In a recent survey, more than 58% of CBD users reported the primary reason for using the supplement was to help manage chronic pain.
Another study found that 78% of respondents claimed CBD was effective for managing their symptoms, 12% said it was only mildly helpful, and just 10% found it didn’t work at all.
Other studies have shown that nearly 50% of users found CBD oil to be ineffective for managing pain.
So what gives? Why is there such a stark difference in survey results?
The answer comes down to the CBD oils people are using.
There are a ton of CBD brands on the market that simply can’t live up to the claims listed on the bottle. They contain little to no active ingredients. Many even test positive for contaminants that are to an increase in joint or abdominal pain.
Always order your CBD oil from reputable suppliers with a solid track record to avoid these common problems. If you’re interested in giving CBD oil a try, check out our roundup of the best CBD oil brands to use for pain in 2020.
Best CBD Oils for Pain: 2020 Reviewed
1. Royal CBD Oil — Editor’s Pick
|Total CBD||250 mg – 2500 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Berry, Mint, Vanilla|
|Potency (mg/mL)||8.5 – 85 mg/mL|
Royal CBD is a household name in the CBD industry. This brand is listed as the top-choice for pain and inflammation on a variety of reputable media outlets, including SF Weekly, LA Weekly, Observer, and more. This brand’s CBD products have also been recommended for pain by industry experts working for Daily CBD, and We Be High — just to name a few.
If the collection of recommendations isn’t enough to convince you, let’s take a closer look at exactly why Royal CBD is so frequently recommended for pain.
All Royal CBD oils are made with a full-spectrum hemp extract — which means the oil contains active CBD along with dozens of other ingredients. Inside each bottle, you’ll find other pain-killing cannabinoids like CBC, CBG, CBN, THCV, and more. You’ll also find an abundant supply of terpenes like myrcene, bisabolol, linalool, humulene, pinene, and others — most of which offer additional pain-killing benefits.
The combined effects of these hemp extracts offer much more potency than CBD on its own. Some boost the anti-inflammatory qualities of CBD — others block pain through other mechanisms. A few of these compounds will even improve the absorption of CBD in the gut. The combined benefits of these compounds are referred to as the entourage effect.
You can order Royal CBD oils in potencies ranging from 250 mg per bottle all the way up to 2500 mg.
2. Gold Bee CBD Oil — Best Value
|Total CBD||300 mg – 1200 mg|
|Available Flavors||Unflavored, Honey|
|Potency (mg/mL)||10 – 40 mg/mL|
Gold Bee is an artisanal CBD brand that only entered the market in 2019.
In as little as 12 months, Gold Bee has become one of the most frequently recommended CBD brands for managing pain in the United States. You’ll find mentions of this brand by publications such as CFAH, Venture Beat, and Weed News.
These oils are made from a full-spectrum extract, but with an added twist. The terpene content of these oils is about 30% higher than average due to an innovative extraction process employed by the Gold Bee team.
Gold Bee CBD oils are particularly high in the terpenes bisabolol and myrcene — both of which have been studied extensively for their pain-killing effects.
You can order Gold Bee oils online and have them shipped directly to your door. They’re sold in three separate potencies depending on your level of pain.
For mild or transient pain symptoms, the 300 or 600 mg bottles of oil should suffice.
For more severe or persistent pain, we recommend the high-potency bottle with 1200 mg of CBD.
As with any high-grade CBD oil, samples of all Gold Bee products are shipped to an independent lab in Colorado where it’s tested for cannabinoid profiles, terpene ratios, and to search for the presence of contaminants.
3. CBD Pure — Runner Up
|Total CBD||500 mg – 1800 mg|
|Potency (mg/mL)||50 – 180 mg/mL|
CBD Pure is not an American company. We’ve included it on our list as an option for people outside the United States who will have difficulty ordering from Royal CBD or Gold Bee (only shipped within the United States). CBD Pure oils are made from a high-grade full-spectrum extract using organically grown hemp.
Just like the other brands we’ve listed, CBD Pure provides up to date testing on everything that ships out of its facility. All test results are posted publicly on the company’s website.
These oils are very potent. While the total CBD concentration listed on the bottle is comparable to other products on this list (500 mg, 1000 mg, and 1800 mg), we need to consider the volume of oil this CBD is dissolved into.
