CBD For Back Pain: Does it Really Help?

cbd for backpain

More than 30 million Americans suffer from back pain. Half of them admit experiencing severe back pain at least once a year. If you are one of the millions who experience back soreness and pain, the chances are that you’ve tried different treatments to relieve the discomfort—perhaps exercising, meditation, physical therapy, pain relievers, or even surgery.

While most of these options have proven to be partly effective, their success depends upon the condition and the severity of the pain.

Thankfully, this is an area in which CBD research has made significant progress, and from what we can see, CBD for back pain studies offers a great promise. CBD might alleviate the pain caused by injuries, certain conditions, and diseases, including arthritis, headache, menstrual cramps, osteoporosis, and more. If your back pain persists, maybe CBD is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Back Pain: Causes & Treatments

Back pain can affect people of any age due to numerous factors. It affects women and men equally and varies from uncomfortable muscle aching to burning and numbness, based on the type of injury or condition you might have. The pain may transmit down your legs and toes or worsen with walking, standing, or lifting.

See all CBD oil benefits here.

While mild back pain usually improves with home remedies and self-care within a few days, it may also persist past a few weeks, causing weakness in your legs and affecting your daily activities. Inactivity, lifting heavy objects, a sports injury, or an accident may also lead to back pain.

What Causes Back Pain?

To understand the cause of your back pain, you need to familiarize yourself with the back’s structure. The pain usually appears in the lower part around the lumbar area between the vertebrae discs, spinal cord and nerves, and ligaments around the spine.

The five vertebrae, or as doctors call them, L1-L5, support the upper body’s weight. In the case of an injury or disease, they may get out of position and cause pain. Ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, together with tendons and back muscles. The spinal cord has 31 pairs of nerves that control your movements and send signals to the brain. Problems with any of these sensitive components can lead to pain in the lower back.

Pain in the upper back may be due to aorta disorder, spine inflammation, or chest tumor. Poor posture or strain may also cause damage.

A back strain happens when you stretch or tear a ligament. Frequent causes of back strains are damaged disks, a muscle spasm, falls, or fractures. Some structural problems—including sciatica, arthritis, ruptured disks, or abnormal spine curvature—may also result in back pain.

Common Back Pain Treatments

In some cases, back pain goes away with rest, home remedies, and massages. However, if the problem is severe and causes you distress, you need to seek medical treatment.

Here are some of the most common back pain solutions:

  • Muscle relaxants – Can reduce pain but may cause lethargy
  • OTC painkillers – While Motrin IB, Aleve, Advil are useful for mild back pain, you can’t rely on them to alleviate your agony for good, and overuse can lead to unwanted side effects
  • Topical pain relievers –Gels and creams you can rub on your back to avoid cramps and tenderness

If you’ve already tried these options and none of them worked, maybe it is time to consider CBD for back pain.

What is CBD?

tincture as a type of cbd oil for back pain
The cannabis plant consists of two phytocannabinoids–THC and CBD. Hemp and marijuana are two products that come from the cannabis plant, and while marijuana contains more THC, hemp contains more CBD and doesn’t cause a “high” feeling.

CBD is cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive part of cannabis. In fact, most CBD products available don’t contain THC, the substance that causes physiological effects. The CBD on the market comes dissolved in oils and edibles, as well as gels, creams, and capsules.

How Does CBD Work?

According to one study, more than 50% of people said they had tried CBD to relax, ease muscle pain, and reduce stress. Research indicates that CBD might reduce pain by improving sleep patterns, decreasing anxiety, and reducing inflammation.

You can either apply CBD as a gel or ingest it as an edible. The effect is almost the same—the only difference is how targeted you want the pain relief to be. If your muscles are sore, apply CBD gel to relieve the pain area. If you feel low in energy, you might ingest CBD oil to relax, improve your mood, and reduce the overall body pain.

What Do Other Studies Say?

In June 2012, Xiong Wei published a study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine that analyzes the effects of cannabinoids on back pain and inflammation. According to the study, CBD suppresses inflammatory and alleviates chronic neuropathic pain caused by peripheral nerve injury.

Another study from Transplantation Proceedings in Uruguay reveals that patients who suffered chronic back pain in the lower area after kidney transplant saw improvements after taking CBD. Seven patients who received 50-150 mg CBD twice a day for three weeks expressed total pain improvement. In other words, the study reports that CBD seems to have a positive effect on reducing pain when delivered orally and at the right dosage.

Given these studies, we might safely conclude that preliminary studies show CBD’s potential to relieve the symptoms of back pain and soothe irritation.

Benefits of CBD Oil for Back Pain

Based on early evidence that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a natural muscle relaxant for relieving neuropathic pain, let’s take a look at the list of benefits you may enjoy by consuming CBD oil.

Works as an anti-depressant & anti-convulsant

Both anti-depressants and anti-convulsants have positive impacts on people suffering from lower back pain. Anti-depressants revamp brain chemistry and change the perception of pain. Even a low dosage of anti-depressants can alleviate the symptoms of back pain. Anti-convulsants work in a similar way – they prevent abnormal brain activity and reduce chronic back pain.

However, these medical drugs have several side effects and might not be suitable for some patients. A better alternative may be CBD oil since it contains anti-depressant and anti-convulsant properties. The linked study shows that CBD results in reduced depression and anxiety in rats. CBD may also result in  fewer to no side effects than actual anti-depressant medications. Numerous audiogenic and seizure tests have proven the anti-convulsant properties of CBD.

