Thanks to CBD-infused protien-powders, muscle-rubs, and better-than-Epsom-salt soaks, CBD is the the latest recovery tool for athletes. We tried various CBD products to find out which were our favorites for potential alleviation of physical and mental discomforts. CBD oil is a popular natural solution for many types of aches and pains. In this guide, we cover the top 5 CBD oil brands for pain and explain how this supplement can help with your condition.
11 CBD Infused Recovery Products Specifically for Post-Workout Feels
C BD—short for cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant—is popping up everywhere lately, from the beauty aisle, local coffee shop, and even your nightstand drawer (wink). And now, thanks to CBD-infused protein powders, muscle rubs, and better-than-Epsom-salt soaks, it’s making its way into the sports supplement stack and post-recovery routine of yogis, CrossFitters, and runners alike.
“Exercise causes tiny micro-tears in muscle fibers, which when repaired, allow the muscle to grow back stronger. But there’s an inflammatory response,” say Andrew Kerklaan Ph.D., creator of the Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics line of cannabis-infused topicals.
Scientists are still in the early stages of studying CBD at a clinical level, but according to Laurie Brodsky, HBSc, ND, Dirty Lemon’s in-house naturopathic practitioner, CBD has been shown to suppress the inflammatory response, along with the neuropathic pain that athletes may experience. “Plus, it may improve sleep quality, and sleep is very important for recovery after exercise,” she says.
Want to try this high form of post-workout self-care? Get your workout recovery on with the below 11 CBD-enhanced products.
1. Altrufuel Collagen Recovery
With purported benefits that include glowier skin, muscle growth, reduced inflammation, and tissue repair, collagen is already a superstar. But when combined with CBD, the benefits reach a new level. “This combo is the first of its kind,” Altrufuel founder Ian Berger says, who used the protein powder before competing in the 2018 CrossFit Games. “The benefits of collagen are many, and paired with CBD it is any active person’s dream recovery formula for reduced inflammation and increased relaxation.”
“Leading up to the Crossfit games I introduced CBD-collagen powder into my training supplementation and my muscles and joints have never felt better,” he says. Worth noting: CBD products won’t lead to failed drug testing at competitive sporting events like the Games.
2. Willpower ReGen PCR Protein Powder
Health pros recommend consuming between 15 to 25 grams of protein the hour after running, and this powder provides 20 grams of grass-fed whey protein. It also contains BCAAs, which have been shown to help you feel less zonked post sweat-sesh.
The Best CBD Supplements for Muscle Recovery, Sleep, and More
Discover how these CBD supplements may be able to help with better sleep, recovery, and relaxation.
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Cannabidiol or CBD is federally legal for consumption and is the part of the cannabis plant that is popular for its various medical uses. This is not to get confused with THC, which is the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant that remains federally illegal, and is only sold medically or recreationally in some states in the United States. CBD doesn’t give you a high feeling as it contains either none or less than 0.3 percent THC.
CBD has been preclinically and anecdotally studied for those who suffer from anxiety, insomnia, inflammation, chronic pain, epilepsy, and autoimmune disorders, to name a few. History also shows that cannabis has been used medicinally for hundreds of years (with people such as Queen Victoria) to alleviate menstrual cramps and childbirth pain (1). Some of the research that has been done has shown CBD to be helpful with exercise recovery (2). All of our picks on this list contain CBD, but are federally legal and do not contain THC. If you’re looking for CBD to potentially help with mental health, inflammation, and more, these are a few of our favorite products.
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine.
Best CBD Products
- Best CBD Overall: FOCL Day + Night Bundle
- Best CBD for Muscle Recovery: Joy Organics CBD Cream
- Best CBD Oil: FOCL Premium CBD Drops
- Best CBD Cream: Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream
- Best CBD Massage Oil: Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil
- Best CBD Balm:+Plus CBD Balm
- Best CBD Gummies: FOCL CBD Gummies
- Best CBD for Sleep: FOCL Night
Best CBD Overall
To slot into our top spot, we picked a product that has high-quality ingredients and could cover all your CBD needs. This bundle offers two CBD supps to suit both your daytime and nighttime needs.
FOCL Day + Night Bundle
FOCL created a duo pack of daytime and nighttime pills to address your needs for both times of day without having to find two separate products. The day time pills are created with attention and focus at the forefront, while the nighttime pills are meant to help with better overall sleep.
The daytime supplement includes 10mg of hemp extract, and is rounded out with the addition of Lion’s Mane mushrooms (which may help to improve anxiety and cognition) ayurvedic ingredient bacopa monnieri, 50mg of rhodiola rosea (which may help fight fatigue), 150mg of l-theanine (which has been shown in a study to reduce stress and anxiety), and vitamin B6 (3)(4)(5).
The nighttime pills include 20mg of hemp extract, 50mg of 5-htp, 300mg of organic ashwagandha, as well as valerian root, passion flower, and hops cones. This blend of ingredients can work synergistically to potentially provide the user with better sleep, less stress and anxiety, and a more restful mind (6)(7)(8).
Both the daytime and nighttime supplements contain hemp extract and a handful of other ingredients to suit your daytime needs for focus and cognition, and your nighttime needs to combat stress, anxiety, and insomnia. This pack of day and night time pills comes in at $2.96 per day, which is a bit higher, but includes both a daytime and nighttime serving.
FOCL Day + Night Bundle includes two separate formulas — one bottle of pills for day time focus and concentration as well as one bottle of pills for relaxation and potentially better sleep. Both products contain CBD and cost $2.96 per day.
Who Should Buy FOCL Day + Night Bundle
- Those who want separate supplements to promote potentially better focus during the day, and to possibly enhance sleep at night.
- People who want a stacked CBD supplement that contains a handful of ingredients will like that both the daytime and nighttime supplements offer well-rounded ingredient lists.
- Those who prefer to take their supplements in pill form.
Who Shouldn’t Buy FOCL Day + Night Bundle
- Anyone who doesn’t need both daytime and nighttime supplements can find either sold separately on the market.
- Those who are pill averse, as this product requires you to take four pills per day.
- Anyone on a stricter budget will be able to find cheaper CBD options available.
This CBD product aims at promoting better cognitive function for your daytime needs, and prioritizing potentially better rest of the mind and body with their nighttime supplement. With two supplements that cover all of your CBD needs throughout the day, this product is our top pick.
[Related: Could Ashwagandha be your next favorite supplement?]
Best CBD for Muscle Recovery
Sore muscles can be the worst part about working out, but they shouldn’t stop you from reaching your goals. This CBD cream may be the key to unlocking better recovery and less soreness.
Joy Organics CBD Cream
CBD has become a more prominent product in the fitness world for its potential recovery purposes. Whether it’s a salve, oil, pill, or cream, the abundance of CBD on the market is continuously expanding. There are various studies on CBD’s potential to help with recovery, but one study found the potential of CBD to be effective for muscle recovery 72 hours after squatting (9).
