Can I Rub CBD Oil On My Skin For Pain


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Now that CBD oil is becoming so widespread, people are using it for all kinds of benefits. But, many users have questions. Yes, you can rub CBD oil on your skin for pain – but there are better products you can use topically to achieve pain relief. Here we explain how to use CBD for pain.

Can I Rub CBD Oil On My Skin For Pain

Now that CBD oil is becoming so widespread, people are using it for all kinds of benefits. For some, like those reading this article, CBD oil can help provide pain relief. However, since these products are still relatively new, many users have questions. Fortunately, we have answers. If you’re unsure about using CBD for pain relief, let this article be your guide.

How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work for Pain Relief?

There are a few factors that can affect how CBD enters your system and starts providing pain relief. The most crucial element is the application process. Here are some examples:

  • Sublingual Application – There is a blood vessel underneath your tongue, meaning that CBD oil applied here will enter your bloodstream much faster. However, CBD can be a bit unpleasant for some, so this strategy may take some getting used to at first.
  • Direct Application – Some products allow you to rub CBD into the skin for topical pain relief. For example, if you have muscle pain or arthritis, a topical ointment may be better than rubbing CBD oil. Often, it’s best to use CBD creams and lotions (rather than oil) since they can nourish the skin while relieving pain.

On average, CBD can take up to six hours before you notice a significant difference. If you apply the oil sublingually, it will likely work faster. Other factors that can affect speed include body type, weight, and metabolism.

How Much CBD Oil Should I Take for Pain?

Since CBD oil can work differently for individuals, you may have to adjust your dosage accordingly. Overall, using CBD for pain relief isn’t an exact science (yet), so some guesswork is involved. The best thing to do is start with a relatively small dose and gradually work your way up. Your pain level can also dictate how much oil you should take. For example, if you’re experiencing mild pain, 20 milligrams may be enough. If you have severe pain, you might need to bump that up to 60 milligrams or more.

That said, don’t start with a high amount of CBD oil. While adverse reactions are extremely rare, you don’t know whether the oil can have some unintended side effects. Many people use CBD to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. So, taking too much could make you more relaxed than you anticipated, which can be a problem if you’re at work or driving.

As you adjust your CBD oil intake, keep notes about when you use the product and how much you’re taking. For some people, pain relief works best when taking CBD oil in the morning, while others may benefit from a nighttime dose. Having these notes will come in handy down the road.

What Pain Does CBD Oil Help?

The primary advantage of CBD is that it helps relieve inflammation in the body, especially around muscles and joints. Because chronic pain can be caused by inflammation, CBD oil can have a lasting healing effect. Simply put, CBD addresses the pain at the source, rather than numbing it or minimizing it for a little while.

One problem, however, is that there is limited research on the types of pain that CBD can treat. For now, preliminary evidence suggests that oils and other CBD products can help to alleviate the following ailments:

Arthritis – People used to use CBD and marijuana for rheumatism (aka arthritis) before cannabis was made illegal in 1937. Since arthritis is caused by joint inflammation, it makes sense that CBD works as pain relief.

Muscle Pain – Muscles can get inflamed for various reasons, such as working out or straining them. Topical CBD products seem to help relieve muscle pain after exercising or when there is a flare-up.

Migraines – So far, the only study related to CBD and migraines also included THC, which gets you high. However, it’s unclear if THC or CBD has the most potent effects, so CBD oil may work for some migraines or headaches.

How to Use CBD Oil for Pain

Overall, the best method for CBD oil application is under the tongue. Since there is a direct connection with blood vessels there, you can get faster and more complete relief. By comparison, if you ingest CBD (i.e., in a gummy), much of the substance gets broken down by your stomach acid.

Fortunately, CBD oil usually comes in a tincture with a dropper tool. So, all you have to do is place a few drops under the tongue, let it sit for a minute or two, then swallow. When you’re first starting, stick to a low dosage until you know how your body will react. As you increase the dose, it’s best to apply the oil in installments. For example, if you’re up to 50 milligrams, don’t put it all in your mouth at once. Otherwise, your saliva could dilute it.

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Can I Rub CBD Oil on My Skin for Pain?

Yes, you can. Rubbing CBD oil on the skin works best for topical pain relief, such as arthritis or muscle aches. However, standard CBD oil may not be the best choice since it can dry out your skin. Instead, we recommend mixing the oil with a topical lotion so that you get both pain relief and rejuvenation.

It will take a bit of experimentation to see how much CBD oil to add to the lotion if you decide to go this route. Alternatively, you can just buy CBD-infused creams and ointments so that you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

What is the Strongest CBD Oil You Can Buy?

There are tons of products out there that claim to be uber-potent, so we won’t waste time by listing them all here. Instead, we’ll talk about the difference between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD oil.

