CBD for Chronic Pain: Does it Work?

You might’ve tried a few things to reduce your chronic pain — talking to your doctor, seeing a specialist, various medications, acupuncture, massage, cognitive behavioral therapy, surgery —the list goes on and on.

But have you tried CBD? It might be worth looking into. In a recent Forbes Health survey1, 60% of adults who use CBD products do it to manage pain levels.

Talk to your doctor

CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant, otherwise known as cannabis or hemp, explains WebMD2. There are more than 80 chemicals in the Cannabis sativa plant, says WebMD3. THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most well-known ingredient in cannabis, and is the ingredient that produces the feeling of being “high,” notes WebMD4. What makes CBD different is that it’s obtained from hemp, a form of the plant that only has a tiny amount of THC, states WebMD5.

The Mayo Clinic6 says CBD is typically found as an oil, but can also be sold as an extract or vaporized liquid. You might also see CBD-infused food, drinks and beauty products.

Unlock the benefits of CBD

According to Cleveland Clinic7, chronic pain comes in all types of forms, all across the body. Whether it’s joint pain, back pain, neurological pain or headaches, living with chronic pain can take its toll. You might be wondering if CBD could provide relief.

Because there are a lot of restrictions on the use of and research on cannabis, there’s a lot we don’t know a lot about CBD’s efficacy or safety, says Medical News Today8. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)9 hasn’t approved CBD for treating pain. Talk to your doctor first about whether it’s beneficial, safe and how much to take, advises Medical News Today10. In the meantime, here are a few studies that point to the benefits behind CBD:

  • Arthritis and joint pain: The Arthritis Foundation11 explains that some people with arthritis who’ve tried CBD have reported noticeable pain relief, sleep improvement and/or anxiety reduction. However, the foundation12 warns that CBD might interact with some drugs commonly taken by people with arthritis, so talk to your doctor first before you try it.
  • Migraines: The American Migraine Foundation13 says there’s not enough scientific research to definitively say if CBD is an effective way to treat migraines. However, CBD oil might help decrease neck pain, soreness, nausea and vomiting — all common symptoms associated with migraines, cites the foundation14.
  • Multiple sclerosis: Healthline15 suggests that MS patients might benefit from CBD as it could help reduce fatigue, pain, spasticity and improve mobility. Remember to talk to your doctor to review your options and get approval, before adding CBD to your routine.

Understanding the side effects

CBD is generally well-tolerated, but there are a few side effects, says the Mayo Clinic16. Here’s a look:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue

It can also interact with other medications you’re taking, like blood thinners, warns the Mayo Clinic17.

Living with chronic pain is difficult. But there are treatments that may help. Because CBD has lower potential side effects than other pain medications, it might be worth talking to your doctor about to see if trying it is right for you18.


  1. “How to Use CBD to Help Manage Pain,” Forbes, last accessed June 22, 2022, https://www.forbes.com/health/body/cbd-for-pain/
  2. “Cannabidiol (Cbd) - Uses, Side Effects, And More,” WebMD, last accessed June 22, 2022, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1439/cannabidiol-cbd#:~:text=Cannabidiol%20(CBD)%20is%20a%20chemical,in%20the%20U.S.%20for%20seizure.
  3. “Cannabidiol (Cbd) - Uses, Side Effects, And More”
  4. “Cannabidiol (Cbd) - Uses, Side Effects, And More”
  5. “Cannabidiol (Cbd) - Uses, Side Effects, And More”
  6. “What Are the Benefits of CBD—And is it Safe to Use?,” Mayo Clinic, last accessed June 22, 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700#:~:text=CBD%20use%20also%20carries%20some,taking%2C%20such%20as%20blood%20thinners.
  7. “Chronic Pain,” Cleveland Clinic, last accessed June 22, 2022, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4798-chronic-pain.
  8. “Does CBD Oil Work for Chronic Pain Management,” Medical News Today, last accessed June 22, 2022, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319475
  9. “FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD),” Food and Drug Administration, last accessed June 22, 2022, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd
  10. “Does CBD Oil Work for Chronic Pain Management”
  11. “CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know,” The Arthritis Foundation, last accessed June 22, 2022, https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/pain-relief-solutions/cbd-for-arthritis-pain
  12. “CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know”
  13. “Migraine and CBD Oil,” the American Migraine Foundation, last accessed June 22, 2022, https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/migraine-cbd-oil/
  14. “Migraine and CBD Oil”
  15. “Can CBD Help with Multiple Sclerosis,” Healthline, last accessed June 22, 2022, https://www.healthline.com/health/best-cbd-for-multiple-sclerosis
  16. “What Are the Benefits of CBD—And is it Safe to Use?”
  17. “What Are the Benefits of CBD—And is it Safe to Use?”
  18. “Does CBD Oil Work for Chronic Pain Management”