Joy’s CBD cream is packed with 250mg of CBD in the one ounce container of lotion. It also contains aloe vera leaf juice and peppermint oil extract to create a cooling effect on the skin to help promote pain relief in your muscles. A little of this product goes a long way, so it’s best to start with a small amount to cover any painful areas. This product comes with a pump top and sealed lid to ensure you can take your recovery cream on the go with no mess and no fuss. It rings in at $32.25 for a one ounce bottle, but you can subscribe and save for 30 percent off your purchase.
Joy Organics CBD Cream comes in a one ounce container that includes 250mg of CBD for potentially aid in recovery from sore muscles. This product is organic and contains peppermint oil extract to create a cooling effect on the skin.
Who Should Buy Joy Organics CBD Cream
- Folks looking for potentially better muscle recovery after a grueling workout will like this cream CBD they can spread on areas of concern.
- People who like to use CBD topically rather than ingesting it.
- Anyone who likes a recovery tool they can take anywhere — this is a one ounce lotion bottle with a cap to prevent messes on the go.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Joy Organics CBD Cream
- Anyone who prefers to take a CBD supplement via oral ingestion will want to look elsewhere as this is a cream.
- Those who are on a tight budget can find a lower price elsewhere on the market.
- If you want a bulk buy, you’ll have to look elsewhere as this only comes in a one ounce option.
Joy Organics CBD cream is a conveniently crafted and easily transportable product that may help you experience ideal recovery from tough workouts, and the wear and tear of everyday living.
Best CBD Oil
A good oil CBD supplement should be tasty and easy to use. This oil form of CBD is meant to be ingested to potentially aid in better sleep and to alleviate symptoms of mental distress such as anxiety, and all you need to do is squeeze the liquid from the dropper under your tongue.
FOCL Premium CBD Drops
CBD is often sold as a product that can help with mental distress such as anxiety, insomnia, and psychotic symptoms. A systematic review of the current literature shows that while studies are limited, CBD has potential to help with all of these mental ailments (10). While CBD is a widely used recovery tool, MCT oil has been used for improvements in cognitive focus and has the research to back it.
One study found MCT oil to improve cognitive function after two to three weeks of supplementation (11). Combine the two and you have a solid oil supplement that can help with stress, sleep, cognitive function, and recovery.FOCL’s CBD drops are 100 percent plant-based and contain 33mg of organic Hemp derived CBD per serving which is one full dropper. It also contains organic MCT oil, organic flavors, and organic stevia.
These drops come in five flavors to choose from which are Natural, Mint, Orange Cream, Cherry, and Strawberry Lemonade. To use, all you need to do is squeeze the liquid from the dropper under your tongue, and let it sit for 45 seconds before swallowing. They come in 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000mg buying options which makes them a more affordable option as you buy larger quantities. They also have a subscribe and save option, as well as bundle and save options for even better pricing.
FOCL Premium CBD Drops contain 33mg of CBD per serving and come in five delicious flavor choices. The formula is 100 percent plant based and comes in 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000mg buying options to make it more versatile and affordable.
Who Should Buy FOCL Premium CBD Drops
- Anyone looking for a CBD product that has a straightforward formula as these drops only contain four ingredients.
- Folks who like the ease of taking their product via a dropper — this formula is easy to travel with and portion properly.
- Those who want a CBD product that comes in multiple flavors and buying options, as this formula has five various flavors and three different options for bulk buy.
Who Shouldn’t Buy FOCL Premium CBD Drops
- Anyone who prefers a pill or topical version of CBD will want to look at other options on our list.
- Those who have tree nut allergies should be aware that MCT oil is derived from coconuts.
FOCL premium CBD drops come in five various flavors, have a small but powerful ingredient list, and have a variety of buying options, which can make them cost as low as five cents per dose.
Best CBD Cream
This topical CBD cream may be the ticket to alleviating soreness and pain in your muscles. The formula is free of the top eight allergens and is designed with an all-natural mindset.
Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream
This hemp infused cream is allergen friendly, vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, GMO free, and contains no synthetic fragrances or sulfates. This cream is about as natural as it gets, and is a great product for those who have sensitive skin, allergies, or who prefer all-natural products. This cream comes in two buying options — one ounce, and two and a half ounce tubes. The one ounce tube contains 300mg of CBD, and the two and a half ounce tube contains 750mg.
One study found topical CBD alleviated pain and other physical discomforts by a statistically significant amount (12). With the one ounce bottle coming in at around $19.99 and the two and a half ounce option costing around $39.99, this is one of the more affordable topical CBD options and includes high-quality, which makes it one of our favorites. They also offer a subscribe and save option, which saves you 20 percent off your purchase.
Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream comes in two different sizes with the one ounce formula containing 300mg of CBD and the two and a half ounce bottle containing 750mg of CBD. This product is free from the top eight allergens and is an all-natural formula.
Who Should Buy Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream
- Anyone looking for a topical CBD product that is gentle on the skin will love the all-natural formula of this product.
- Those who wish to use a topical form of CBD to potentially alleviate pain and soreness in the body.
- Those who want a reasonably priced CBD product will like the price tag here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream
- Anyone who prefers a form of CBD that contains fragrance, essential oils such as peppermint, or other ingredients to alleviate pain may want to look at a more stacked product.
- Folks who want to take a CBD pill or gummy — this is only a topical solution.
With an all-natural ingredient list, a super fair price tag, and a high dose of CBD per container, this cream may be what you’ve been looking for to potentially soothe sore muscles.
Best CBD Massage Oil
Massage is a beneficial practice for recovery care, but the addition of CBD may offer a reduction in muscle tension and soreness — this is one of our favorite CBD massage oils.
Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil
Massage therapy alone can be an extremely beneficial practice for overall wellness with benefits such as increased blood flow, release of tension, decreased passive stiffness, and overall relaxation (13). When you add in the potential benefits that CBD has to offer on muscle tension reduction, the combo can be even more helpful for recovery, relaxation, and less muscle soreness (9).
Joy’s CBD massage oil contains 500mg of CBD per bottle (which they recommend you apply generously), and the only other ingredient is MCT oil, making this an all-natural and fully organic product and safe for all areas of the body. This massage oil is unscented and available as a four ounce bottle for around $49.95. You can also subscribe and save for 30 percent off of your order.
Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil contains two ingredients — MCT oil and CBD. It contains 500mg of CBD per container and is an all-natural and fully organic product.
Who Should Buy Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil
- Those who want the multifaceted benefits of massage with the potential benefits of CBD to help reach maximum recovery potential.
- Folks who value a short ingredient list — this product has CBD and MCT oil, and is all organic.
- Anyone who likes topical CBD will be happy with this formula.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil
- Anyone who prefers scented topical lotions or oils as this only comes unscented.
- Those who prefer a cream or lotion over the way an oil feels on their skin.
If you want to combine the positive effects of massage therapy with the potential power that CBD may have on muscle tension reduction, Joy Organics CBD might be the product for you. Joy’s CBD massage oil is organic, contains two ingredients, and combines CBD with the positive benefits massage therapy provides to potentially optimize recovery from sore muscles.
[Related: The 3 Most Common Types Of Training Periodization (And When To Use Them)]
Best CBD Balm
Because balms are thicker than lotions and cream, this balm has the potential to heal your hard working hands after tough workouts, or moisturize and nourish your skin to feel soft and smooth.
