. It’s important as a CBD user that you understand what makes a CBD oil good, and what makes it bad so you can avoid wasting your money, or worse — using CBD oils that contain harmful or damaging ingredients.
Let’s cover the most important points to remember when shopping for CBD oil online or in-store.
1. Check the Hemp Source
The source of the hemp used to make the oil is vitally important when it comes to determining which CBD oils are the best. The main reason comes down to the botany of the hemp plant itself.
Hemp is a bio-accumulator — which means it has the tendency to absorb compounds from the soil and accumulate them in its leaves, stems, and roots. The deep taproots of the hemp plant stretch far beneath the soil, pulling out and storing all the heavy metals and other elements it can find in the soil.
This aspect is in part why hemp is so nutritious, but it also means that plants grown in contaminated soils often contain contaminants that can be harmful to your health. Some of the worst offenders are heavy metals — which can build up in the body over time and lead to severe long-term health effects.
You want to avoid consuming heavy metals at all costs.
Poorly grown hemp could contain heavy metals, as well as other contaminants like mycotoxins, or pesticide residues that will end up in the CBD oil after all the processing is complete.
For this reason, it’s important to purchase CBD oil from companies that account for this effect. Only buy from company’s that make an effort to source hemp from organic farms, and take measures to assess every batch of hemp that enters the facility to determine heavy metal, microbial contaminant, and pesticide contamination.
The best hemp sources tend to come from states like Oregon, Colorado, or Alabama, as well as neighboring countries like Canada or Scandinavian countries. These places are all known for having high standards for hemp cultivation, and clean soils.
2. Look for CO2 Extracted Products
Once the company has the hemp, they need to extract the CBD from it. You can do this in many different ways using solvents like ethanol, methanol, hexane, ether, or butane. All of these solvents work to strip the active compounds from the hemp plant and can then be evaporated to leave behind a pure CBD-rich resin.
however, there’s a problem with these solvents.
Even in professional lab settings, it can be very difficult to remove all traces of these solvents from the final product. Most of these solvents are toxic to the human body, even in trace amounts.
Therefore, the best companies are using another method to strop the active ingredients from the starting hemp material. This method uses CO2 placed under high pressure. the high pressure and temperature control convert the CO2 into a phase that’s neither liquid nor gas. This special state is referred to as being supercritical.
Supercritical CO2 acts just like any other solvent, but with one key benefit — as soon as the pressure is relieved, the gas evaporates completely, leaving behind no harmful chemical residues.
when shopping for CBD oil, it’s ideal to look for a company that uses supercritical CO2 to extract the CBD rather than the toxic solvents mentioned above. Supercritical CO2 is very expensive and highly technical — but usually produces a far superior product in the end.
If a company is using harsh solvents like butane or propane (or they don’t tell you anything about their extraction methods), it’s a sign that you should look for another brand.
3. Ask for Third-Party Lab Reports
Every company has the option to send their products to an independent lab or third-party testing.
These laboratory tests check for the entire cannabinoid profile of the extract and are able to detect over 200 common contaminants.
Before a CBD product becomes available for sale, it should pass the laboratory test for potency and purity. If any inconsistencies are shown between different batches of the same product, the company should rework it and send it for analysis once again.
High-quality CBD companies will continually send each batch of product to a lab with no affiliation to the company (called a third-party or independent lab) for testing. These results are then published publicly on the website for customers to view.
The best companies will take this even one step further — adding a database and batch numbers on every bottle of CBD oil so you can view the results for your specific bottle of oil. Third-party testing is now an industry standard.
Always buy your CBD oil from companies that show third-party lab reports on their website. Only then will you know what’s inside the bottle before you even order a product. If the company is producing CBD oil that’s as high quality, as they say, there should be nothing to hide in these lab tests and they should be listed publicly on the company website. If you can’t find them on the site, you can ask customer service for these as well.
If these tests don’t exist, or you can’t track them down from the website or customer service — it’s best to avoid this company and move on to another that takes this important step seriously.
What the Research Says About Using CBD Oil for Pain:
Understanding how CBD works is no simple task. This compound is incredibly complex — working through a number of unrelated receptors around the body, interacting with enzymes, cell membranes, and various other cell structures. This makes studying CBD very difficult.
Nevertheless, there have been thousands of research papers published on medical marijuana — seeking to understand the interaction between cannabinoids like CBD and the human body. A lot of this research specifically focused on the effects of CBD on various forms and causes of pain. Let’s explore some of the results this research has yielded in the context of pain management.
1. CBD Oil for Chronic Back & Nerve Pain
The painkilling properties of cannabidiol have been most thoroughly studied in animal models, as well as a handful of human clinical trials.
One of the best studies we have available on the topic is a meta-analysis published in 2017. This analysis looked at 24 different clinical trials involving 1,334 patients over several years and demographics. These studies all used various forms of cannabis for treating chronic pain. The analysis reports that many of these studies showed a reduction in chronic pain scores by 50% or more (3) — suggesting the cannabis plant to be a potential treatment for chronic pain.
Another clinical trial looked at the effects of a combination of CBD to THC in the treatment of intractable cancer pain. This study found that twice as many people in the treatment group given CBD and THC had a 30% or more reduction in pain symptoms at the conclusion of the trial (6).
Even though more clinical trials on humans are needed to gauge how CBD affects specific forms of pain or other conditions, scientists believe the efficacy of CBD in treating chronic pain is related to its anti-inflammatory effects (3).
2. CBD Oil for Arthritis
CBD has had a lot of research as a potential alternative to prescription and non-prescription pain medications commonly used for alleviating arthritis pain.
Researchers have found a clear link between the endocannabinoid system and the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease associated with chronic pain and inflammation (4).