Relaxes muscles

People who suffer from low back pain sometimes find relief in muscle relaxants. While doctors prescribe these medications, they aren’t always effective. Muscle relaxants often help with alleviating the low back pain symptoms but are generally not adequate for more extended use, since they can cause addiction. Often, your muscles may stop reacting to the medications.

CBD looks promising as a much better option for many pain sufferers. Studies show that CBD influences the endocannabinoid system by adjusting the levels of endogenous cannabinoids, resulting in relaxed muscles. Considering these muscle-relaxing properties of CBD oil, many people are finding it to be an excellent remedy for reducing the back pain caused by ongoing conditions, diseases, or injuries. Several studies confirm that CBD has been effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and reducing muscle spasms.

Protects against disc degeneration

Disc degeneration is one of the many causes of chronic lower back pain. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesic features seem to protect the spinal discs from deterioration, which can help relieve some cases of low back pain. For this reason, many pain sufferers advocate consuming CBD daily to protect their bodies from intervertebral disc decay.

Over time, CBD seems to block pro-inflammatory mediators and to lower neutrophil migration, which effectively reduces inflammation and irritation.

How To Use CBD for Back Pain?

man having back pain
The first thing to do before you consider using CBD to help alleviate your back pain is to consult with your doctor. Even though many users report benefits from CBD, this treatment is still something new that requires more research. Your doctor will examine you and tell you whether you are a suitable candidate to start taking CBD to try to relieve lower or upper back pain.

While various ways of consuming CBD are on the market, CBD oil is one of the most common forms for topical or oral use.

Oral Use. Apply a few drops under the tongue and wait a few minutes for your body to absorb it. It is one of the simplest methods of getting the right dose of CBD oil into your body to address your chronic back pain. All you need is a small dropper bottle, and it will only take a few seconds to apply the drops.

Topical Use. Other people prefer rubbing the CBD oil directly onto the painful parts of the body. This topical application can be a pleasant option since your skin will absorb the benefits of CBD oil, and you will get a quick massage to lessen the soreness. If necessary, you can ask for help from your family or friends to reach certain parts of your back.

If none of these seems to be your preferred method of consuming CBD, you could try cooking with the oil instead. CBD oil is similar to edible oils, including vegetable oil, olive oil, or coconut oil, so you can substitute it in any recipe.

Here are some other ways to take CBD oil:

  • Smoke/vapor – If you’ve tried vaping, you might be interested in finding out that CBD in the form of a flower can be vaporized or smoked through the lungs. The advantage of this method is that your body will quickly absorb the CBD.
  • Other Topicals – CBD also comes in the form of creams, gels, and lotions. You can rub them directly into the painful area of your back or other locations.
  • Tinctures – Tinctures are small CBD droplets of oil mixed with alcohol or other oils. The CBD extract is a product of the hemp plant achieved through ethanol distillation. The main difference between CBD tincture and CBD oil is the manufacturing process.
  • Edibles – CBD gummies, chocolate, and cookies are an excellent way to take advantage of CBD’s health features in an easy-to-consume format. With a variety of flavors, you should be able to find a CBD cookie or chocolate that is a joy to eat.

Before consuming, check the product packaging to see how many CBD milligrams are in each. Keep track of your dosage, stay within safe guidelines, and consult with your doctor if you have questions about what dosage is right for you.

How Safe is CBD for Back Pain?

Cannabidiol, even in high dosages, is generally safe. However, if you consume too much too quickly, you might experience some of the following side effects:

As with other products, CBD has a potential for an allergic reaction when taken with other drugs and medications, so read the label before consuming anything.


Why has CBD attracted so much attention? The reason is that many people have found that it helps ease stress, anxiety, and physical pain without the psychoactive THC effects of marijuana or the addictive effects of medications (such as pain killers).

This track record is why there are so many CBD products offering users a quick solution to relieve their pain symptoms.

If you suffer from chronic back pain and you feel that you’ve exhausted your options and have tried everything so far, with nothing seeming to help, maybe it is time to consider CBD.

CBD for back pain can be most effective when taken in the right dosage and from the right supplier. However, be sure to consult your doctor before consuming CBD oil, tinctures, or edibles, especially if you are taking medication for your disease or injury.

FAQs About CBD For Back Pain

Question: What causes back pain?
Answer: Back pain can affect people of any age due to numerous factors. It affects women and men equally and varies from uncomfortable muscle aching to burning and numbness, based on the type of injury or condition you might have. The pain may transmit down your legs and toes or worsen with walking, standing, or lifting.

Question: What are the benefits of CBD oil for back pain?
Answer: CBD oil works as anti depressant, relaxes muscle and protect against disc degeneration.

Question: What are the various ways of consuming CBD for back pain?
Answer: There are different ways to use CBD like oral usage and topical use. If none of these seems to be your preferred method of consuming CBD, you could try cooking with the oil instead.

Question: How safe is CBD for back pain?
Answer: Cannabidiol, even in high dosages, is generally safe. However, if you consume too much too quickly, you might experience some side effects like headaches, mood swings, diarrhea and nausea.

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Gene Daniels

Gene is the head of the learning CBD Oil editorial team. He has been active in the hemp community for many years publishing works on hemp-based wellness. Mr. Daniels takes great care to ensure all health-related info is pulled from reputable resources and is free of personal bias.