+Plus CBD Balm
+Plus CBD Balm contains 100mg of full-spectrum CBD in each 1.3-ounce jar. Balms have a thicker viscosity than lotions and creams, and therefore may have the ability to help lock in moisture and keep your skin feeling hydrated for longer.
The CBD in this product may promote healthier skin and relief from certain skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis according to a preclinical study. (14) This balm includes other natural and botanical ingredients, such as sweet almond oil, willow bark extract, green tea leaf extract, and safflower seed oil to name a few. This extra strength balm costs about $34.99 for the 1.3 oz jar, but +Plus does give you the option to subscribe and save for 25 percent off your order.
This CBD balm is made from 100mg of full-spectrum CBD per jar, sweet almond oil, beeswax, and other botanicals to provide moisturizing and potentially pain-relieving benefits. The formula is gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of dyes, sulfates, phthalates, PEGs, and parabens.
Who Should Buy +Plus CBD Balm
- Anyone who wants a topical product that is thicker than a regular lotion and may help promote hydration and skin health will like this balm.
- Those who prefer a full-spectrum CBD versus a broad-spectrum CBD.
- Anyone who enjoys taking their CBD on the go will be happy with this small jar that is easy to carry anywhere, including on airplanes.
Who Shouldn’t Buy +Plus CBD Balm
- Those who want a scented CBD product will have to look elsewhere as this one is fragrance-free.
- Some may prefer a lotion or oil to a balm, the latter of which can have a thicker viscosity.
- If you’re not set on a balm, there are less expensive topicals on our list.
+Plus CBD Balm is an excellent topical option for those who are looking to obtain potentially softer and smoother skin, whether from everyday wear and tear or to help heal calluses after long gym sessions.
Best CBD Gummies
CBD is widely available in many forms, but we think gummies are a fun and delicious way to reap the potential benefits that CBD has to offer.
FOCL CBD Gummies
Pre clinical trials have shown that CBD may potentially benefit people who suffer from a host of different issues including anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal issues, and chronic pain (15). For those who want to make the most out of the potential benefits of CBD but don’t want to take a pill or use an oil dropper, these delicious gummies may be your answer.
The FOCL CBD gummies come in three delicious flavor options — Sour Watermelon, Tropical Punch, and Mandarin Orange — to deliver you 25mg of CBD per each single gummy serving. These gummies are vegan, non-gmo, and are made with all organic ingredients. Each gummy contains two and a half grams of cane sugar, and includes natural color from fruit, organic coconut oil, and organic tapioca.
Each pack is around $49.00 for 30 servings, but FOCL also offers the option to subscribe and save 15 percent. In addition, you can buy in bulk and receive all three flavors for around $39.00 per package, coming out to about $117.00 for all three.
FOCL CBD Gummies come in three delicious flavors — Sour Watermelon, Mandarin Orange, and Tropical Punch — and contain 25mg of CBD per gummy. These gummies are fully vegan and organic and are non-gmo as well.
Who Should Buy FOCL CBD Gummies
- Folks who want the potential benefits of CBD in a delicious gummy form rather than in pills or an oil dropper.
- Customers who like the option to try different flavors and save money will be happy to see the bundle option here, which can save them around $10.00 per package.
- Those who like Sour Watermelon, Tropical Punch, and Mandarin Orange flavors will like the options available here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy FOCL CBD Gummies
- Anyone actively avoiding sugar may want to opt for an oil, pill, or topical form of CBD.
- Folks who don’t like the flavor choices will have to look elsewhere.
FOCL makes delicious gummies that pack 25mg of CBD per gummy and are made with organic ingredients to pack a delicious punch.
Best CBD for Sleep
One of the most popular uses for CBD is as a potential sleep aid. FOCL has designed a supplement that contains CBD and soothing botanicals that may benefit your sleep.
CBD is often marketed as a sleep aid, and one long-term study found a modest improvement in sleep quality with CBD supplementation (16). FOCL’s night CBD pills contains 20mg of hemp extract and 50mg of 5-HTP per two-capsule serving, the latter of which has been shown in studies to help combat insomnia (17).
This supp also includes the botanics organic valerian root, organic ashwagandha, organic hops cones, and organic passion flower, which have been shown to decrease anxiety, promote better sleep, and help treat insomnia (18)(19)(20)(21). For a one time purchase, you’ll pay around $49.00 for 30 servings. You can also subscribe and save 15 percent, or bundle and save, which ends up saving you $10.00 per bottle when you opt to buy three.
FOCL Night Sleep Supplement was designed with ashwagandha, CBD, and other botanics to aid you in your best night of rest. This product is vegan, cruelty-free, Non-GMO, and THC free — meaning you won’t get high from it.
Who Should Buy FOCL Night
- Those who want to potentially improve their sleep through CBD supplementation will like that these pills were designed with sleep in mind.
- Folks who like bulk buying options will appreciate that you can bundle and save here.
- Anyone who likes taking their CBD supplements in pill form.
Who Shouldn’t Buy FOCL Night
- Those who aren’t prioritizing sleep as their focus for utilizing CBD can find other CBD supplements with added ingredients focused more on muscle recovery.
- If you are on a budget and don’t want to bulk buy, you may find cheaper alternatives on the market.
FOCL night was designed with CBD, 5-HTP, and various sleep-forward botanics to potentially improve sleep, help with insomnia, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Types of CBD
Throughout this article, you’ll see the term CBD, but you’ll also see “hemp”, “broad-spectrum” and “full-spectrum,” and it is important to understand the different types of CBD that are available on the market to inform your best buying decision.
Hemp has a very interesting history in the United States. The laws and regulations surrounding hemp have gone back and forth throughout the country’s history, but currently hemp is legal to grow and use for a wide range of products including fibers for clothing and rope, food in the form of hemp seeds, and for health care products, such as lotions and supplements.
Hemp comes from the cannabis sativa plant, and contains less than 0.3 percent of THC and a hearty amount of CBD (22). Hemp used to be considered a Schedule I drug, but has since been revised to be federally legal and is seen as an important agricultural crop. Many products on this list are described as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum types of CBD.
Full-spectrum CBD is a type of CBD that contains every part of the cannabis sativa plant in the formulation including THC. If there is THC in the product, it contains less than 0.3 percent, which is regulated by federal law (23). Broad spectrum CBD contains all of the parts that full-spectrum includes, except the THC is processed out from the final product (24).
How We Decide the Best CBD Supplements
We considered a broad range of CBD products for this list and wanted to make sure we came up with a product that would make sense for every individual’s needs. Read below to find out how we made our picks.
We wanted to make a list of products that catered to the wide range of reasons that people choose to take CBD. The main driver behind our choices was making sure we had topical and ingestible forms of CBD that may accommodate physical and mental ailments.
Image From Shutterstock/Ternavskaia Olga Alibec
We also made sure we offered a wide range of both topical choices (such as lotion, cream, oil, and salve), and ingestible choices (like gummies, pills, and oil drops). Each product will have a different main purpose whether it be pain relief, better sleep, or relaxation, and we tried to review a solid mix of products which might promote various outcomes to help as many customers as we could.