One of the key areas CBD is thought to support osteoarthritis specifically is through the effects on an enzyme known as 5-lipoxygenase — AKA 5-LOX. CBD has been shown to inhibit this enzyme (7), which converts fatty acids into pro-inflammatory compounds. These inflammatory messengers have been shown to be a key component in the underlying inflammation involved with osteoarthritis (8).
By reducing the underlying causes of arthritis pain, CBD is thought to reduce the overall burden of pain from the condition over the long term.
3. CBD and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Pain
Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is a potent neuroprotective — which is how experts believe CBD is able to relieve debilitating MS pain, —which affects roughly 50–70% of patients diagnosed with the condition.
A study conducted on animals at Cajan Institute tested the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD on mice the researchers wanted to find out if CBD can provide a reversed inflammatory response on those cells. After ten days, the researchers found a reduction in inflammatory markers with a rodent encephalitis model designed to imitate the impact MS has on the body (5).
More research is needed to see exactly how these effects are translated to humans. Currently, there are 23 clinical trials currently underway, or planned within the next 12 months seeking to explore the effects of CBD on MS.
4. CBD Oil in Sports: Injuries & Muscle Endurance
Cannabidiol can be applied in two different ways when it comes to pain and physical activities. For example, when you administer CBD orally in the form of oil as a post-workout, it helps alleviate the muscle inflammation that troubles athletes once they go beyond the edge again.
If, however, you’re suffering from an injury, it’s best to apply CBD topically. Its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties allow the cannabinoid to relieve pain and improve regeneration capacities.
Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?
The main reason why parents are so enthusiastic about CBD is that this cannabinoid is completely non-intoxicating, doesn’t cause addiction, and has only a few mild side effects when taken at excessive doses.
Research shows that even doses up to one and a half grams have no severe side effects on human health (9).
Despite being a notoriously safe supplement, there are some side effects of using CBD in high doses. Let’s cover the most common side effects people report from using CBD:
- Brain fog
- Reduced appetite
- Mood changes
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
The most common side effect by far, like other forms of cannabis, is dry mouth. This is best managed by taking your CBD oil along with some juice like pineapple or orange juice.
Another common side effect is lowered blood pressure, which may trigger another unwanted reaction — lightheadedness. This side effect is important to consider if you suffer from low blood pressure already or are taking blood pressure-lowering medications.
Always consult your doctor before using CBD or other cannabis extracts if you’re taking prescription medications or have underlying medical conditions.
In Summary: Buying CBD Oil For Pain
As CBD becomes more popular around the world, scientists are publishing new research on cannabinoids on a near-weekly basis. As time goes on, experts are mapping out the complicated mechanisms CBD and other hemp derivatives are using to support both acute and chronic pain of all different origins.
Here are the main takeaways from the current research:
- CBD inhibits inflammation at several different levels
- CBD offers antioxidant support
- CBD may relieve muscle tension and inflammation
- CBD interacts with the vanilloid receptors in the brain responsible for regulating inflammatory pain transmission
When it comes to pain, CBD appears to target the cause of the problem instead of just masking its symptoms.
Getting relief on so many levels and without any harmful side effects or risk of addiction is the reason why CBD oil has become so popular over the past half a decade.
I hope this guide has managed to clear up any confusion regarding CBD oil and pain, and given you the insight necessary to find the right CBD oil for the job.
Have you tried CBD oil for chronic pain? Did you feel any difference? Let me know in the comments below!
- Brand, E. J., & Zhao, Z. (2017). Cannabis in Chinese Medicine: Are Some Traditional Indications Referenced in Ancient Literature Related to Cannabinoids?. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, 108.
- Alger B. E. (2013). Getting high on the endocannabinoid system. Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science, 2013, 14.
- Aviram, J., Samuelly-Leichtag, G. (2017) Efficacy of Cannabis-Based Medicines for Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Physician, 20(6), E755-E796.
- Bruni, N., Della Pepa, C., Oliaro-Bosso, S., Pessione, E., Gastaldi, D., & Dosio, F. (2018). Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(10), 2478.
- Elliott, D. M., Singh, N., Nagarkatti, M., & Nagarkatti, P. S. (2018). Cannabidiol Attenuates Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Model of Multiple Sclerosis Through Induction of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1782.
- Johnson, J. R., Burnell-Nugent, M., Lossignol, D., Ganae-Motan, E. D., Potts, R., & Fallon, M. T. (2010). Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC: CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable cancer-related pain. Journal of pain and symptom management, 39(2), 167-179.
- Takeda, S., Usami, N., Yamamoto, I., & Watanabe, K. (2009). Cannabidiol-2′, 6′-dimethyl ether, a cannabidiol derivative, is a highly potent and selective 15-lipoxygenase inhibitor. Drug Metabolism and Disposition.
- Lascelles, B. D. X., King, S., Roe, S., Marcellin‐Little, D. J., & Jones, S. (2009). Expression and activity of COX‐1 and 2 and 5‐LOX in joint tissues from dogs with naturally occurring coxofemoral joint osteoarthritis. Journal of orthopaedic research, 27(9), 1204-1208.Chicago
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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10 Best CBD Gummies to Buy for Pain & Inflammation in 2022
CBD is a popular remedy for pain and inflammation symptoms. Some consumers swear by it, saying using CBD succeeded where conventional remedies fell short or failed.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits can come in many forms, so why did we focus on CBD gummies?
We’ll cover the advantages of CBD gummies later. What’s more important right now is for you to try them for yourself. We’ve painstakingly analyzed ten different brands based on several criteria, so you can easily find the best CBD gummies to suit your needs.
