How to Use CBD Oil for Pain Relief?

Recent anecdotal reports and scientific study have found CBD oil to hold great potential for pain relief. From reducing inflammation to assisting restorative sleep and boosting mood, for people with acute or chronic pain, CBD oil can be a powerful tool. But how exactly do you use CBD oil for pain relief?

The exact way you choose to supplement with CBD oil will depend on your preferences and your particular pain condition.

In order to best understand how to use CBD oil for pain relief, you need to know how CBD oil can impact your body and the differences between delivery formats.

CBD Oil for Pain Relief: How it works

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce a wide range of effects.

The human body naturally produces cannabinoids and has cannabinoid receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, located throughout the brain and central nervous system. While the cannabinoid delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) binds directly to CB1 receptors, CBD does not bind directly to either one. CBD works indirectly, allowing the body to better and more effectively use the cannabinoids it already produces.

For example, CBD impacts the glycine receptors that are located in the central nervous system. These are inhibitory receptors that play a role in the perception of pain. CBD increases the effectiveness of the glycine receptors, which can significantly reduce pain, neuropathic pain in particular.

Inflammation is a big part of any pain condition. Inflammation is a normal immune response to damage or injury. Unfortunately, this response can get out of control sometimes causing the body to attack perfectly healthy cells. CBD can slow the reuptake of a neurotransmitter called adenosine by blocking one of its primary receptors. This action increases the amount of adenosine available in the body, reducing the inflammatory response.

Research into the uses and mechanisms of CBD are ongoing and as more results come in, the better we will understand how it works in the human body. But until then, early indications seem to suggest that using CBD oil for pain relief may be an effective solution.

How to Use CBD Oil For Pain Relief

How you use CBD oil for pain relief will depend on your specific condition and the results you are hoping to see.

The approach you would take to relieve a sudden headache, for example, might be different from the approach you would use to relieve chronic nerve pain.

Different CBD oil delivery formats work at different speeds and last for varying amounts of time.

CBD Oil Delivery Format

Time of Onset


Recommended Uses




30-60 minutes after ingestion

Between 4 and 6 hours.

Chronic or acute pain, sudden pain. Provides superior dosage control.

CBD oil is absorbed through the skin under the tongue, bypassing the digestive system, going to work quickly.

Easy to adjust the dose up or down as needed.

Some products have a hemp flavor that may not appeal to everyone.

Can be difficult to get a consistent dose.


Will depend on metabolism and the amount of food already in the stomach. Typically shows effects within an hour.

Between 6 and 12 hours.

Chronic or acute pain. Provides a consistent dose.

Provides a consistent dose of CBD oil.

Discreet, easy way to take CBD.

CBD oil must pass through the digestive system before taking effect.

Some of the potency may be lost in digestion.

Dosage is more difficult to adjust.

Topical Creams

Will depend on a few factors like the amount of fatty tissue. Typically shows effects within 60 minutes

Can last 5 hours or more.

Localized or sudden muscle and joint pain. Provides spot relief and can easily be worked into a daily skincare routine.

Offers the ability to target the area of pain.

Can offer additional skincare benefits.

Can be slow to take effect.

Transdermal Patches

Depends on the same factors as topical creams. Could take an hour or more to show effects.

Can last up to a day or two.

Chronic pain. Provides time released pain relief. Ideal for times when another delivery format may be unavailable.

Provide long last relief.

Convenient and discreet to use.

Can be slow to show the effects.

The pain relief solution that works best for you will be unique. Sometimes one product will do, sometimes, you need more than one. Given that CBD oil has few negative side effects, a low risk for addiction, and no reported lethal dosage, you can experiment a little to find what works best in your situation.

CBD Oil For Pain Relief: Muscle and Joints

Muscle and joint pain, whether from arthritis, an autoimmune condition like lupus, or a strenuous workout, can get in the way of day to day life. Depending on the severity or cause of the pain, you may consider using a combination of products.

Topical CBD oil can work wonders to stop the pain directly where it is happening.

If more immediate action is required, also using a CBD oil tincture can provide relief within 30 minutes, offering a more well-rounded solution.

CBD Oil for Pain Relief: Chronic Pain

When using CBD oil to relieve chronic pain, it can be beneficial to use a tincture or capsule that provides a more consistent effect. Chronic inflammation is often at the heart of chronic pain. These administration routes make it easy to take CBD oil every single day, providing an ongoing reduction in inflammation, helping to reduce or prevent pain before it even starts.

For severe chronic pain, it might be useful to also use a CBD transdermal patch. While these can be slow to take effect, they can provide relief for up to 12 hours. During times when taking additional CBD oil doses is difficult or impossible, transdermal patches can offer a time released, consistent amount of CBD, reducing pain without effort.

CBD Oil for Pain Relief: Acute Pain

Everyone hurts once in a while. Whether you get the occasional headache, experience menstrual pain, or are prone to strains, sprains, and bruising, a CBD oil tincture can offer quick relief when you need it. Because it does not have to go through the digestive system, CBD oil tinctures are absorbed right away and go to work in soon as 30 minutes. In this format, CBD oil is pretty portable so you will be able to take it with you for use whenever pain pops up.

As mentioned above, taking a CBD oil in a capsule, tincture, or edible may be able to help reduce sudden pain occurrences by reducing the body’s inflammatory immune response, creating a more pain-free life in general.

CBD Oil for Pain Relief: Dosage Recommendations

When it comes to using CBD oil for pain relief or anything else, there is no single recommended dose.

CBD oil’s effectiveness is impacted by several factors including age, weight, metabolism, and method of administration. Because no two people are the same, no two ‘ideal’ doses will be the same. And to make matters even more complicated, the ideal dose for you can change over time.

It is recommended that you follow the suggested serving or dosage recommendations that come with your CBD oil product unless a physician has suggested otherwise. Take the lowest recommended dose and see how you feel. If you need to take more, slowly increase the dose over the next few weeks until you find the results you are after.

If you’re ready to shop for CBD oils specially formulated for pain relief, check out our store!