The price of CBD will vary greatly product to product, but we tried to put a spectrum of options on our list. Due to the wide variety of CBD products out there, the prices are a bit harder to compare than they would be if they were all pills or all lotions. CBD is generally a more expensive product, but we tried to pick some options that were more affordable, or offered money saving options through subscribe and save, bundle deals, and bulk buys.
Because these products vary so much, their ingredient lists will also vary exponentially. We picked a versatile range of CBD products that span across topicals and ingestibles, and they all have different formulas. Some of them are very straightforward and contain two ingredients, such as the massage oil option, which only contains MCT oil and CBD.
Most of our picks have a larger ingredient list — like the sleep pick, which contains a wide variety of ingredients that can potentially help you sleep. We focused on making picks that would meet a wide range of needs for people who are looking to alleviate various mental and physical ailments.
Each CBD product will have its own CBD dosage. Some of these products are sold by the bottle or container, and their dosage will be listed per container — this rings true for the lotion, salve, cream, and oil. The pills and gummies will have a “per serving” dosage. You’ll find this with the gummies, pills, and other ingestibles.
Although the effective clinical dosage of CBD has yet to be determined, a systematic review of dosing CBD in clinical populations found that between one and 50mg found significant improvements for those suffering from primary outcomes, such as anxiety and seizures (25).
We made sure each CBD product on our list had a varying amount of CBD within this clinical dosage in order to ensure there was something that would fit almost any dosing need.
What to Consider Before Buying CBD Supplements
Because CBD is such a versatile product, it is important to think about what you’re using CBD for and all of the factors that come with it before purchasing CBD. We cover a few of the main factors here.
While there is some research available on the potential benefits of CBD, there is still more to be done. We are lacking in long term studies that show the effectiveness of, and possible long-term side effects of, CBD supplementation (26)
Most of the studies that have been conducted on CBD have been preclinical, or some companies market with anecdotal evidence. It is safe to say that there is enough of a buzz around CBD that it has made a splash in the supplement industry, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t a cure all for anxiety, muscle aches, and sleep — and that everyone may react differently to CBD supplementation. It’s always important to speak to a physician before starting a new supplement, like CBD.
Depending on what you’re utilizing CBD for, you will want to consider various dosage options. If you’re using it for sore muscles, pain management, or other topical applications, the dosage will be a little different. There isn’t a direct amount of what is recommended other than covering the affected area to potentially alleviate the problem, or to get some relief.
Image from Shutterstock/HQuality
Dosage is a bit more straightforward with pills, gummies, or oral use. While there is yet to be a clinically recommended dose for CBD supplementation, a systematic review stated that between one and 50mg of CBD has been found to have a positive effect for various ailments such as seizures, insomnia, and anxiety (27). There will be a dosage amount on the bottle, and as you start to get more comfortable with the supplementation, you can adjust the dosage accordingly to the package’s directions and your needs. It is always safe to start with a lower dosage to see how your body responds and then to adjust from that starting point.
Type of CBD
There are many vehicles you can use to make CBD a part of your life — these include pills, oils, gummies, lotions, salves, massage oils, and creams. It can be confusing to know which is best suited for your needs. But these really break down into two categories — ingestibles and topicals. The ingestible options would be pills, oil droppers, and gummies, while the topical options would include any of the creams, lotions, body oils, or salves.
Depending on your needs, one may be better suited for you than the other. Topical choices are better suited to those who want to utilize CBD for muscle soreness and stiffness, muscle recovery, and physical discomfort from inflammation or injury. On the other hand, many of the mental discomforts may be better alleviated through ingested supplementation for issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Although CBD has a long way to go when it comes to the research that is necessary to back all of the marketing claims out there, the anecdotal and preclinical research points to a lot of positive possibilities.
When deciding what is best for you, it’s important to keep the broad-spectrum and full-spectrum options in mind. Full-spectrum CBD contains greater than 0.3 percent of THC in its final formula, which may be something that certain users want to actively avoid. The broad-spectrum formula contains no traces of THC. Both formulas are legally sold in the United States, and the THC is extremely minimal in the full-spectrum blends. However, if you’re hypersensitive, or get regularly drug tested for any reason, it may be best to stick with a broad-spectrum formula.
As all of these products vary so widely, the ingredient lists will be a reflection of that. It’s always good to check in with your own needs before purchasing a supplement or product. We suggest asking yourself what you need it for, if you prefer a topical or ingestible form of CBD, any allergies you may have, ingredients you try to avoid, and what type of CBD you’re wanting to try.
For example, our sleep pick is designed with a restful night of sleep in mind, and although CBD might be helpful for aiding in sleep and relaxation, these types of products also include more widely studied sleep aid ingredients — such as ashwagandha, which may help you destress, and and passion flowre which might help you fall asleep faster (28)(29).
The products on this list fall on a wide spectrum of pricing, and thinking about your budget will be an important factor when picking which product may be best for you. Some of these products have subscribe and save, as well as bundle and save deals, which can be easier on your pockets.
The topical picks on this list range in price from around $20 to $50 in pricing per container. The price will vary based on additional ingredients, quality of ingredients, and the amount of CBD present in each formula. The ingestibles range from around $49.00 to $89.00, and similarly, will fluctuate with added ingredients, servings per container, and the amount of CBD present in each product.
Though there is quite a bit of research available on short term CBD usage, there is still a lot of research that needs to take place in order to solidify its potential uses for treating or helping out with certain health concerns — especially in the long term. The preclinical and anecdotal evidence point to a lot of potential for a plethora of mental and physical issues, but we always stand by scientific-backed claims (30).
CBD has been found to be beneficial for several ailments that include physical symptoms like pain, inflammation, and seizures, as well as mental health symptoms, like anxiety and depression — and it’s important to remember that what works for some may not work for everyone (27).
We provide factual claims about each product, and we trust you to use your best judgment when it comes to adding CBD into your routine. Always speak to a physician first, and after that, allow this list to be your guide to a product that could work for your individual budget and lifestyle.
Is CBD legal to take or use?
CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, and the CBD portion of it isn’t blocked federally. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning that it doesn’t cause the high that THC does. Every single pick on this list is either THC free, or if it is full-spectrum hemp, it includes less than 0.3 percent THC, which is the legal cut off by federal regulation. All of these products are legal to consume or use in the United States.
Can CBD help with my physical and mental health?
CBD is not a miracle drug and has yet to be studied and researched for all of its potential uses. Although anecdotally, many people see positive results from CBD use, there is only anecdotal evidence. Preclinical studies have shown potentially positive results from CBD use, but they are preclinical trials, and longer term studies are needed to ensure the long-term effects of CBD. CBD may help you, but it isn’t guaranteed.
Is CBD safe to take?
Overall, CBD has been shown to be a safe substance to use, and is considered to be tolerable for most users ( 25 ). It is always best to check with your health care provider before adding new supplements or products into your regimen — especially if you have concern or are sensitive to new ingredients. It is also important to make sure you read the ingredient labels and allergy warnings completely before purchasing a new product.
Best CBD Oil for Pain Relief & Inflammation: Highest Quality Brands On The Market
Over the past three years, CBD oil has become increasingly popular as a health and wellness supplement.