Best CBD Gummies for Pain and Inflammation Ranking
It took a lot of research to narrow down the best CBD-infused gummies for pain and inflammation. Here’s a list of the 10 companies we want to highlight:
How We Choose the Best CBD Gummies
In an industry that remains largely unregulated, finding quality CBD may be hit or miss. After all, how would we define “quality” CBD?
We base our list on several benchmarks. Our goal with this approach is to find the perfect CBD gummies to address chronic pain and inflammation.
Below is a quick outline of our criteria.
- Hemp source: Is it organic? Non-GMO? USDA certified?
- Grown in-house: Do they grow their own hemp, or rely on an industrial source?
Extraction and Purification
- Extraction method: do they use CO2, alcohol, butane, etc.?
- Facilities: does the vendor have access to pharmaceutical-grade facilities?
- Expertise: do the extract manufacturers have medical or pharmaceutical backgrounds?
Quality and EffectivenessBest CBD Oil
CBD gummies need to be worth the investment. We make this call by looking at:
- Potency: how much CBD per piece?
- CBD type: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate?
- Ingredients: natural flavor and colors? Additional nutrients? Added supplements?
- Variety: how many options are there?
- Flavor choices: are they appetizing or “candy-like”?
- Effectiveness: do they do a decent job disguising the “hempy” cannabis taste?
- Contaminants: did the tests detect or look for microbes, heavy metals, and pesticides?
- Terpenes and cannabinoids: does the CBD have a variety of additional compounds to improve potency?
- CBD content: do the lab tests confirm the amount of CBD on the product label?
Reputation is another consideration that comes naturally with the right CBD gummies. It’s easy to build a good reputation with high-quality CBD to back you up. We judge reputation by examining:
- User reviews: independent online reviews from sources not affiliated with the vendor
- Industry presence: is the vendor well-known? Are they known for quality?
This doesn’t mean bigger is better. Small startups can offer better products. This category doesn’t affect our overall conclusion by much.
Best CBD Gummies for Pain and Inflammation Reviews
Known for their excellent CBD products, the company is definitely worth trying if you want the best CBD gummies to treat pain and inflammation – among other things.
From its rich history to its demonstrated quality control, let’s look at what makes Colorado Botanicals so unique.
1. Colorado Botanicals – Best Quality for Pain and Inflammation
It’s pretty clear why Colorado Botanicals offers the best CBD gummies for pain and inflammation – among other symptoms.
Colorado Botanicals CBD gummies are potent and suit everyone’s dietary needs. Aside from being vegan and kosher, Colorado Botanicals’ manufacturing and growing standards ensure each CBD product is gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of additives, like chemical sweeteners or artificial flavors.
Colorado Botanicals uses broad-spectrum CBD, offering the best CBD gummies for THC-sensitive individuals.
The company applies a proprietary, pharmaceutical-grade process, and C02 extraction. They can then maximize terpene and cannabinoid retention while filtering out the unnecessary matter, like wax, chlorophyll, and fat – all of which can burn off terpenes.
- Available in 10 and 25 milligrams of CBD per gummy.
- 30 gummies per jar
- Excellent pricing
- 15% discount for regular reordering
Colorado Botanicals grows its hemp in clean, pure soil, is organically grown, and raised without chemical pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides to keep out any unwanted substances.
Once they harvest the hemp, Colorado Botanicals uses a proprietary pharmaceutical chemical separation technique, ensuring maximum terpene and cannabinoid retention while filtering out the unwanted plant matter, like fiber and chlorophyll.
Their use of CO2 extraction leaves no solvents behind, with the extract tested by an independent lab to report terpenes, cannabinoids, and contaminant traces.
Colorado Botanicals offers their CBD gummies in orange and strawberry flavors. Both of these were packed with additional compounds and tasted great. However, strawberry ultimately won the day, in our opinion.
Of all the options, we ranked Colorado Botanicals as the Best CBD Company and Best CBD Oil to buy in 2022 – and for good reason.
Trust Pilot reviews show nearly universal praise, with 26 of 29 reviews (90%) giving them the highest rating of “excellent,” and the rest rating them as “great.”
User “Ani Mard,” says: “I recently purchased a few products and am truly amazed by the effectiveness, quality, and amazing customer service…Looking forward to trying more products!”
Another reviewer who goes by “Lyn” praises every aspect of the business: “Great company! Colorado Botanicals always fills my orders promptly and accurately, and their products are of the best quality. I have used many other CBD products, but they can’t compare. I highly recommend Colorado Botanicals so you can stop wasting your money. Long time user.”
Coming in second place is JustCBD – but it’s far from “just” CBD. Their extensive line of CBD products includes CBD oils, vapes, edibles, and topicals.
With quality CBD in mind from seed to sale, JustCBD definitely delivers some excellent CBD gummies to help with inflammation, pain, and more.
JustCBD gets points for their organic hemp, which they source from Oregon for their edibles. Their topicals come from Wisconsin.
The company uses carbon dioxide extraction to maintain purity. This option doesn’t leave behind residual solvents – something vital for CBD gummies and other products.
All CBD products are third-party lab tested and posted for customers.
JustCBD CBD Gummies
JustCBD CBD gummies use extract sourced from organic, Oregon-grown hemp but are made with CBD isolate. Many agree that broad-spectrum or full-spectrum hemp extract is better for things like pain relief and inflammation – among other symptoms. Just keep in mind these CBD gummies might not be as effective as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum for people with symptoms like pain and inflammation.
Creating isolates filters out everything but CBD, which means terpenes and additional cannabinoids aren’t in the final product.
According to a statement on their CBD gummies product page (linked above), JustCBD’s CBD gummies best suit customers’ needs who highly value flavor. This explains why they have so many flavor options – over 10 so far.
