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More research is needed on CBD’s effect on joint pain, but some initial animal studies suggest it may help with pain relief. Our picks follow.

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.

Cannabis plants contain naturally occurring chemicals called cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of those chemicals — and it’s cropping up everywhere in the wellness world lately.

But CBD is different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s because it’s much less likely to produce the “high” feeling often associated with cannabis.

Using CBD products, like CBD oil, can help some people manage chronic joint pain. It may be a viable alternative to other substances used to manage pain, like opioids or immunosuppressants.

That being said, it’s important to talk with your healthcare professional before replacing any medication with CBD. Keep in mind that more research is necessary before we can definitively say that CBD helps joint pain.

Additionally, know that while CBD products are widely available for purchase, they aren’t regulated in the same way as other medications. Epidiolex, a prescription medication for epilepsy, is the only CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other CBD products you see for sale are not FDA approved.

Below, we explore the potential benefits of CBD oil for joint pain.

Research into how CBD actually interacts with the body is still ongoing, but it seems to affect pain receptors.

According to a 2022 study that looked at the results of an anonymous questionnaire conducted over 6 months in 2020, CBD use was associated with improved perceived effects on symptoms of arthritis.

However, studies on CBD for joint pain have primarily been done on animals.

A 2017 study found that it may be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis joint pain.

A 2016 study found that a daily dose of 6.2 milligrams (mg) of CBD gel helped decrease joint pain and inflammation in rats with arthritis. Larger amounts, up to 62.3 mg per day, produced the same results but didn’t further reduce pain or produce more side effects.

While anecdotal reports suggest that CBD helps treat joint pain, like rheumatoid arthritis, more studies in humans are needed to understand the benefits of CBD for joint pain.

CBD oilPriceCBD typeCBD potency (mg)
CBDistillery ahhh distilled Full Spectrum CBD Oil$45full-spectrum500
FOCL Premium Broad-Spectrum CBD Drops$59broad-spectrum1,000
Medterra Isolate CBD Oil$39.99isolate1,000
Aspen Green Bliss Full-Spectrum CBD Oil$139.99full-spectrum3,350
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil$119.99full-spectrum1,800
Soul CBD Oil Drops$62isolate500

We used standards for safety, quality, and transparency to make our selections. Each product selected:

  • is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • is made by a company that discloses the source of their hemp
  • contains no more than 0.3% THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • passes tests for pesticides, molds, or heavy metals, according to the COA

We also consider the following when making our product picks:

  • company certifications and manufacturing processes
  • CBD potency
  • ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
    • customer reviews
    • whether the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter
    • whether the company makes any unsupported health claims

Keep in mind that any CBD oil may help relieve joint pain. But some oils have additional ingredients, like camphor or essential oils, to help reduce pain or produce a sense of calm.

Interested in other CBD products?

Our evidence-driven reviews and comparisons break down the top CBD oils, gummies, creams, and more so you can feel confident choosing what’s right for you.

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Pros

  • Easy to use: Whether you’re going with CBD massage oil or an ingestible CBD oil, CBD products are fairly easy to use.
  • Variety of potencies: Many high potency CBD oils are available on the market, but you can find low potency products as well. This makes it easy to find something that works for your pain level.
  • Few side effects: Experts seem to agree that using CBD is relatively safe and shouldn’t produce serious side effects in most people. But it’s still important to talk with your healthcare professional before you take CBD, especially if you take any medications or supplements.

Cons

  • Potential allergic reactions: When using topical CBD products, there’s always a possibility that you may experience a skin reaction. That’s why it’s best to patch test before applying topical CBD oil.
  • More studies needed: We need more clinical research to say that CBD can definitively help treat joint pain.
  • May interact with medications: Note that CBD may interact with certain medications and supplements. This includes those with a grapefruit warning, such as some blood pressure, heart rhythm, and mood medications. Before trying CBD, be sure to speak with a healthcare professional to help prevent any adverse reactions or interactions.
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Joint pain is a common symptom of arthritis, which encompasses any condition causing joint inflammation. But just because you have joint pain doesn’t mean you necessarily have arthritis. And you can have discomfort in your joints without inflammation too.

Arthritis-related joint pain is typically chronic, may come and go, and has no obvious preceding cause. Acute joint pain comes on more suddenly. Some potential causes of acute joint pain include:

  • gout
  • overuse due to repetitive movements
  • injury
  • infection
  • bursitis

How can you tell if you’re dealing with arthritis symptoms? Some clues can include having:

  • pain that doesn’t go away
  • discomfort, pain, and swelling
  • stiff joints
  • difficulty using your joints’ full range of motion

Here’s what you to look out for when shopping for CBD oil for joint pain.

CBD type

Not all types of CBD produce the same effects.