One of the main reasons people are interested in trying CBD oil is because of its pain-killing benefits. We’ll get into the details of how CBD is suggested to help with pain later, along with some suggestions for the best CBD oils for pain and inflammation.
The ability for CBD to help with pain is a significant advantage over conventional pain management options — which often involve addictive and potentially harmful medications. Instead, this natural supplement has very few side effects and an exceptional safety profile — all without compromising on effectiveness.
But how do you choose the right CBD oil for the job?
This is an important question to ask because the truth of the matter is that not all CBD oils work. Many simply contain too little CBD to be of any help, while others contain harmful contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, or chemical solvents — all of which could add to the pain you’re already experiencing by damaging the sensitive nerve cells around the body.
We’re going to cover all of this in the article below. You’ll learn how to spot a high-quality CBD oil and how current evidence shows CBD to work inside the body.
This is a big topic, so let’s get started with our list of top-rated CBD oils for pain.
Top 10 Best CBD Oil Brands for Pain Management in 2022
Not sure which CBD oil to buy to help with chronic pain? Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how CBD is suggested to work for pain and inflammation, here’s our top 5 list of CBD oils I’ve used myself for back pain.
We’ll also offer some advice on a few ways you can spot a trustworthy CBD vendor even if they didn’t quite make it onto our list.
I’ve been using CBD for over 5 years now and I’ve stumbled upon some stellar companies with top-notch oils and fly-by-night businesses with oils that can’t simply don’t work.
I have a relatively short list of CBD brands that I fully trust and I want to share my choices with you so you can avoid some of the headaches and disappointment I’ve already endured.
Here are my top 10 CBD oil brands for pain:
1. Royal CBD (Best CBD Oil On The Market)
|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.
Why Royal CBD is My Top Pick:
As skeptical as I am towards the majority of new CBD brands, I decided to give Royal CBD a try because I liked the company’s dedication to quality. I love seeing companies that take what they do seriously.
You can tell right away from the color, flavor, and consistency of the oil that you’re dealing with a product well above average.
This oil is cheaper than most of the other premium CBD oils I’ve tried, comes in a full range of potencies, and uses some of the best full-spectrum hemp extracts I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard friends using this brand for quite some time and decided to give it a try for myself — so I ordered a few bottles in different strengths.
After taking the Royal CBD’s 2500mg full-spectrum CBD oil for just over a week, I noticed an improvement in my back pain. There was a time when I had serious problems falling asleep because of the sharp pains in my back that seemed to intensify whenever I laid down to fall asleep. It was a nightmare. I’d lay awake for hours changing positions to try and find a spot that didn’t leave me writhing in discomfort.
With this oil, my experience went far beyond what I expected. Not only did it help ease the pain, but my overall quality of sleep improved. I mean, I didn’t sleep longer but I began to wake up rested and with a clear head.
My favorite combination for this particular oil is the vanilla in the 1000 mg bottle. This is the largest potency option currently offered by Royal CBD and has the best value overall. I took the oil twice per day, once in the morning when I woke up, and again in the evening before bed. One bottle of the 1000 mg CBD oil lasted me about a month.
- Sourced from US-grown organic hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes
- Available in 4 different strengths
- Up to 2500mg of CBD per bottle
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- Great natural flavors (no aftertaste and comes in multiple flavor options)
- Free shipping within the USA
- Newer brand on the market that only sells online, no physical presence
2. Gold Bee (Best Organic CBD Oil)
- Premium Colorado-grown hemp
- CO2 extraction
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- Delicious kiwi flavor
- Sweetened with organic honey
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- Only one flavored option available
- No high-strength oils (yet)
What I Like About Gold Bee:
I honestly believe Gold Bee makes the best organic CBD products out there. The brand combines premium Colorado-grown hemp with organic honey sourced from the Brazillian Rainforest. While Gold Bee offers a modest selection of oils — with up to 1200 mg of CBD per bottle — the formula is spot-on when it comes to the quality of ingredients. I’m totally not going to complain about the potency, as my back pain and sleep quality got better than with some high-strength oils I’ve tried in the past. Considering the quality of these products, they actually come at a bargain price. If you want to try other formats from Gold Bee, you can choose between its high-strength capsules and CBD-infused honey.
3. CBDPure (Runner Up)
|Total CBD Content||100 – 600 mg|
|Potency||1.6 – 10 mg/mL|
What I Like About CBDPure CBD Oil:
I love how transparent this company is. If I were judging companies solely by their transparency level, CBDPure would have scored the second place, right after Royal CBD. The company provides all the details about each stage of production when making this CBD oil. You can find all the third-party lab test results for each batch on the product page — something we’ve come to expect from any high-quality CBD company.
What really makes this company stand out is its incredible satisfaction guarantee. If you order the product and decide it wasn’t working for you, simply send it back and get a full refund. This satisfaction guarantee extends over 3 whole months — which is about three times longer than the industry average.
I keep a bottle or two of CBDPure oil in my medicine cabinet for achy moments after a run or hike with the kids.
The only real downside to this oil is the potency — which comes in denominations of 1.5, 5, and 10 mg/mL. This is suitable for more minor symptoms, but may not be enough for people with heavy CBD demands.
- Sourced from Colorado-grown organic hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Tested for the cannabinoid content and purity in a third-party lab
- Rock-solid 90-day return policy
- Narrow product range
- Low potency
- They don’t ship to every state (i.e. Louisiana, Indiana, Arkansas, Kansas)
|Total CBD Content||300 – 4000 mg|
|Available Flavors||Unflavored, Acai Berry, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon|
|Potency||10 – 133.3 mg/mL|
What I Like About HempBombs:
I used HempBombs CBD isolate-based hemp oil for quite some time before switching to full-spectrum CBD oil and in my opinion, this is the best brand when it comes to CBD isolates. Their products contain 99% pure CBD and ZERO THC.
Now don’t get me wrong, CBD isolates are great, they offer consistent doses of CBD, contain 0% THC, and are generally cheaper than their full-spectrum counterparts. In most cases, I like using a full-spectrum extract like Royal CBD oil because of something called the entourage effect — which is a concept highlighting the phenomenon where cannabinoids like CBD tend to work better when other hemp-derived compounds are also present.
In isolates, the only cannabinoid present is CBD.
HempBombs CBD oil is available in five different strengths — from 300mg to 4000mg per bottle. The CBD is added in the form of a 99% pure isolate — which means there’s going to be virtually no traceable amounts of any other cannabinoids, including THC, CBC, CBG, or CBN.
You can also buy these oils in different flavors. Hemp Bombs often adds new flavors to the list, but my all-time personal favorite is the Acai berry. It’s not too sweet but adds a really pleasant flavor to the otherwise bland CBD and MCT oil formula.
- Sourced from 100% certified organic hemp from European farms
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Completely THC-free
- Tested in third-party laboratories for purity and potency
- Available in 5 separate strengths
- Up to 4000mg of CBD per bottle
- Lacks the synergistic effects from other cannabinoids
- The highest potencies are overkill for most users
- Uses synthetic flavoring agents
|Total CBD Content||250 – 5000 mg|
|Potency||8.3 – 166 mg/mL|
What I Like About CBDistillery:
CBDistillery is now one of the largest CBD companies in North America. The company began in 2016 as a legacy brand for Balanced Health Botanicals.
