Understanding CBD (Cannabidiol) for Back Pain
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a new and relatively understudied treatment for pain, including back pain. Studies suggest it may help relieve inflammation, which is often a factor in chronic back pain. 1
CBD is available in many forms; topical creams and gels have shown promising results for inflammation and neuropathy, which may make them a good option for back and neck pain. 2
CBD requires more research in order to prove and explain its effectiveness as well as to better understand potential side effects (especially long-term) and potential drug interactions.
What Is CBD?
CBD oil is derived from a plant called cannabis sativa. The plant has over 100 chemical compounds, called cannabinoids, that have a range of effects, including anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) qualities.
The cannabis sativa plant has two main varieties that are grown for specific purposes:
- THC content. THC is the compound associated with the “high” feeling of marijuana use.
- Industrial (non-drug) uses. This form of the plant contains trace amounts of THC (less than .03%) and can be used to make paper, clothing, and some building material. This variation of the cannabis plant is called hemp.
While CBD is present in both varieties, many of the CBD products available to consumers are from the hemp plant. CBD does not come with the high or psychogenic effects of marijuana.
Ways CBD Treats Back Pain
Research indicates that CBD may reduce back pain by:
- Reducing inflammation 3
- Combating anxiety, often associated with long-lasting or chronic back pain 4
- Helping with sleep and improving overall state of relaxation 5
Some studies suggest that CBD can have an effect on how an individual perceives pain, but more robust research is needed. CBD is generally considered a full-body treatment, which means that it does not target back pain specifically—except in the case of topical products—but contributes to an overall feeling of relaxation and pain relief.
Advocates of CBD believe it can be used to treat a range of conditions in addition to back pain, such as anxiety-related disorders. 5
Potential Risks and Side Effects of CBD
Cannabidiol, even in high amounts, is generally safe. Side effects from CBD may include:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
More severe side effects, while rare, include:
- Mental confusion
As with other natural products, there is potential for adverse reactions when taken with other medications, especially those that come with grapefruit warnings, such as certain blood thinners. These warnings indicate that certain medications should not be taken with products containing grapefruit.
CBD use prior to surgery
Before having surgery, all cannabis use, including CBD and marijuana, should be disclosed to the surgeon or anesthesiologist. A recent study suggests that cannabis use may have an effect on medications used to sedate patients. 6
Considering Different CBD Products for Back Pain
Many forms of cannabidiol (CBD) products are available and have potential for alleviating back pain. CBD is relatively new to the health and wellness industry. Some products may make claims not supported by scientific evidence or may not actually contain potent levels of CBD.
There are many types of CBD products available, including edibles, oils, tinctures, and creams. These products are available over-the-counter at stores and online.
Considerations When Choosing CBD Products
Because of the abundance of types and companies that produce them, there are certain testing and labeling elements a person should look for when considering CBD products.
- Third-party testing. Look for products that have been tested by a company other than the one selling it. Third-party testers are concerned with the ingredients regardless of what the manufacturer says.
- Clear and accurate labeling. Manufacturers should make testing results accessible and easy to understand on the label and online.
- Continuous testing. Each “batch” of a product can vary in quality and content. Reliable manufacturers regularly test their products and will update the testing results on the labels and online.
CBD products are unregulated by the FDA. Because of this, it is important to read labels carefully and discuss any concerns with a health care provider.
Types of CBD Products Available
Currently, there are no CBD products available that specifically treat back pain. Some of the most common CBD products that may be used to treat back pain include:
- Oils. CBD oil can be taken orally, vaporized, or mixed into beverages. Generally, oil is what is used in other CBD products, such as creams, and sprays, but can also be used alone. CBD oil-filled capsules are also available, which provide the ability to more accurately determine dosing (for example, taking 450 mg vs. 3000 mg).
- Tinctures. A tincture is made by soaking cannabis flowers in alcohol for an extended period of time. This process will extract the CBD into a more concentrated form than found in most CBD oil products. Generally, tincture bottles are designed with a built-in dropper so a person can take one drop or several. Tinctures can be used on their own or mixed with food or beverage.
- Edibles. CBD can be mixed into foods and drinks. They can also be made at home by mixing CBD oil or tinctures into food and drinks. Examples include baked goods, gummies, and chocolates.