- Multicolor Bears: 10 mg
- Sour Bears: 10 mg
- Apple Rings: 21 mg
- Happy Faces: 7.5 mg
- Worms:25 mg
- Rainbow Ribbons: 12.5 mg
- Sour Worms: 12.5 mg
- Peach Rings: 21 mg
- Gummy Cherries: 19 mg
- Blue Raspberry Rings: 21 mg
- Watermelon Rings: 21 mg
- Available in vegan and non-vegan options
- Come in bottles with 250, 500, 750, 1000, and 3000 mg per container.
- More flavor-focused at the cost of effectiveness
JustCBD gummies come in regular and sugar-free options, using isolate for maximum flavor retention and authentic gummy candy taste. This arguably makes them one of the best-tasting CBD gummies on the market.
They also carry the most flavor options out of our top ten brands.
Overall, JustCBD offers excellent CBD gummies for health and wellness enthusiasts of all diets and CBD backgrounds. The CBD gummy bears and other edibles also offer great flavor.
JustCBD gummies might not be as effective against pain and inflammation, despite the high potency of some of their options.
JustCBD gummies can help with a variety of symptoms, but people who use CBD for mainly therapeutic reasons would be best seeking out the more terpene and cannabinoid-rich full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD options.
JustCBD provides great value, offering discount codes of 20% on different products every week. However, they have a stringent return policy and no money-back guarantee.
Independent reviews are mixed on the TrustPilot website, while the site itself has more favorable comments.
One TrustPilot user named “Katie,” says:
“Very good CBD gummies. I ended up getting the Peach Rings, oil tincture and some gummy bears. The parcel arrived very swiftly and the goodies are of a superb quality…Would recommend and will order again.”
Reddit user “BlackTeaWithMilk” also praises the gummies, but admits they’re a bit weak, saying:
“I’ve been taking [the gummies]…There’s always a discount code going on, so the price is actually really really good per mg CBD as far as I can tell. I find there to be a positive effect but I need to take 60+mg per day to be noticeable; the effect builds a bit over time.”
3. Leaf Remedys
Leaf Remedys appears to be rather new to the CBD scene. But despite the small online presence, their CBD gummies still pull their weight when it comes to relieving symptoms like pain and inflammation.
They come across as a smaller operation when compared to giants like cbdMD. Still, They manage to stay in the same league with quality extracts, including tinctures (full-spectrum and broad-spectrum), gummies, topicals, and capsules.
Leaf Remedys’ product labels say they use “…the best Colorado-grown hemp plants.” Unfortunately, they don’t provide any information about growing methods or whether the hemp is organic. This makes it hard to determine what they consider “the best.”
Although they’re a bit vague about their hemp source, they use CO2 extraction, which carries a lot of weight in terms of safety and quality.
Let’s not forget independent lab tests. Customers looking for details can see the results linked right on Leaf Remedys’ product pages.
Leaf Remedys CBD Gummies
Leaf Remedys high-potency CBD gummies contain full-spectrum CBD, arguably the best option for pain and inflammation. Whole plant extract retains the highest volume of beneficial compounds compared to broad-spectrum and isolate.
The CBD gummies are available in a mixed-flavor bottle. Consumers can enjoy a mix of strawberry, blue raspberry, and lime in vegan and non-vegan options.
- Available in 1500mg bottles
- 30 gummies per bottle
- Natural and artificial flavor
- Low online presence
Although Leaf Remedys CBD gummies are listed as naturally and artificially flavored, only 2% are synthetic. The rest is naturally sourced.
We all love “natural”, but it’s hard to argue that artificially enhancing flavor can go a long way in masking any “hempy” taste. This can be particularly problematic with full-spectrum, which is known for its tendency to interfere with the flavor.
Leaf Remedys offers CBD gummies with unparalleled potency and flavor. They’re great value, considering they go for the same price as many less potent brands.
Unfortunately, there are no independent reviews, but reviews on the website give it nearly universal five-star ratings.
cbdMD is one of the most prolific hemp CBD brands, offering some of the best CBD gummies at a reasonable price.
The company backs its products with years of industry expertise and manufacturing practices, resulting in CBD gummies that don’t cut corners.
cbdMD says they source their extract from U.S.A.-grown hemp. This ensures that they can easily monitor and control the entire process while adhering to the strict federal quality guidelines. Ultimately, it provides excellent hemp for an excellent CBD product.
Although they’re actively involved in their hemp’s production, cbdMD’s website doesn’t mention whether the hemp is organic or uses naturally sourced nutrients and pesticides. However, they conduct third-party testing on their extracts to ensure consistent cannabinoids and terpenes while monitoring microbes, heavy metals, and other contaminants.
cbdMD chooses the preferable purification technique, supercritical C02 extraction. Practiced by high-end CBD vendors, this method is better than butane or alcohol for effectiveness and purity.
CBMD Premium CBD gummies are made with broad-spectrum CBD extract. They certainly earned their spot on our list, but we’re not the only ones who noticed them. cbdMD was named the 2021 “Product of the Year” by the Consumer Survey of Product Innovation.
Using broad-spectrum extract retains terpenes and cannabinoids without THC, ensuring effectiveness against pain and inflammation without potentially affecting a drug test or triggering THC-sensitive individuals.
Third-party lab tests are available on the website. The most recent tests reveal a lot of limonene, an effective anti-inflammatory terpene.
- Available in 300, 750, and 1500 mg options
- 30 gummies per bottle
- 10, 25, and 50 mg of CBD per gummy
- Limited to a single variety mix flavor option
cbdMD uses cane sugar and natural fruit flavors in their gummies, providing a taste that will impress even the pickiest CBD gummy connoisseurs. All bottles contain a mix of tropical, strawberry, raspberry, and orange.