Over the years, CBDistillery has had the chance to really dial-in its CBD oil formula. The company now sells its CBD oil in two formats — “full-spectrum” and “THC-free.” The THC-free option is great for people who want to benefit from the synergy of CBD and other cannabinoids but without bringing any THC whatsoever into their system.
Even the full-spectrum option contains less than 0.3% THC — which is well below the amount needed to cause any psychoactive effects. These oils are both completely non-psychoactive.
You can choose between five different strengths, starting at 250mg up to 5000mg of CBD per bottle. This covers just about every range of potencies you would ever need. We recommend opting for the higher potency options because they have the best value overall. The higher potency you purchase, the further your dollar gets you.
The more potent options also las the longest because you need smaller amounts of the oil each time to get the desired dose of CBD.
I tried the 1000mg bottle to keep myself calm during the first few months after giving birth to my first son and I must admit it helped me maintain my sanity during that time. I found it to have a remarkable calming effect on the body and mind.
- Available as full-spectrum CBD or pure CBD oil (THC-free)
- 5 strengths to choose from
- Carries up to 33.3 mg of CBD per mL (in the 1000 mg bottle)
- Excellent value CBD oil
- The hemp isn’t certified organic
- No flavor options available
- The company website is clunky and hard to navigate
6. NuLeaf Naturals
|Total CBD Content||240 – 4850 mg|
What I Like About NuLeaf Naturals
Nuleaf Naturals is one of the most popular CBD companies in the United States — most likely related to how long the company has been in the business of selling CBD. Nuleaf naturals were one of the first CBD companies to enter the mainstream market.
Despite the companies longstanding reputation, Nuleaf Naturals only sells one CBD oil. When you go to the website you’ll find a few different options, including a pet oil — but it’s important to understand that these are all the exact same full-spectrum extract, the only difference is the bottle sizes.
We love the simplicity of Nuleaf Naturals product lineup. The oils come with a decent potency of around 48 mg/mL, and just about every bottle size you can imagine. This makes it easy for everybody to find a product that works for them regardless of the budget.
With that said, if you have the cash, we highly recommend getting the larger bottle sizes in order to get the best value for your money.
You can choose between five different sizes:
- Sourced from organic Colorado-grown hemp
- Extracted using supercritical CO2
- Made from a full-spectrum hemp extract
- More expensive than the other brands in this ranking
- Narrow product range
7. Charlotte’s Web
|Total CBD Content||200 – 1800 mg|
|Available Flavors||Mint Chocolate, Lemon Twist, Orange Blossom, Olive Oil|
|Potency||7 – 60 mg/mL|
About Charlotte’s Web:
Charlotte’s Web is one of the pioneers in the American CBD industry. Established by the Stanley Brothers, the company has coined a reputation of a trustworthy manufacturer by helping now late Charlotte Figi with her treatment-resistant epilepsy. Although the company has recently received a warning letter from the FDA due to their health claims, they still have many faithful customers and a massive number of positive reviews on the web.
Charlotte’s Web CBD oil comes in several potencies: 200 mg, 500 mg, 1500 mg, and 1800 mg of CBD per bottle. The highest strength offers 60 mg of full-spectrum CBD per milliliter. There are two bottle sizes to choose from: 30 mL and 100 mL; Charlotte’s Web also has flavored variants of its CBD oil, including Lemon Twist, Orange Blossom, Mint Chocolate, and Olive Oil.
What could the company do better?
First off, they could change their extraction method because they use ethanol, which is less efficient than CO2 extraction. Secondly, and most importantly, the suspension in olive oil makes them taste a bit bitter — even in the flavored versions.
- One of the most reputable brands on the market
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Delicious flavored versions
- Up to 1800 mg of CBD per bottle
- Available in two sizes: 30 mL and 100 mL
- Third-party tested for potency and purity
- Non-organic hemp
- Ethanol extraction
- Suspension in olive oil (bitter taste)
- The company received a warning letter from the FDA in the past due to inappropriate health claims
|Total CBD Content||300 – 7500 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Berry, Orange, Mint|
|Potency||10 – 250 mg/mL|
cbdMD is another popular manufacturer that offers a wide range of CBD extracts, from tinctures to gummies to capsules, bath bombs, topicals, sleep aids, and pet products.
The brand offers a wide range of pure CBD oils, with up to 7500 mg of CBD per bottle. The highest potency comes with a whopping dose of 200 mg of pure CBD suspended in MCT oil for higher bioavailability and a smoother flavor. cbdMD also has three flavored CBD oils: Berry, Orange, and Mint.
Despite an impressive potency range, cbdMD uses broad-spectrum CBD in their products, which doesn’t evoke the full entourage effect. The higher potency may not necessarily mean better results in this case.
The company has high transparency standards; not only does cbdMD broadly describe their activity from farming to testing, but they also provide batch-specific certificates of analysis for their products, including the results for potency and common contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, and residual solvents.
- US-grown, non-GMO hemp
- CO2 extraction
- Up to 7500 mg of CBD per bottle
- Batch-specific certificates of analysis
- Limited entourage effect due to the lack of THC
- Most people don’t need such high doses of CBD in their routine
|Total CBD Content||500 – 3000 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Citrus, Mint Chocolate|
|Potency||16 – 100 mg/mL|
Medterra is a small craft company from California. The brand offers premium CBD oils in different spectra: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and isolates. The potency of these products ranges between 500 mg and 3000 mg of CBD per bottle, which is a standard range. On top of the unflavored version, there are two flavored options: Citrus and Chocolate
Medterra prides itself on making the real full-spectrum CBD because each bottle of its full-spectrum CBD oil comes with 2 mg of THC. However, these products are only legal in the states that have legalized higher amounts of THC for recreational use. So, if you want to buy the company’s products in all 50 states, your options are limited to broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. These provide more CBD per bottle — upwards of 1000 mg.
The entire Medterra’s product range is tested in a third-party laboratory for their CBD content and safety.
- Premium-grade CBD oils
- Up to 3000 mg of CBD per bottle
- Available as full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and isolates
- Lab tested for potency and purity
- The “real” full-spectrum CBD oil isn’t available in all states
- Some of the lab reports indicate higher CBD levels than stated on the bottle
- No discounts for returning customers
10. Joy Organics
|Total CBD Content||450 – 900 mg|
|Available Flavors||Tranquil Mint, Fresh Lime, Summer Lemon|
|Potency||15 – 30 mg/mL|
About Joy Organics:
Joy Organics holds the reputation of one of the most reputable CBD vendors in the industry. The company was established by a woman named Joy Smith, who has been using CBD oil to manage her problems with pain and sleep. After experiencing the benefits of CBD first-hand, she has decided to share her passion for cannabis with other health-conscious consumers.
The brand sells a range of broad-spectrum CBD products from certified organic hemp. They have many positive reviews all over the Internet; they also haven’t received any warning letter regarding health claims from the FDA — unlike many companies in this space (even the veterans like Charlotte’s Web).