- Creams and gels. CBD-infused lotions are considered topical because they are applied to the skin. CBD-infused creams and gels are absorbed by the skin, which makes them a good solution to back or neck pain, and they have been shown to reduce inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
Choosing the correct CBD product to alleviate back pain symptoms may require trial and error in order to find the correct delivery method and dosing.
Consumers of CBD are encouraged to stay informed about regulations surrounding products.
Best CBD Oil for Back Pain: How Does It Help?
Although back pain can affect different people regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle, the range of medicinal products available is quite limited.
Cannabidiol (CBD) in recent times has been identified as an alternative option for the treatment of different types of pain, particularly back pain.
CBD oil has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for pain; however, research shows that applying CBD oil topically has helped reduce certain types of pain (including back pain) and inflammation.
This article sheds more light on the use of CBD for back pain. We explore the potential benefits, the risks, and share our tips on finding high-quality CBD products.
Best CBD Oil for Back Pain: Top 10 Brands for 2022
– Best Full Spectrum CBD Oil for Back Pain – Best Organic CBD Oil for Back Pain
- Green Roads – Runner Up
- Tasty Hemp Oil – Best Flavor
- CBDfx – Best Variety
- cbdMD – Good Value
- Charlotte’s Web – Most Popular Brand
- PlusCBD Oil – Strongest CBD Oil
- Medterra – Best for Daytime Use
- Joy Organics – Best Customer Service
1. Royal CBD – Best Full Spectrum CBD Oil for Back Pain
|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.
Royal CBD shows great dedication to quality, taking their job very seriously. The color, flavor, and consistency of its CBD oil are spot-on, indicating that we’re dealing with a premium product.
The oil is relatively inexpensive for the quality and potency of CBD it offers. It comes in a full range of strengths, from 250 mg to 2500 mg of CBD. Moreover, the company uses full-spectrum CBD, so you can benefit from the entourage effect created by the other cannabinoids and terpenes.
It’s by far the best CBD oil for back pain we’ve tried. After using the 2500 mg strength for just over a week, we’ve noticed an improvement in overall physical discomfort as well as in the back pain after spending several hours behind the desk.
If you don’t like the natural flavor of CBD oil, Royal CBD has you covered with three delicious flavors, including mint, berry, and citrus.
- US-grown organic hemp
- Extracted with CO2
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- Up to 2500 mg of CBD per bottle
- Lab-tested for quality and safety
- Great natural flavors
- Free shipping
- No physical presence (only available online)
2. Gold Bee – Best Organic CBD Oil for Back Pain
Gold Bee makes hands down the best CBD oil for back pain formulated with organic ingredients. The company combines its premium California-grown hemp with organic honey sourced from Brazillian Rainforest.
Although these oils aren’t available in such a broad range of potencies as the products from Royal CBD, the 1200 mg strength is a good pick for both beginners and experienced users alike. It carries enough CBD to combat moderate back pain, so if you live with physical discomfort that makes it difficult for you to get through the night without waking up, we highly recommend this product.
On top of 40 mg of CBD in every milliliter, the extract contains supportive cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and traces of THC. And, if you dislike the natural flavor of CBD oil, the company still has a few other formats to choose from, such as its delicious gummies and CBD-infused honey sticks.
- Organic hemp
- Infused with superfoods
- 1200 mg of CBD per bottle
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- Only one strength is available
3. Green Roads
As reported by the Brightfield Research Group, Green Roads is one of the largest CBD suppliers in the USA. The company offers a wide range of pharmaceutical-grade products, such as oils, capsules, gummies, topicals, and even products for pets.
The company boasts a broad selection of CBD oils in different strengths, flavors, and cannabinoid spectra. You can choose from the following potencies:
The strongest version provides a hefty dose of 50 mg of CBD. You can buy these oils in a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum variant depending on your preferences around the THC content. They are available in three flavor variants: Natural Kiwi Bliss, and Mint Freeze. You can also order sample packs that carry “daily doses” of 25 mg of CBD per syringe.
We’ve found the 1500 mg strength to be the best effective option for moderate to severe pain, but for milder pain and lightweight users, the lower potencies may be just as effective.