You can even get them in regular or sour varieties for an authentic candy experience without too much hemp aroma.
We don’t mean to gush, but it’s difficult to see many negatives about cbdMD.
Their use of broad-spectrum CBD extract is perfect for pain and inflammation, offering valuable compounds and no THC.
cbdMD’s third-party tests (available online) are a testament to their transparency. The only quality downside is that the hemp isn’t organic or GMO-free. This might turn away some customers.
It’s also too bad that people can’t really control their flavor choices. They’re limited to a variety mix in each bottle, but still tasty nonetheless.
cbdMD is also rather expensive compared to some competitors.
Customers can try cbdMD’s CBD gummies risk-free with their 60-day money-back guarantee. If there are any issues, the company offers a full refund on all purchases, opened or unopened.
CbdMD’s Facebook page is also filled with happy customers gushing over their products. For instance, Amanda Sheldon-Warner writes:
“Thank you so much. Your customer service is amazing. Been using the gummies with my son for over 2 years now and they have made a world of a difference in our lives.”
“BEST customer service ever! The products have been amazing and I am a definite fan! Highly recommend!”
5. Charlotte’s Web
You can’t talk about CBD without discussing Charlotte’s Web. This is a company that should be on everyone’s radar for issues like pain and inflammation.
Charlotte’s Web is known for making some of the best CBD extracts, with people from all over the world coming to the U.S. to buy it.
But their story is one that truly stands out.
Charlotte’s Web hemp is grown in-house on the company’s Colorado farm. There is no mention of being certified organic, but the website says that they hope to change that shortly.
Organic or not, growing their own hemp lets Charlotte’s web closely monitor the entire process, from farming to extraction.
Most of their products use the advanced CO2 extraction method, but a few still rely on isopropyl alcohol. The latter could leave behind solvent traces.
Thankfully, third-party lab tests ensure safety – regardless of the solvent used – and are available on the website for customers to review.
Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies
Charlotte’s Web CBD gummies are made with full-spectrum hemp extract, providing the full range of benefits only whole-plant can provide.
Each serving is listed as two pieces, which contain a total of 10 mg of cannabidiol. This equates to 5 mg per piece.
- Sleep: (cannabidiol and melatonin)
- Recover: (cannabidiol with ginger and turmeric)
- Calm: (cannabidiol and lemon balm)
- 5 mg of CBD per gummy, with one serving (10 gm) being two gummies
- Comes in bottles of 30, 60, and 90
Full-spectrum whole plant extract like Charlotte’s Web provides the best effects but could give the gummies an earthy “hempy” taste.
These products reportedly have a powerful cannabis undertone, which is fine for those who like the taste, but people looking for flavor over function might want to go with something else.
Overall, Charlotte’s Web still holds its own against the biggest and brightest. Its use of whole plant extracts and CO2 extraction (most of the time) ensure the best final product possible for those taking CBD.
Like any good cannabidiol vendor, Charlotte’s Web also takes steps to be transparent, specifically through lab tests made available publicly.
Their gummy products are shockingly inexpensive compared to other products, and they even have a 15% discount for veterans.
Unfortunately, the low dose and lack of higher dosing options won’t cut it for heavy consumers.
The strong hemp flavor of whole plant extract is always the elephant in the room. This is a tradeoff that we can’t really avoid. Enjoying the health benefits of full-spectrum comes at the cost of flavor to some extent.
Charlotte’s Web has gained quite a following over the years, garnering praise for their products. For example, TrustPilot’s Carol Colegrove says:
“‘Hemp Extract-Infused Gummies for SLEEP” actually works like a charm! I got the raspberry flavor and it tastes like a gummie candy. Each serving has 10mg. Plant-Based Cannabinoids per serving that naturally relaxes; sleep comes easily. I can count on being sound asleep within 10minutes of chewing a serving.”
There’s no shortage of other good reviews. According to Pamela Carvin on CBDOilUsers.com :
“I have been using Charlotte’s Web Calm gummies for a little less than a year. I purchased the calm over the sleep because I’m not a big fan of melatonin. I take them an hour or so before bed and they do help me wind down and relax.”
CBDfx has been around longer than many of our favorite cannabidiol companies. Plenty of vendors rose and fell in the last few years, but CBDfx started strong and never lost its momentum. They’re proof that doing things right pays off.
Unlike most brands on our list, CBDfx doesn’t grow its own hemp. Instead, they say it’s “expertly-selected” from facilities that follow Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP). But despite not being actively involved in cultivation, they carefully chose a source that’s organically grown and non-GMO.
CO2 extraction is the method of choice at CBDfx, so we know that purity is something this company values. The resulting extract is then subjected to extensive third-party testing, with lab reports available on the website.
CBDfx CBD Gummies
CBDfx CBD gummies made with broad-spectrum CBD extract. They check all the boxes from a dietary standpoint – organically sourced, vegan-friendly, and gluten-free.
- Gummy bears – mixed berry flavor
- CBD Gummies With Turmeric and Spirulina
- CBD Gummies With Melatonin for Sleep
- Multi-vitamin CBD Gummies for Men (A, C, D3, E, & B Complex), and Women (A, C, D3, E, B Complex, Calcium, & Zinc).
- 25 mg per gummy, with 50 mg per serving (two gummies)
- 60 gummies per bottle
- Acceptable for most diets (gluten-free, vegan)
There isn’t much to be said about taste because it doesn’t really seem to be a priority. The Gummy Bears and the turmeric variety were the only two flavored products, with mixed berry and agave sweetener, respectively.
CBDfx is a great company with deep roots. Its products are fairly-priced, considering they get a perfect score from us for hemp sourcing.
Using broad-spectrum extract is a great choice for people who want most of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes, minus any THC.
