by Allison Glennie July 31, 2019 4 min read

CBD’s growing reputation amongst users for easing pain is one of the most attractive aspects of this supplement and this potential benefit is partly responsible for its recent boom in popularity. The thing is, all people experience pain throughout the course of their lives, and unfortunately, some of us feel its presence daily. Whether a person is recovering from hard exercise, healing from a recent surgery, or dealing with chronic pain due to injury or illness, it inevitably touches all of our lives. Traditional pain management drugs, such as opioids, can do damage to their users health via their addictive chemical properties, dangerous side effects, and withdrawal symptoms, making natural CBD supplementation an even more intriguing alternative. But what does the scientific evidence have to say about this?

CBD for PainUnderstandably, THC (psychoactive) often gets more coverage as the famous pain-reducing cannabinoid, but research is showing that CBD (non-psychoactive) may be a powerful contender for the title. Cannabis and cannabis products containing high levels of THC have been used by people suffering from cancer to relieve their symptoms of treatments like chemotherapy. In fact, there is currently a drug (that has been approved in Europe and Canada) that features a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. While both the CBD and THC cannabinoids work well in conjunction with each other, many new CBD studies suggest that it may have some strong pain-relieving properties of its own.

Can CBD mitigate pain?

The cannabinoid CBD interacts with a group of receptors called Vanilloid Receptors. These receptors act in the body to help mediate pain sensitivity, inflammation, and even control the body’s internal temperature. Specifically,studies suggest that CBD activates the Vanilloid Type 1 Receptor which is thought to play a role in inflammatory pain. Similarly, Capsaicin – the spicy component of chili peppers – also works with this receptor – which is why it has been used as a natural pain reliever throughout human history and many still use it for this purpose today.

Additionally, studies suggest that CBD may have the ability to naturally inhibit glutamate release in the body (as well as other inflammatory agents), making it a potential neuroprotective compound. If this research is correct, it means that it could help to diminish the prickling, tingling, and burning sensations of neuropathic pain.

CBD may also act to help combat an array of similar inflammatory agents in our bodies that are thought to cause or worsen pain. The potential anti-inflammatory mechanism of cannabidiol is truly fascinating and totally unique to the cannabis plant. Most anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit two types of receptors: COX-1 and COX-2. When these receptors are inhibited, side effects ranging from stomach ulcers to heart attacks are possible. In fact, some studies have suggested that cannabinoids (specifically CBD and THC) may be up to twenty times more potent than a commonly used anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.

As mentioned earlier, CBD’s popularity is in part due to a consumer/patient revolt against the rise in opioid use and the resulting societal and personal impact of its side effects, risks and addictiveness. Research suggest that CBD holds significant potential as an alternative to opioids, making it a highly attractive medical research topic. Research has already shown that unlike opioids, users are not likely to build a tolerance for CBD, meaning there would probably not be a need to continually increase their dosage. While many new studies are currently being conducted, the results that have been published thus far are extremely promising.

What types of pain might CBD be able to help to alleviate?

CBD and Pain
  • Chronic Pain: A review of studies conducted between the late 1980s through 2007 suggested that CBD might be effective in overall pain management without adverse side effects. This same review also noted that CBD was potentially beneficial in the treatment of insomnia caused by certain types of chronic pain. 
  • Arthritis Pain: A study published in the European Journal of Pain used an animal model to conduct research into CBD’s ability to help individuals with arthritis, specifically, if it could help in the management of arthritis pain. In this study, a topical CBD gel was applied to rats suffering from arthritis. Over a four day period, researchers noted a substantial reduction in inflammation levels and indications of pain, and did not find any additional side effects with its use. While more human studies need to be conducted, the results have been enormously encouraging. 
  • Multiple Sclerosis Pain: Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS, is an autoimmune disease that can affect the entire body through the brain and nervous system. One of the most common symptoms is uncontrolled muscle spasms, which can cause a great deal of pain, even constant pain, in some patients. One study suggests that even short-term use of CBD oil may help to reduce the amount of spasms and severity of spasms a person with MS feels. Another study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine also supports these results. This research shows CBD as a possible neuroprotective compound, which may protect and support the same neurons impacted by Multiple Sclerosis.

    CBD for Pain Management

Any time you start a new supplement, CBD supplements included, it’s important to discuss your plans with a doctor or pharmacist. This will allow you to ask any questions you may have and can prevent negative interactions with prescription medications you may already be taking.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Check with your medical care provider if you are pregnant, breastfeeding of take any other medications. These products are not intended for children under 18. The opinions and views expressed in this article are solely those of the author, are intended for informational purposes only, and do not reflect the views of Harvest Hemp LLC or its affiliates.

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