CBD Pure doesn’t use the conventional 30 mL (1 ounce) bottles to make its oil. Instead, the company prefers a much smaller, 10 mL bottle size. This means the same amount of total CBD is diluted into a much smaller volume. The resulting potency is dramatically higher for every drop.
Even the weakest CBD oil offered by CBD Pure is considered to be a high-potency product. 500 milligrams of CBD in a 10 mL bottle is around 50 mg per mL — or 1.6 mg of CBD in every drop.
The highest potency oil (1800 mg) delivers 180 mg per mL — or 6 mg per drop.
You really only need a few drops of this stuff to get a powerful dose of pain-killing CBD.
What is CBD? How Does it Work?
CBD stands for cannabidiol — it’s the primary non-psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa). It’s just one of over 100 individual compounds classified as a phytocannabinoid.
Phytocannabinoids are structurally similar to a series of compounds produced in the human body known as endocannabinoids. These compounds function a lot like a hormone or neurotransmitter to relay messages around the body.
The endocannabinoids are a key part of the body’s ability to maintain internal balance — a process called homeostasis.
When the body falls out of balance, homeostatic mechanisms involving endocannabinoids step in to bring us back to where we need to be. This process happens for every organ in the body — including the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, liver, digestive tract, and immune system.
CBD and other cannabinoids work by supporting the function of the endocannabinoid system — making it more effective at maintaining balance throughout the body.
Exploring the Effects of CBD for Pain
CBD has many benefits, but by far, the most popular is for managing chronic pain.
CBD oils provide pain-relief through two key mechanisms:
A) Instant Relief: CBD & Pain Transmission
Within about 30 minutes of using CBD oil, the pain-relief starts to take effect.
The initial pain-relief comes from CBD’s ability to activate the opioid and vanilloid receptors — two key gateways for the transmission of pain.
When we ‘re injured, pain signals are sent through the nerves, up the spinal cord, and into the brain. Along the way, it passes through gated channels controlled by opioid and vanilloid receptors.
When CBD activates these receptors, they close the gate — reducing the amount of pain signals reaching the brain. This ultimately causes us to feel less pain.
While this effect is instant, it’s also temporary. As the CBD oil wears off, the pain gateways open again, and pain levels increase.
B) Long-Term Relief: CBD & Inflammation
The second method CBD uses to stop the pain is by reducing the inflammatory response.
Inflammation is one of the primary underlying causes of pain — especially chronic pain like arthritis, endometriosis, or colitis.
As inflammation is reduced, pain symptoms begin to subside.
This effect doesn’t happen overnight — it usually requires a few days of consistent CBD oil use before you start to notice it. However, unlike the first mechanism, this effect is long-lasting. As inflammation is reduced, the affected areas can begin to repair, leading to less pain the longer you use the oil.
How to Use CBD Effectively
Using CBD oil effectively is simple if you follow these three steps:
1. Find the right dose for your body — everybody responds to CBD differently; it’s important to start with a low dose and build up over time until you find a dose that gives you the effects you’re looking for
2. Be consistent with your dosing — CBD oil works best when used regularly over long periods of time
3. Combine CBD oil with other therapeutics — CBD oil is a powerful supplement, but it works better when used on top of other treatments (such as other health supplements, dietary changes, exercise, meditation, or medications)
4. Use cannabis terpene extracts — you can order terpene extracts to boost the effects of CBD isolate oils, or full-spectrum oils with poor terpene profile. The best source for terpene concentrates is Finest Labs.
5. Combine with other health supplements — CBD combines well with supplements such as boswellia (joint pain), kava (anxiety), or melatonin (sleep)
Summing it up: Best CBD Oils for Pain in 2020
CBD is, by far, the most popular natural health supplement for pain. You can order some quality oil for relatively cheap. Athletes often keep a bottle in their gym bag to manage joint pain after a workout, and people in the trades often keep it in their toolbag to handle low back pain from hauling heavy items around all day.
Unfortunately, not all CBD oils are going to be effective. There’s a problem with the industry regulation today that allows bad players to sell shockingly low-quality CBD oils at premium prices.
In order to save you the disappointment, we recommend you go with a CBD oil brand that has a solid track record and plenty of positive reviews.
For the best CBD oil for pain overall, we recommend you check out the 1000 or 2500 mg CBD oils from Royal CBD.
Gold Bee CBD oils are a strong second choice.
If you live outside the US, we recommend checking out CBD Pure instead.