Let’s also not forget transparency and how CBDfx fully discloses its test results.
Another excellent thing about CBDfx is that they have many products to choose from beyond CBD gummies.
Mix all that with their 60-day money-back guarantee, and you have nothing to lose by trying CBDfx.
Our only real complaint is the complete lack of flavor options. This isn’t the first or last time we’ll see companies with so little taste variety, but CBDfx really misses the mark by basically giving the consumer no control over flavor choice.
CBDfx gummies have some excellent independent feedback. Lev Soltevic posts on CBD Top Reviews , saying:
“I am thoroughly impressed by the gummies! The taste is much better than other similar products and the effects were great. The only thing is that I love them so much I could eat them like candy, which obviously isn’t a good thing!”
Connor Marsh also adds to the conversation:
“CBDFx CBD gummies are perfect for vegans. I ordered this product for my mum, and she testified of the relaxation and pain relief effect she got after using them. I also love the fact the CBDFx provides lab testing results for each product on their website.”
7. Social CBD
Social CBD isn’t a household name, but it certainly acts like its larger counterparts. Known for its strict by-the-book approach, Social CBD won’t cut corners or omit information.
Social CBD fully admits that hemp isn’t certified organic, along with an explanation as to why. This is interesting, as most companies are intentionally vague or just don’t address sourcing at all.
Still, the company sources its hemp from Oregon farms that use “natural growing techniques,” free of chemical pesticides. The implication is that it’s not officially organic but very close to it.
Social CBD uses two different extraction techniques, depending on the product. Their broad-spectrum CBD is extracted through a distillation process, while they use ethanol for their isolates.
Social CBD subjects all its extracts to rigorous third-party testing publicly displays the lab reports online.
Social CBD Gummies
Social CBD CBD gummies are made from broad-spectrum CBD, with 25 mg of CBD per serving (two gummies). They take a similar approach to competitors like Charlotte’s web and CBDfx by creating specially-formulated CBD gummy product lines.
Available in “Original,” “Sleep,” and “Chill” options, Chill is the best for pain and inflammation. It’s the only choice that contains L-theanine , which is known to have potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
- Contains 12.5 mg of CBD per gummy (25mg per two-gummy serving)
- Available in packs of 10 and 60
- Specially-formulated based on therapeutic needs
Despite flavor limitation, what Social CBD offers is well-received. Reviewers usually say they enjoy the flavor. However, the broad-spectrum extract will always leave behind some plant taste.
Social CBD is an honest company with a lot of useful CBD information and reasonably-priced products.
The dose of CBD offered is good but could be higher since people with stronger symptoms need more than medium or low-dose gummies.
To our knowledge, Social SBD’s hemp isn’t certified organic but appears to come from sources that closely follow organic practices.
However, a huge letdown is that the company doesn’t use CO2 extraction, so they’re not as clean or efficient.
Social CBD has overwhelmingly favorable reviews on all its products. One review by “Blanca C” on the consumer website TrustSpot simply says:
“The Gummies worked great for me and the taste is good !”
“Leslie E” has a similarly brief – but powerful – review:
“Simply love. They work like a champ.”
8. Green Roads
An old company with a solid backstory, Green Roads has seen its share of adversity. Born in the middle of a regulatory war, it’s clear that the founders’ passion for CBD kept them going when so many others failed.
Green Roads’ hemp is sourced from U.S. Farms, but there’s no mention of it being organic or non-GMO. However, they do state that the hemp sources must meet or exceed basic criteria for hemp production and quality.
They use CO2 extraction, offering the cleanest possible product.
The company implements extensive testing in two stages. First, they test the raw hemp for contaminants. They test again with the final extract, with those reports available on the Green Roads website.
Green Roads CBD Gummies
- Rise N Shine Immune Support
- CBD Relax Bears
- Sleepy Zs CBD Gummies
- Between 10 and 25 mg per bear, depending on product choice
- Available in packs of two and 30
- Specially formulated for specific therapeutic effects
With no mention of flavor, it’s impossible for us to determine the taste based on the product descriptions. Independent user reviews are also sparse.
Green Roads’ passion for CBD really shines. Its extracts are clean and double-tested for extra safety, using full-spectrum whole plant extract for the best effect.
Clean CO2 extraction is the gold standard these days, so the fact that Green Roads uses it is a huge plus. Factor in the good price, and you have an overall fantastic product.
The only complaints we have are the hemp source – which isn’t organic or non-GMO – and lack of flavor options – a problem more common than not.
Although we don’t know about flavor based on the product page, Green Roads customers have good things to say about the taste and efficacy. For instance, “Jamye Conner” writes on TrustPilot :
“I didn’t realize before Green Roads that I could get migraine and anxiety relief without having to take Tylenol or something of that matter. I love the taste of the gummy bears and frogs! I will not turn back now!”
One particularly notable story comes from TrustPilot user “Marcia,” who explains:
“My experience with CBD 300 mg gummies has been excellent. I bought them for my 10 year old grandson that has been diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome…Having him on the gummies has been a blessing because in just 4 days from starting them, his Tourette’s symptoms were gone!”
CBDistillery is a classic example of what teamwork, dedication, and passion for CBD can do. It drove them to the huge presence they are today and keeps them going.
CBDistillery gets its extracts from certified American hemp. Although there’s no mention of organic or non-GMO, they advertise “natural growing practices,” which means the cultivators avoid the use of chemicals.
CBDistillery offers full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate products. The first two involve CO2 extraction, while they use ethanol for their isolates.
All products are third-party lab-tested, and customers can view those results on the company website.
CBDistillery CBD Gummies
CBDistillery’s CBD gummies are made with broad-spectrum CBD extract.