- Pharmacist-formulated products
- A diverse range of CBD products
- Third-party tested
- Available as full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate
- No specific information about the source of hemp
- Limited potency options
4. Tasty Hemp Oil
Tasty Hemp Oil is a Michigan-based company providing a wide range of CBD products from domestically-grown hemp plants.
The Tasty Hemp Oil line is formulated with full-spectrum CBD, including its raw version, CBDA. The extract has been enhanced with synergistic terpenes for added efficacy against back pain; the terpenes come from plants such as hemp and clary sage.
Similar to Green Roads, Tasty Hemp offers three strengths of CBD oil: 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 1500 mg. You can also choose between different flavors, such as Natural, Spearmint, Vanilla, and Berry.
- US-grown hemp
- Full-spectrum CBD
- 3 flavored options
- Up to 50 mg of CBD in every milliliter
- Enriched with terpenes
- Lab-tested for quality and safety
- No high-strength oils
- A bit more expensive than competitors
CBDfx was founded in 2014 during the boom on CBD. Over the last several years, the company has grown to a large manufacturer in the CBD sector, hiring over 100 employees across the country.
The CBDfx CBD oil tincture has been created for helping users feel calm and relaxed. It comes infused with CBN for an extra sedative effect to help you sleep better if you suffer from chronic back pain.
This is a full-spectrum extract, so you will enjoy more compounds than in isolates or broad-spectrum versions. Having several strengths in its assortment, CBDfx caters to different types of CBD consumers. They include 500 mg, 1000 mg, 2000 mg, and 4000 mg of CBD per bottle.
- Non-GMO hemp
- Available in different cannabinoid spectra
- Up to 4000 mg of CBD per bottle
- Third-party tested for quality and safety
- Scarce information about the company
- Strict return policy
cbdMD is another popular brand that offers a broad selection of CBD products, from oils to gummies to capsules to topicals, sleep aids, bath bombs, and pet products.
The company boasts a wide range of pure CBD oils, with up to 7500 mg of CBD per bottle. The strongest version provides a whopping dose of 200 mg of isolate-derived CBD suspended in MCT oil for better absorption and smoother taste. cbdMD also has some flavored oils in its collection, including Mint, Berry, and Orange.
The reason why we didn’t place cbdMD higher on our list of the best CBD oils for back pain lies in their cannabinoid spectrum. These are pure CBD oils, meaning you won’t find any supportive cannabinoids or terpenes in them. The higher strength may not translate into higher efficacy as a result.
On a positive note, cbdMD is a very transparent company. The team broadly describes its production process from farming to testing — also providing up-to-date certificates of analysis for its products.
- US-grown hemp
- CO2 extraction
- Up to 7500 mg of CBD per bottle
- Up-to-date lab reports
- No entourage effect
- The 7500 mg strength is overkill for most users
- Flavored options could taste better
7. Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web is a company that doesn’t need an introduction, but in case you didn’t know, this is one of the pioneer brands in the American CBD industry. Founded by Stanley Brothers, the company has earned a reputation of a trustworthy manufacturer by helping Charlotte Figi treat her rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Despite receiving a few warning letters from the FDA throughout its activity, Charlotte’s Web remains one of the most reputable companies in the country.
Charlotte’s Web CBD oil comes in several strengths: 200 mg, 500 mg, 1500 mg, and 1800 mg of CBD per bottle. The highest concentration provides 60 mg of full-spectrum CBD per milliliter. You can choose from two sizes: 30 mL and 100 mL. There are also flavored versions, including Orange Blossom, Lemon Twist, and Mint Chocolate.
Unfortunately, the company uses a slightly old-fashioned extraction method, which involves olive oil as a solvent. So, these products may not offer the highest bioavailability, not to mention that they have a bitter taste (even in the flavored versions) due to the presence of olive oil.
- One of the most established names in the industry
- US-grown hemp
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Up to 1800 mg of CBD per bottle
- Two sizes available: 30 mL and 100 mL
- Third-party tested for potency and purity
- Non-organic hemp
- Suspended in olive oil (tastes bitter)
- The company received two warning letters from the FDA in the past regarding inappropriate health claims
8. PlusCBD Oil
PlusCBD oil has multiple options for its CBD drops, including 250 mg, 300 mg, 750 mg, 1500 mg, and 3000 mg of CBD. These oils are available in different flavors, such as peppermint, lemon ginger, dark chocolate, and unflavored.
