We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
Was this helpful?

CBD oil helps some people manage their back pain, and growing research suggests it can safely ease soreness and discomfort.

Healthline has sole editorial control over this article. Potential uses for the products listed here are not health claims made by the manufacturers. The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. It’s not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a healthcare professional. Healthline encourages you to make any treatment decisions with your healthcare professional.

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a substance that comes from cannabis. While cannabis is teeming with cannabinoids, CBD is one of the more buzzed about thanks to its potential health benefits, such as improved sleep and decreased pain and anxiety.

CBD’s growing popularity has sparked an overflowing market of CBD lotions, salves, gummies, bath bombs, and oil drops, which are one of the most popular product types.

In a 2020 study, 46% of CBD consumers who participated reported using drops, compared with only 26% who used topicals and 23% who used edibles.

Despite the seemingly endless selection of trendy CBD products, many people are simply looking for a reliable, no-frills CBD option for back pain. A high quality oil may help.

In fact, a 2022 review on the efficacy and safety of CBD for chronic pain suggests CBD is a suitable alternative to opioids for chronic pain because it’s nonintoxicating.

There’s nothing about one particular CBD oil that makes it more helpful for back pain specifically.

Rather, any high quality CBD oil may have the potential to help alleviate pain.

That said, we chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:

  • is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • is made with hemp grown in the United States
  • contains no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

We also considered:

  • company certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:

Before reaching into your wallet, keep in mind that not all CBD is created equal.

It’s always best to look for a product that comes with an up-to-date, comprehensive COA from a reputable third-party lab.

Here’s what to check the COA for:

  • Consistency: Check out the potency of CBD and THC. Does the information match what’s on the product page and label? While a little variation is typical, if what you’re seeing is off by more than 10–20%, it may be best to move on to another brand.
  • Currency: Is the COA up to date, preferably within the last year?
  • Contaminants: Has the CBD item undergone testing for molds, heavy metals, and pesticides?

It’s also a good idea to shop only from companies with a positive brand reputation. A reliable and trustworthy brand is transparent about where they grow their hemp and how their products are made.

A quick online search can usually show you whether the brand has been involved in any lawsuits or received a warning letter from the FDA.

Online reviews can also be a good indicator of quality and customer service. However, keep in mind that reviews on the company’s website may be filtered to display only happy customers, so dig around on third-party sites, too, if you can.

It’s always a good idea to start out with a small dose and increase it over time until you find what works best for you.

If you’re taking CBD under your tongue, here’s what to do:

  • Shake it: Give the bottle a good shake before using it. That way, you’ll get the best consistency.
  • Place it: Using the dropper (most oils come with one), place the proper dose under your tongue. Try to keep the dropper from touching your mouth. This will help keep bacterial contamination at bay and maintain the oil’s quality.
  • Hold it: For the strongest absorption, keep the oil under your tongue for anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes before ingesting it.

If you don’t like the taste of CBD oil under your tongue, consider mixing it into food or drinks, although this may affect absorption rates.

Generally, doses can be taken at any time of day, at least 4–6 hours apart.

Effects typically happen within 30–90 minutes, but long-term results may take a number of weeks to occur.

Store CBD oils with the cap closed tightly in a dry, cool place, away from direct heat and sunlight.

While there isn’t necessarily research on CBD for back pain specifically, there are several promising studies on CBD for general pain.

A 2018 review evaluated CBD’s effectiveness in easing chronic pain. The researchers looked at studies performed between 1975 and 2018 that investigated several forms of pain, including:

Researchers not only found that CBD was useful in overall pain management but also reported that it didn’t cause negative side effects.

A 2020 study noted a link between CBD use and decreased chronic pain. In fact, 94% of participants saw improvements in their quality of life.

Finally, a 2020 trial involving 29 participants suggested that topical CBD may help reduce severe pain, sharp pain, and even cold, itchy feelings.

Ingested CBD oil effects may differ from topical effects.

Topical products such as CBD creams allow you to apply the product directly to the desired area, but they can be a bit messy to apply and travel with.

While topicals are great for quick, concentrated relief to a specific area, oils taken under your tongue have a systemic effect. They take longer to kick in but may be more effective at managing pain than a topical. Still, some people prefer localized pain relief and experience improvement from topical CBD products.

A 2023 pilot study on the effectiveness of topical CBD found a significant improvement in self-reported pain levels from participants.

The study also found topical CBD was well tolerated: 50% reported minor adverse effects, while the other 50% reported no adverse effects.

Though, it’s important to note the study was small and relied on self-reported data from elite athletes.

If you’re interested in topical CBD for back pain, consider CBD patches, which are less messy than many other topical options. They also work well on the go.

While CBD is generally considered safe, some people may experience side effects, including:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight

It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before trying CBD, especially if you’re taking any medications. CBD may interact with some medications, especially those with a grapefruit warning.

Use caution when consuming CBD products by mouth alongside high fat meals. High fat meals can dramatically increase CBD blood concentrations, which can increase the risk of side effects.

For long-term use, CBD oil may have an accumulative effect and help decrease inflammation and pain over time. However, more research is needed to confirm this.

Research is limited on the effects of CBD oils on back pain, but a handful of studies have shown a positive relationship between chronic pain in general and CBD use.

Research from 2021 involving 300 people and nine different surgeons. CBD oil was the most popular formulation for 64% of respondents, and 46% of all respondents reported pain relief from CBD.

Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD oil is an effective method for treating pain.

Research is limited on how long it takes for CBD to help with pain relief. Age, weight, what you eat along with CBD, whether you take it on an empty stomach, and other factors can affect how well and how quickly your body absorbs CBD.

The results can also vary based on the dose, quality of CBD product, severity of pain, and root cause of the back pain.

There’s still a lot to learn as more research is done on CBD. However, what we do know is that our bodies have an endocannabinoid system, which naturally produces endocannabinoids as it needs them.

This system is thought to support a variety of cognitive and physiological processes. It works when the endocannabinoids bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Taking CBD oil introduces phytocannabinoids — cannabinoids that come from plants instead of those that naturally occur in the body — and may help further support our bodies by interacting with our endocannabinoid receptors to reduce inflammation.

We’re essentially giving our bodies more cannabinoids that can bind to more receptors to support the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in how we handle stress, combat inflammation, digest food, and much more.

CBD products are celebrated for a slew of therapeutic benefits, including helping manage conditions like back pain.

CBD oils are generally administered by using a dropper to place the dose under your tongue or by mixing an oil into your food or drink.

Remember to pay attention to the labeling, dosing, and quality of the brands you shop from. Always talk with your doctor before trying CBD.

Is CBD legal? The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

Breanna Mona is a writer based in Cleveland, OH. She holds a master’s degree in media and journalism and writes about health, lifestyle, and entertainment.