There are currently two options to choose from, specially made for either sleep or daytime use. These sugar-coated gummies are available in “Sleep CBD” and “Anytime CBD,” with the self-explanatory names.
Flavors are fixed, with Sleep CBD as mixed berry and Anytime CBD in tropical fruit.
- 30 mg of CBD per gummy
- 30 gummies per bottle
- Specially formulated for targeted effects
The sugary coating adds a sweetness that might please candy-lovers and help mask broad-spectrum’s cannabis taste.
CBDistillerry’s products are definitely worth a look. They’re transparent when it comes to testing results and made a good choice with choosing a producer who grows hemp naturally – albeit not with the “organic” stamp of approval.
As always, the CO2 extraction makes a difference, which they at least use for full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products.
Unfortunately, they suffer from the same shortcomings we mentioned with previous CBD companies, with few products to choose from and no room for flavor choice.
Still, with their 60-day “risk-free” money-back guarantee, there’s nothing to lose by giving them a try.
One thing we noticed was that CBDistillery’s gummies received mixed – mostly negative responses. For instance, one Reddit post by “theholidayarmadillO” says:
“So I decided to try gummies from CBDistillery for my anxiety and they’re 30mg and no THC. I decided to eat them in thirds though because I think 30mg would be too much for me.
Anyway, I did that this morning and for the rest of the day it felt like my heart was racing and had the WORST cotton mouth I’ve ever had lol.”
Keep in mind, CBD may not work for everyone.
PureKana is an interesting CBD vendor with a unique approach to CBD gummies. Their all-encompassing approach is easy to see with the products they offer.
PureKana’s CBD comes from Kentucky-grown non-GMO hemp, without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The word “organic” doesn’t appear in their description, choosing the term “naturally-grown” instead. In other words, they tried to emulate organic growing practices.
Once harvested, PureKana uses CO2 extraction to extract the CBD. They then have the final product third-party tested, with the results are available on the website.
PureKana CBD Gummies
PureKana CBD gummie s are made with CBD isolate. The gummies are available in several product lines, specially formulated with additional supplements and added cannabinoids, like CBN. Their “Regular” option contains only CBD and is available in mixed fruit, mango, and blue raspberry.
Their other products don’t mention any flavor and come labeled as “Sleep-Aid” (with melatonin and CBN), “Calm” (ashwagandha), “Immune” (zinc and elderberry); and “Apple Cider Vinegar” (apple cider vinegar added). We recommend “Calm” for pain and inflammation, but the regular CBD gummies may also help.
- Each gummy contains 25 mg of cannabidiol
- Available in bottles of 20, 40, or 60 pieces.
- Formulated for targeted effects
Using isolate doesn’t interfere with the flavor or add a “hempy” taste, so you get the best flavor possible. This flexibility also makes it easy to take supplements like apple cider vinegar.
But flavor enthusiasts should choose the regular CBD gummies if they want a true candy taste.
PureKana deserves respect for what it offers, but it has some issues too.
They made a good choice for their hemp source. CO2 extraction means a clean product, along with third-party testing to fully check for contaminants.
The clever formulations using herbal extracts also will work well for people seeking specific benefits.
Unfortunately, they use isolate, which isn’t the best choice for therapeutic use. Consumers sacrifice efficacy for better flavor.
PureKana is also rather expensive, going for nearly double the price as some competing – arguably better quality – brands.
Still, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to try their products risk-free.
Customers seem to love the company too. One TrustPilot user writes:
“I’ve tried many cbd products. PureKana is the cleanest and most consistently effective brand. I use the 5000mg for severe pain issues and at 73 years old, I am still able to run my boarding kennel 7 days a week. Thank you for an excellent product.”
Another brief review states:
“Excellent product, great taste, I always come back for more.”
It wasn’t easy compiling our 10 favorite CBD companies. There were many ways we could have ranked them based on other criteria. However, judging companies based on a balance of quality, purity, enjoyability, and reputation would provide a balanced approach to give lesser-known companies a fair chance.
Overall, there’s no perfect system, but our approach was designed to maintain objectivity while highlight key selling points. The result is a more informed public – something CBD customers could benefit from.
Pain and Inflammation Situation in the United States
Pain and inflammation are symptoms that can dramatically affect a person’s quality of life. Inflammation can be temporary and isolated – like with an injury – or chronic, involving conditions like IBS or arthritis. The same applies to pain, which comes in several forms with a seemingly infinite list of causes.
Although there appears to be a gap in pain statistics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in 2016 (the latest information), a little over 20% of U.S. adults suffer from chronic pain – that was fifty million people at the time of analysis.
This, of course, doesn’t include people nursing temporary pain, such as an injury. Otherwise, the numbers would be even higher. But each number represents someone who can benefit from CBD’s analgesic properties.
Inflammation is another broad-reaching symptom arising from a temporary issue or chronic health problems. According to the Chronic Disease Research Group , the latest statistics show chronic inflammation affecting anywhere from 14 million to 24 million people in the U.S.
It doesn’t help that in both cases, an aging population will inevitably cause those numbers to spike through inflammatory, painful age-related conditions like arthritis.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD’s diverse therapeutic properties don’t just appear out of nowhere. Behind the scenes is a complex system of compounds and receptors working together, keeping our bodies healthy and balanced.
Whether it’s pain, inflammation, stress, insomnia, or anything similar, CBD’s mechanism of action is the same.
The Endocannabinoid System
Before discussing how CBD works, we need to dive into the endocannabinoid system (ECS) . Without this network of receptors and bodily compounds, we wouldn’t be able to harness the benefits of phytocannabinoids like CBD and THC.
Speaking of cannabinoids, there are two types – phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. The former is what you’ll find externally in the cannabis plant. Endocannabinoids, on the other hand, are cannabinoids naturally produced in the body.