The Joy Organics CBD oil features a broad-spectrum CBD formula in a modest potency range, from 450 to 900 mg of CBD per bottle. You can choose from three refreshing flavors: Summer Lemon, Fresh Lime, and Tranquil Mint. The strongest version of the Joy Organics CBD oil contains 30 mg of broad-spectrum CBD in every milliliter, which is a standard dose for most people who take CBD oil for daily supplementation.
In 2018, one of the company’s flavored CBD oils was found to contain a fungicide that is commonly sprayed on citrus fruit during independent lab testing. Fortunately, Joy Organics recalled the product shortly after this incident and implemented a new third-party testing system to make sure there are no flaws in the end product.
- Non-GMO, US-grown hemp
- Supercritical CO2 extraction
- Broad-spectrum CBD
- Delicious flavors
- A bit expensive
- No high-strength oils
CBD Oil for Pain Management: Complete Guide for Beginners
Now that we’ve covered a few CBD oil options that are going to provide the best value for your money, let’s discuss how CBD is suggested to support chronic pain in the first place. We’ll also cover some of the most common ways people are using CBD oil for pain.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD stands for cannabidiol _ it’s one of the primary active ingredients in the cannabis plant. It’s completely non-psychoactive and offers a wide range of benefits to the human body.
CBD oil is a combination of a CBD extract, with a carrier oil to help dissolve and store the CBD. Most CBD oils use carrier oils like MCT oil, or hemp seed oil — which is then combined with CBD isolate, or full-spectrum hemp extract rich in CBD and other similar cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids like CBD are fat-soluble — which means they dissolve when mixed with oil, but won’t dissolve in water. By dissolving these compounds in an oil solution, the CBD becomes much easier to store and use. Instead of measuring out micrograms of CBD crystals or hemp resin, all you need to do is measure oil to get your dose of CBD. This can be done using a simple dropper that comes standard with most CBD oils.
Because of their ease of use, and long shelf-life, CBD oils have become the go-to method of using CBD and other hemp extracts.
You can also opt-out to use CBD-infused gummies if you wanted something discreetly, read our in-depth review on CBD Gummies to understand better.
How Does CBD Work?
Cannabis has been used for managing pain and inflammation for thousands of years.
The earliest records of the medical use of the herb date back to ancient China when the emperor Shen-Nung placed it among other therapeutic substances in the Chinese pharmacopeia (1). The leaves were wrapped around an injury as a poultice to reduce pain and discomfort, and reverse swelling and bruising.
Despite being a known medicine for a long time, scientists have only recently begun to unlock the mechanisms cannabis uses to achieve its important pain-killing benefits.
Since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in 1992, CBD and other phytocannabinoids have been in the spotlight of modern medicine.
The endocannabinoid system is one of the most important neurochemical networks in the human body (2). It works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system — a series of hormones and receptors that help regulate over a dozen core processes in the human body. The active compounds in the cannabis plant are very similar to the naturally-produced hormones involved with our endocannabinoid system.
By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD and other cannabinoids are able to modulate several key processes, such as:
- Immune function
- Sensory perception (including pain)
- Reproductive health
- Nerve function
How Can CBD Reduce Pain Transmission?
How does all of this relate to pain? The answer lies in the way pain is transmitted to the brain.
When we injure ourselves, cells in the immediate vicinity begin releasing compounds that trigger a cascade of inflammation and sensory activation — which is what triggers the pain transmission.
The pain signal is then sent to the spinal cord through a network of nerves distributed all around the body.
Once in the spine, the pain signal is sent through a gateway (opioid and vanilloid receptors) designed to limit the amount of signal that ends up in the brain for processing. This works like a border crossing. The border security decides whether or not you’re allowed to enter and what you can take with you.
In the context of pain, these gateways can limit the amount of pain signal that continues across the border to the brain. If more pain signal is allowed to pass, the brain perceives more pain. If the pain is stopped at the border, the brain perceives less pain.
Conventional pain medications work by activating the opioid receptors acting as a key gateway for pain transmission to the brain.
CBD has a similar effect, but through a different receptor is known as the vanilloid receptors. These vanilloid receptors are tasked with regulating a specific form of pain caused by either heat or inflammation. CBD has been reported to modulate this vanilloid receptor — leading to a reduction in the pain signals sent to the brain from inflammatory causes such as arthritis, muscle damage, or infection, to name a few.
CBD has other ways it can limit pain transmission as well:
- CBD may reduce inflammation, limiting the initial cause of pain in the body
- CBD acts as an antioxidant, helping the body resist and recover from damage
- CBD relaxes muscle fibers, reducing pain caused by muscle spasms and tightness
More research is needed to fully understand how CBD and other active cannabinoids can block pain. Every year dozens of new research papers are published in an attempt to paint a clear picture of how CBD works, how to get the most benefit from the supplement, and what its limitations are.
(Pain Transmission Pathway to the Brain)
Choosing CBD Oil Companies: How to Differentiate the Good From the Bad
CBD has become a lucrative business. Companies are selling a myriad of different CBD oils and other products in an attempt to cash in on the new health trend. This means there are a lot of excellent products coming to market, but it also means there’s a lot of trash as well. It’s important as a CBD user that you understand what makes a CBD oil good, and what makes it bad so you can avoid wasting your money, or worse — using CBD oils that contain harmful or damaging ingredients.
Let’s cover the most important points to remember when looking for CBD oil online retailers.
1. Check the Hemp Source
The source of the hemp used to make the oil is vitally important when it comes to determining which CBD oils are the best. The main reason comes down to the botany of the hemp plant itself.
Hemp is a bio-accumulator — which means it has the tendency to absorb compounds from the soil and accumulate them in its leaves, stems, and roots. The deep taproots of the hemp plant stretch far beneath the soil, pulling out and storing all the heavy metals and other elements it can find in the soil.
This aspect is in part why hemp is so nutritious, but it also means that plants grown in contaminated soils often contain contaminants that can be harmful to your health. Some of the worst offenders are heavy metals — which can build up in the body over time and lead to severe long-term health effects.
You want to avoid consuming heavy metals at all costs.
Poorly grown hemp could contain heavy metals, as well as other contaminants like mycotoxins, or pesticide residues that will end up in the CBD oil after all the processing is complete.
For this reason, it’s important to purchase CBD oil from companies that account for this effect. Only buy from company’s that make an effort to source hemp from organic farms, and take measures to assess every batch of hemp that enters the facility to determine heavy metal, microbial contaminant, and pesticide contamination.
The best hemp sources tend to come from states like Oregon, Colorado, or Alabama, as well as neighboring countries like Canada or Scandinavian countries. These places are all known for having high standards for hemp cultivation, and clean soils.
2. Look for CO2 Extracted Products
Once the company has the hemp, they need to extract the CBD from it. You can do this in many different ways using solvents like ethanol, methanol, hexane, ether, or butane. All of these solvents work to strip the active compounds from the hemp plant and can then be evaporated to leave behind a pure CBD-rich resin.
however, there’s a problem with these solvents.
Even in professional lab settings, it can be very difficult to remove all traces of these solvents from the final product. Most of these solvents are toxic to the human body, even in trace amounts.