The Maximum Strength Formula features full-spectrum CBD extracts sourced from organic hemp grown on local US farms, although the company doesn’t specify the exact locations.
Unlike many products on the market, this CBD oil doesn’t come with a pipette. Instead, it uses a pump that allows the user to better schedule their dosage according to the instructions on the bottle. Another advantage of PlusCBD oils is that they’re sweetened with monk fruit instead of aspartame or sucralose, which only adds to the overall quality.
Unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer any formulations that would be targeted specifically for back pain, such as additional anti-inflammatory terpenes or cannabinoids such as CBN or CBDA.
- Non-GMO hemp
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Up to 3000 mg of CBD per bottle
- Flavored with natural ingredients
- Some of the products only come with basic lab reports
- No information about the exact source of hemp
- Some consumers have been complaining about poor customer service
Medterra started out as a small artisan company from California. The brand offers high-quality CBD oils in different cannabinoid spectra, including full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate.
Each spectrum is available in different potencies, from 500 to 3000 mg of CBD. Aside from the unflavored version, there are two flavored options: Chocolate and Citrus.
The company prides itself on making the real full-spectrum CBD because each bottle of its full-spectrum CBD oil comes with 2 mg of THC, which enhances the health benefits of CBD for back pain. However, this version is only available in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. If you’re looking for products that are legal on a federal level, your choice is limited to full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.
10. Joy Organics
Joy Organics is one of the most esteemed companies in the CBD space. The brand was founded by a woman named Joy Smith, who has been using CBD oil to manage her problems with back pain and sleep. After witnessing the health benefits of CBD, she decided to run her own brand and share her passion for hemp with other people who need relief from their ailments.
The company offers a wide range of broad-spectrum CBD products from certified organic hemp. It has many positive reviews on third-party websites and hasn’t received any warning letter from the FDA regarding health claims — which is becoming more common even among industry’s veterans.
The Joy Organic CBD oil is available in a narrow potency range, from 450 mg to 900 mg of CBD per bottle. Both strengths come in three refreshing flavors: SUmmer Lemon, Fresh Lime, and Tranquil Mint. The strongest option contains 30 mg of broad-spectrum CBD per mL, which is a standard dose for most people who take CBD oil as a daily supplement.
That being said, people with stronger back pain may need more CBD in their daily routine, making these oils cost-prohibitive in the long run. In 2018, one of the company’s flavored oils was found to contain a fungicide that is commonly added to citrus fruit during third-party lab testing. Fortunately, Joy Organics quickly withdrew the product after this incident and applied a new third-party testing system to ensure no flaws like this appear in its next products.
- Non-GMO, US-grown hemp
- CO2 extraction
- Delicious flavors
- A bit expensive for broad-spectrum CBD
- No high-strength CBD oils for severe back pain
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid — a compound derived from cannabis plants. It is extracted alongside other cannabinoids like the more notorious tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound responsible for the feeling of euphoria.
CBD has no intoxicating properties because it doesn’t bind to the same receptors as THC. Some CBD types such as full-spectrum CBD have trace amounts of THC; however, this isn’t enough to cause any tangible feelings of euphoria.
How Does CBD Oil Work for Back Pain?
Although the research on CBD does not exactly detail the specific effects on back pain, studies on general pain have been very promising. A review in 2018 showed how effective CBD was for reducing chronic pain which is best for fibromyalgia treatment, neuropathic pain, and cancer pain relief.
It was also found out that CBD had fewer side effects when compared to other pain-relieving drugs such as opioids.
In 2019, a study linked the use of CBD with a reduction in chronic pain as a huge majority of participants saw a marked amelioration in their conditions with little or no side effects.
A trial in 2020 showed that CBD may be useful in reducing severe and sharp pains when applied topically. It was also shown to lessen cold and itchy conditions.
The Arthritis Foundation posits that there is evidence suggesting that CBD reduced pain levels in arthritis patients, although it can’t ascertain currently if the topical products reached the site of the pain.