These endocannabinoids interact with special cannabinoid receptors, known as CB1 and CB2. The CB1 variety is concentrated in the brain and central nervous system. The CB2 group is mostly in the peripheral areas, including the immune system, digestive organs, bones, muscles, and reproductive organs. Some cannabinoids trigger both, others trigger just one, and some don’t interact directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors at all.
Endocannabinoids then work together to try and maintain homeostasis, a state of healthy balance where everything works properly.
How CBD Works
Like all phytocannabinoids, CBD relies on the endocannabinoid system to take effect. However, it doesn’t bind well with the CB receptors . Instead, CBD indirectly impacts the CB1 and CB2 receptors through other pathways.
But despite its seemingly “hands-off” mechanism, it doesn’t detract from CBD’s effects. However, there’s one more thing at play.
The Entourage Effect
One of the biggest discoveries in cannabis history is the “entourage effect”. This is a huge missing piece in explaining why some strains work differently or better than others. It also reveals how other compounds play a key role in the therapeutic and recreational effects of cannabis.
The entourage effect refers to a synergistic relationship between different cannabinoids and terpenes. In short, these compounds work together, supporting and boosting their therapeutic properties. This is why we value broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD over isolates for pain and inflammation.
What Studies Say About CBD Gummies for Pain and Inflammation
Once virtually dismissed by the medical community, CBD continues to break the cannabis stigma and placed itself as a leading health and wellness product.
There’s no shortage of reports about CBD helping patients improve or alleviate certain symptoms. However, most of CBD’s therapeutic effects haven’t received enough research to know for sure.
CBD Gummies for Pain
Arthritis patients are in a tough spot because they get the combined package of both pain and inflammation. They typically consume it in gummies or other edibles, but topical creams are also available for a more focused effect.
Although there are many treatments for the 63 million Americans currently who have arthritis (a number projected to hit 78 million by 2045)
For example, a 2016 study originally published in the European Journal of Pain found that CBD administered to the skin showed analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties with no side effects.
The effectiveness of edible CBD for pain is promising but not totally conclusive – at least according to one study on humans in 2020 tested CBD on patients with intractable chronic pain. The findings varied. In some cases, the effects were the same as placebo. Other experiments noted high levels of pain relief.
But don’t feel discouraged. The news from animals is a lot more conclusive – and promising for dog owners.
One 2018 study by Frontiers in Veterinary Science tested CBD oil at 2 mg/kg and 8 mg/kg on dogs with osteoarthritis. They applied this treatment for four weeks, then examined the results.
It was clear that the dogs were acting more comfortably, showing increased mobility and activity.
Like most of CBD’s benefits, we need more solid research. But so far, most of what we’ve observed shows promise, as do the millions of pain sufferers whose lives improved thanks to CBD.
CBD Gummies for Inflammation
When we think of inflammation, most of us likely imagine arthritis, sprains, or strains. But inflammation can happen anywhere, and edible CBD always seems to provide a solution.
For example, a 2009 publication examined the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD on the gastrointestinal tract. It concludes that CBD can help with certain conditions caused by GI inflammation, such as IBS.
Speaking of internal inflammation, another study gave more insight into what CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can do. An experiment on mice with type 1 diabetes discovered that CBD reduced inflammation of the pancreas. Although this study was done on animals, the results could have huge implications for diabetes patients.
But it appears that CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits are far-reaching, according to one 2015 publication in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. The authors examined the way CBD interacts with our bodies and found a wide range of anti-inflammatory applications.
Why CBD Gummies are Great for Pain and Inflammation
At their core, CBD gummies are great for pain and inflammation because they contain CBD. But not all CBD products are alike. There are excellent reasons to choose CBD gummies as your method of choice.
CBD gummies can taste great, but there’s a lot more function than fashion with these products.
These products are easy to carry. Just store a few in your bag, pocket, or lunch box, and you’re ready to go.
There’s also no mess with CBD gummies. Oils – despite their popularity – are a bad choice if you’re concerned about spills.
Discretion is one of the biggest advantages you’ll get from CBD gummies. Some people aren’t very accepting of cannabis, even if it’s THC-free. Gummies don’t emit a kind of hemp smell so that you won’t tip off any nosy or judgmental people.
Dosing can be imprecise with some methods. A proper dose can make the difference between a good CBD experience and total disappointment. Although the dosing process itself should be gradual and is mostly trial and error, gummies make that process easier with precise dosages advertised on the product label.
How Many CBD Gummies to Take for Pain and Inflammation
Unfortunately, dosing CBD is something that eludes us. There are so many variables – CBD product, compounds, sex, weight, tolerance, and more – that we can’t provide a definite number. The best approach is the classic “start low and go slow.”
Begin with the lowest dose possible (2.5 to 5 mg). Gradually increase the dose every few days as needed.
You may be tempted to go all-in and take a huge dose right away. This is a bad idea. One study on rats found that CBD in large doses isn’t any more effective than when taken in smaller amounts. They found that 6.2 mg per day worked just as well at reducing arthritis symptoms compared to 62.3 mg per day.
Slowly introducing CBD gives the body time to adapt and ensures you don’t exceed the ideal dose.
CBD Gummies Bioavailability and Edible CBD
Despite there being over 100 known cannabinoids, one thing they share in common is bioavailability. This refers to the amount leftover (in this case, CBD) for your body to actually use after being processed by the lungs, skin, or digestive system.
Unfortunately, edible CBD – including gummies – has the worst bioavailability, coming at only 13 to 19%, according to one publication . This means that if you consume 100 mg of CBD, you’ll only end up using 13 to 19 mg. It’s an unfortunate consequence of CBD being processed by the liver and gut.