Some research suggests that CBD and THC together produce the “entourage effect.” This means that, when the two cannabinoids are used together, they may be more effective than using either THC or CBD alone.

In other words, CBD products that are full spectrum may be more effective for joint pain than CBD isolate, which only contains CBD.

Third-party testing

CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA in the same way as pharmaceutical drugs. The FDA can issue warning letters to companies making wild health claims, but despite this, companies can still mislabel and misrepresent their products.

You’ll have to do your own research to make sure a company is selling quality products. Check that the products come with an up-to-date, comprehensive COA from a reputable third-party lab.

Ingredients

Companies should be transparent about where they grow or source their hemp. If a company doesn’t provide information about how and where they make their products, that’s a red flag.

If you’re specifically looking for CBD oil to help with joint pain, any quality CBD product may help.

But for topical products, ingredients like arnica and essential oils may provide additional pain relief. Warming or cooling ingredients, like menthol, may provide an added sensation that may help dull pain.

Always read the label on your CBD oil before using the product. Some oils are meant to be applied topically, while others are meant to be ingested. Some oils can be taken either way.

To use topical CBD oil, you can rub it directly on the painful joint. But it’s important to do a patch test first to make sure there are no adverse reactions with your skin. Also, be sure not to put the oil on broken skin.

To take an ingestible oil, place it under your tongue and hold it there for up to a minute before swallowing. Alternatively, add the oil to your food or drinks.

Dosage

Most CBD products, whether topical or ingestible, have recommended dose information on the bottle or packaging.

Dosage is pretty personal, though. An amount that works for someone else might be too much (or too little) for you. When in doubt, start with the smallest dose and work your way up.

If you don’t notice any effects right away, don’t immediately take more. It can take time to feel the effects of CBD.

Both human and animal studies suggest that CBD doesn’t produce ill effects in most people. Topical CBD products are even less likely to cause adverse reactions because they don’t typically enter the bloodstream.

While CBD is considered safe, it’s not unusual to experience some side effects, including:

  • appetite changes
  • diarrhea
  • weight changes
  • fatigue

Topical CBD products may also cause allergic reactions in some people.

Talk with your healthcare professional before using CBD products if you take any of the following:

  • prescription medication
  • supplements
  • over-the-counter (OTC) medication

CBD may interact with medications or supplements that have a grapefruit warning.

If you’re experiencing pain, swelling, or stiffness in your joints, it’s a good idea to contact a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Other symptoms that can indicate it’s time to consult a professional include redness or discoloration in a joint, joints that feel warm to the touch, or difficulty completing day-to-day activities.

It’s also important to speak with your healthcare professional if you’re considering trying CBD to relieve joint pain.

Everyone has a cell-signaling system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Some researchers believe that CBD affects the ECS receptors in your body — and, in particular, the immune system.

When ECS receptors receive chemical signals, they enable your cells to respond to the stimuli, producing an anti-inflammatory effect that reduces swelling and pain. This process means that CBD products, like CBD oil, may help you deal with acute or chronic joint pain.

A 2011 study in rats found that cannabinoid receptors may play a role in joint inflammation, and that finding out how to target these receptors may lead to treatment advances for people with inflammatory pain.

In terms of arthritis, CBD may also act on receptors that affect inflammation.

Maybe. Animal studies from 2016 and 2017 suggest that CBD may help reduce inflammation and pain due to arthritis, but human trials are needed to better understand the role of CBD in treating joint pain.

However, some people swear by CBD for relieving chronic pain.

If you have joint pain in a specific area, applying a topical product right where it hurts may deliver better results. But people with chronic, full body pain may find they get more relief from ingesting CBD.

Ultimately, it comes down to your preference. Some people don’t love swallowing earthy-tasting CBD. If that’s you, you might want to try a flavored oil or a topical product.

This will vary from person to person. Start with a low potency option and work your way up until you feel the effects of the CBD. Ultimately, it may take some time to find the right strength and dosage for you.

They deliver the same results. Which one you choose depends on the consistency you prefer. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t eat CBD cream. Many CBD oils can be ingested and applied topically — but not CBD cream.

More research is needed to definitively answer this question. But it’s also true that CBD is unlikely to cause serious side effects. Regardless of your age, be sure to talk with a healthcare professional before trying CBD.

Everyone responds differently to CBD oil, so timelines can vary. Those who take CBD sublingually may begin noticing effects between 15 and 45 minutes.

There’s no guarantee that CBD oil will get rid of your joint pain. But there’s minimal risk in trying out CBD products, so long as you choose a high quality product and talk with a healthcare professional before you take it.

More research is needed to confirm the link between CBD and pain relief, but what we know so far is promising. CBD may help relieve joint pain without serious side effects and habit-forming risks.

Before you try CBD for joint pain, talk with your healthcare professional. They can let you know about potential drug interactions and help you determine the right dosage for you.

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.