CBD reduces pain mostly by targeting inflammation. It can also change the way pain signals are transmitted to the brain, not to mention relief from anxiety caused by chronic physical discomfort. Simply put, CBD uses a multi-faceted approach to treating pain.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
It depends on the source of CBD.
Marijuana-derived CBD oils are legal in certain states, but they are still illegal at a federal level. Hemp-derived products, on the other hand, are federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
You don’t need a prescription to buy CBD oil in the USA as long as it comes from hemp.
However, there are certain limits when it comes to presenting CBD in the media — be it online or through traditional channels.
Currently, marketing CBD as a dietary supplement or as a food additive is illegal according to the FDA.
The only approved CBD drug is Epidiolex, an anti-seizure prescription medication. The absence of data on the safety of CBD and possible risks that can be encountered is the main reason for the non-approval of more CBD products.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of CBD Oil?
CBD has a very decent safety profile; however, some people may experience minor side effects ranging from fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, and even diarrhea.
CBD can also interact with a lot of medications by compromising your liver’s ability to process them. That’s why consulting a doctor is required if you take any medication and are considering adding CBD oil to your daily routine.
What Kinds of CBD Products Are There?
CBD is used in a wide range of products although most are not yet approved by the FDA. Some of these products include:
Types of CBD
The three main types of CBD are so classified based on their cannabinoid profile:
Full Spectrum CBD
This type of CBD has a good number of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and traces of THC. While this is not enough to give a high associated with consuming cannabis, it increases the therapeutic profile of the end product. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect and is the main reason why full-spectrum CBD is considered superior to other formats.
Broad Spectrum CBD
The broad-spectrum type of CBD also contains other cannabinoids, except for THC. This is certainly more suitable for people who would like to benefit from the entourage effect but want to avoid even trace amounts of THC showing up on a drug test.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. It is usually odorless and tasteless and comes in a powder or crystal form. However, it may be less potent overall due to the lack of the entourage effect.
Types of Back Pain
Back pains are typically described based on location, cause, and duration. During prognosis, knowing these details could help the doctor diagnose the type of back pain and recommend a possible treatment.
Usually, back pains manifest as either acute back pains or chronic back pains. Generally, acute back pains only last for a few days, and most of the time, they are resolved without the need to use medication. On the other hand, chronic back pains can last for weeks and even months if the proper medication is not used.
Certain causes of back pain include:
- Nervous system problems
- Spinal cord issues
- Kidney stones
Certain lifestyles, habits, and body physiology can also cause pains in the upper and lower back regions. This includes old age, bad posture alignment, heavy lifting, and other medical conditions.
Summary: Should You Use CBD Oil for Back Pain?
The limited research around CBD oils and their effect prevents scientists and regulatory agencies from making absolute statements about the effectiveness of CBD oil for the treatment of back pain.
Although CBD has not been fully accepted into the health community, the findings from the current research, as well as positive reviews from its users suggest that it can be a safe and effective treatment for different types of pain.
If you’re considering adding CBD oil to your supplementation plan, make sure to consult a holistic doctor experienced in cannabis use. Doing so will help you figure out the best dosage to start with — not to mention that a consultation with a qualified professional can help you avoid negative CBD-drug interactions.
Do you take CBD oil for back pain? Let us know if it helps you by leaving a comment in the section below!
- Bruni, N., Della Pepa, C., Oliaro-Bosso, S., Pessione, E., Gastaldi, D., & Dosio, F. (2018). Cannabinoid delivery systems for pain and inflammation treatment. Molecules, 23(10), 2478.
- Cather, J. C., & Cather, J. C. (2020, July). Cannabidiol primer for healthcare professionals. In Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings (Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 376-379). Taylor & Francis.
- Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain‐related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. European Journal of Pain, 20(6), 936-948.
- Nitecka-Buchta, A., Nowak-Wachol, A., Wachol, K., Walczyńska-Dragon, K., Olczyk, P., Batoryna, O., … & Baron, S. (2019). Myorelaxant effect of transdermal cannabidiol application in patients with TMD: a randomized, double-blind trial. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(11), 1886.
- Eskander, J. P., Spall, J., Spall, A., Shah, R. V., & Kaye, A. D. (2020). Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment of acute and chronic back pain: A case series and literature review. Journal of opioid management, 16(3), 215-218.
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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