Therefore, the best companies are using another method to strop the active ingredients from the starting hemp material. This method uses CO2 placed under high pressure. the high pressure and temperature control convert the CO2 into a phase that’s neither liquid nor gas. This special state is referred to as being supercritical.
Supercritical CO2 acts just like any other solvent, but with one key benefit — as soon as the pressure is relieved, the gas evaporates completely, leaving behind no harmful chemical residues.
when shopping for CBD oil, it’s ideal to look for a company that uses supercritical CO2 to extract the CBD rather than the toxic solvents mentioned above. Supercritical CO2 is very expensive and highly technical — but usually produces a far superior product in the end.
If a company is using harsh solvents like butane or propane (or they don’t tell you anything about their extraction methods), it’s a sign that you should look for another brand.
3. Ask for Third-Party Lab Reports
Every company has the option to send their products to an independent lab or third-party testing.
These laboratory tests check for the entire cannabinoid profile of the extract and are able to detect over 200 common contaminants.
Before a CBD product becomes available for sale, it should pass the laboratory test for potency and purity. If any inconsistencies are shown between different batches of the same product, the company should rework it and send it for analysis once again.
High-quality CBD companies will continually send each batch of product to a lab with no affiliation to the company (called a third-party or independent lab) for testing. These results are then published publicly on the website for customers to view.
The best companies will take this even one step further — adding a database and batch numbers on every bottle of CBD oil so you can view the results for your specific bottle of oil. Third-party testing is now an industry standard.
Always buy your CBD oil from companies that show third-party lab reports on their website. Only then will you know what’s inside the bottle before you even order a product. If the company is producing CBD oil that’s as high quality, as they say, there should be nothing to hide in these lab tests and they should be listed publicly on the company website. If you can’t find them on the site, you can ask customer service for these as well.
If these tests don’t exist, or you can’t track them down from the website or customer service — it’s best to avoid this company and move on to another that takes this important step seriously.
What the Research Says About Using CBD Oil for Pain:
Understanding how CBD works is no simple task. This compound is incredibly complex — working through a number of unrelated receptors around the body, interacting with enzymes, cell membranes, and various other cell structures. This makes studying CBD very difficult.
Nevertheless, there have been thousands of research papers published on medical marijuana — seeking to understand the interaction between cannabinoids like CBD and the human body. A lot of this research specifically focused on the effects of CBD on various forms and causes of pain. Let’s explore some of the results this research has yielded in the context of pain management.
1. CBD Oil for Chronic Back & Nerve Pain
The painkilling properties of cannabidiol have been most thoroughly studied in animal models, as well as a handful of human clinical trials.
One of the best studies we have available on the topic is a meta-analysis published in 2017. This analysis looked at 24 different clinical trials involving 1,334 patients over several years and demographics. These studies all used various forms of cannabis for treating chronic pain. The analysis reports that many of these studies showed a reduction in chronic pain scores by 50% or more (3) — suggesting the cannabis plant to be a potential treatment for chronic pain.
Another clinical trial looked at the effects of a combination of CBD to THC in the treatment of intractable cancer pain. This study found that twice as many people in the treatment group given CBD and THC had a 30% or more reduction in pain symptoms at the conclusion of the trial (6).
Even though more clinical trials on humans are needed to gauge how CBD affects specific forms of pain or other conditions, scientists believe the efficacy of CBD in treating chronic pain is related to its anti-inflammatory effects (3).
2. CBD Oil for Arthritis
CBD has had a lot of research as a potential alternative to prescription and non-prescription pain medications commonly used for alleviating arthritis pain.
Researchers have found a clear link between the endocannabinoid system and the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease associated with chronic pain and inflammation (4).
One of the key areas CBD is thought to support osteoarthritis specifically is through the effects on an enzyme known as 5-lipoxygenase — AKA 5-LOX. CBD has been shown to inhibit this enzyme (7), which converts fatty acids into pro-inflammatory compounds. These inflammatory messengers have been shown to be a key component in the underlying inflammation involved with osteoarthritis (8).
By reducing the underlying causes of arthritis pain, CBD is thought to reduce the overall burden of pain from the condition over the long term.
3. CBD and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Pain
Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is a potent neuroprotective — which is how experts believe CBD is able to relieve debilitating MS pain, —which affects roughly 50–70% of patients diagnosed with the condition.
A study conducted on animals at Cajan Institute tested the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD on mice the researchers wanted to find out if CBD can provide a reversed inflammatory response on those cells. After ten days, the researchers found a reduction in inflammatory markers with a rodent encephalitis model designed to imitate the impact MS has on the body (5).
More research is needed to see exactly how these effects are translated to humans. Currently, there are 23 clinical trials currently underway, or planned within the next 12 months seeking to explore the effects of CBD on MS.
4. CBD Oil in Sports: Injuries & Muscle Endurance
Cannabidiol can be applied in two different ways when it comes to pain and physical activities. For example, when you administer CBD orally in the form of oil as a post-workout, it helps alleviate the muscle inflammation that troubles athletes once they go beyond the edge again.
If, however, you’re suffering from an injury, it’s best to apply CBD topically. Its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties allow the cannabinoid to relieve pain and improve regeneration capacities.
Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?
The main reason why parents are so enthusiastic about CBD is that this cannabinoid is completely non-intoxicating, doesn’t cause addiction, and has only a few mild side effects when taken at excessive doses.
Research shows that even doses up to one and a half grams have no severe side effects on human health (9).
Despite being a notoriously safe supplement, there are some side effects of using CBD in high doses. Let’s cover the most common side effects people report from using CBD:
- Brain fog
- Reduced appetite
- Mood changes
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
The most common side effect by far, like other forms of cannabis, is dry mouth. This is best managed by taking your CBD oil along with some juice like pineapple or orange juice.
Another common side effect is lowered blood pressure, which may trigger another unwanted reaction — lightheadedness. This side effect is important to consider if you suffer from low blood pressure already or are taking blood pressure-lowering medications.
Always consult your doctor before using CBD or other cannabis extracts if you’re taking prescription medications or have underlying medical conditions.
In Summary: Buying CBD Oil For Pain
As CBD becomes more popular around the world, scientists are publishing new research on cannabinoids on a near-weekly basis. As time goes on, experts are mapping out the complicated mechanisms CBD and other hemp derivatives are using to support both acute and chronic pain of all different origins.
Here are the main takeaways from the current research:
- CBD inhibits inflammation at several different levels
- CBD offers antioxidant support
- CBD may relieve muscle tension and inflammation
- CBD interacts with the vanilloid receptors in the brain responsible for regulating inflammatory pain transmission
When it comes to pain, CBD appears to target the cause of the problem instead of just masking its symptoms.
Getting relief on so many levels and without any harmful side effects or risk of addiction is the reason why CBD oil has become so popular over the past half a decade.
I hope this guide has managed to clear up any confusion regarding CBD oil and pain, and given you the insight necessary to find the right CBD oil for the job.
Have you tried CBD oil for chronic pain? Did you feel any difference? Let me know in the comments below!
- Brand, E. J., & Zhao, Z. (2017). Cannabis in Chinese Medicine: Are Some Traditional Indications Referenced in Ancient Literature Related to Cannabinoids?. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, 108.
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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.