  • Full-Spectrum CBD – We highly recommend buying full-spectrum CBD products because they use the whole cannabis plant. While CBD may be the most beneficial ingredient, evidence suggests that the plant works best as a cohesive unit. Don’t worry about getting high, though, since commercial hemp has 0.3-percent THC or less.
  • CBD Isolate – Rather than processing the whole plant, manufacturers isolate the CBD and discard the rest. This method is more time-consuming and can be much more expensive without yielding any significant results.

When buying CBD oil products, pay attention to the type of CBD and make sure that the manufacturer is reputable. Some products will claim to be highly potent while having tons of fillers and ingredients that don’t help with pain relief.

Is it Okay to Take CBD Oil Every Night?

So far, there are no known chronic side effects of CBD oil. So, you can take it every night without any problems. Better yet, high doses of CBD can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, so there’s an added benefit of taking it at night.

Bottom Line: Find What Works Best for You

While CBD oil can be quite effective for pain relief, it doesn’t yield the same results for everyone. Some individuals may report substantial improvements, while others may have a milder reaction. When using CBD oil, keep in mind that you may have to adjust the dosage to suit your needs.

Since CBD works with your body’s endocannabinoid system, there’s a lot of biology at play, so there will be some trial and error. Don’t give up if you don’t notice any relief right away. Instead, experiment a bit to see what works best.

Can I Rub CBD Oil on My Skin for Pain?

CBD oil has a myriad of potential therapeutic uses, but the pain is the most popular reason why people take CBD supplements.

The question is, can you rub CBD oil on your skin for pain?

This may sound like an appealing idea, but before you proceed, read this article so that you don’t waste your hard-earned money.

Today, we explain how CBD works for pain and whether you should rub it on your back.

Can I Rub CBD Oil on My Skin for Pain?

Yes, but that’s not the best way to use CBD oil for pain.

The reason is simple: when you rub CBD oil on your skin, it has poor bioavailability, not to mention the formula lacks other supportive natural painkillers from oil.

Rubbing CBD oil on your skin for pain may provide some relief, but it will be nowhere near the results you would have achieved with a CBD cream or another skin-dedicated product.

Why Is CBD Cream Better for Pain?

CBD is fat-soluble, meaning it dissolves in fats. That’s why CBD oils use carrier fats like MCT oil, and CBD creams are based on coconut oil, hemp seed oil, and fruit oils.

Since CBD creams include more fats than CBD oil, they will absorb better into the skin.

Another advantage of using CBD creams over oils topically is the level of moisture your skin receives from the said fats.

Not only can CBD creams ease pain and soothe irritation, but they can also help replenish the natural skin barrier by interacting with CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

Last but not least, CBD creams contain an array of supportive ingredients, such as natural analgesics (e.g. menthol, arnica, cayenne pepper), essential oils (terpenes), and regenerative compounds (e.g. manuka honey, aloe vera).

Together, these botanicals work synergistically with CBD, either enhancing or complementing its painkilling potential.

How to Use CBD Oil for Pain the Right Way

You can use CBD oil for pain, but make sure you pick the right format. As mentioned, rubbing CBD oil on your skin isn’t the best way to address physical discomfort.

However, you can support your natural pain resistance and thwart the causes of pain, such as inflammation, by using the following products.

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We’ll explain the analgesic mechanisms of CBD later in the article.

Here are the best ways to use CBD for pain besides creams

1. Take Sublingual Drops

CBD oil drops are the most popular format of hemp supplements. It comes in glass bottles, with a dropper attached for accurate dosing.

To use CBD oil for pain, measure out the desired amount using the dropper — and transfer it under the tongue.

Once there, hold the oil for up to 60 seconds, swishing the tongue around the inside of your gums to increase the surface area for absorption.

You should be able to notice the first signs of relief around 20 minutes after ingestion.

If you suffer from chronic pain, CBD may need more time to start working. It’s best to test different doses for around 2 weeks to let your endocannabinoid system level its deficiencies.

2. Eat a Gummy

Gummies are the most enjoyable form of CBD. If you don’t like the taste of full-spectrum CBD oil or don’t want to mess with the dropper all the time, gummies are a perfect alternative.

A CBD gummy contains a fixed dose of CBD per serving. The sugars and juice concentrate mask the hempy aftertaste, making them fun and convenient to use.

With that said, CBD gummies have one downside. Namely, they kick in with a delay — around between 30 minutes and 2 hours.

But on the other hand, the effects last longer – around 8 hours – making CBD gummies a considerable pick if you’re looking for long-lasting pain management.

3. Vape CBD Resin

CBD vape pens offer the fastest and most effective way to deliver CBD to your system. They contain CBD distillate (a highly concentrated extract) and a blend of terpenes that pushes the effects in a specific direction. You can choose CBD vape resin infused with analgesic terpenes if you’re using CBD oil for pain.

However, despite their high bioavailability, the effects of CBD vapes are relatively short-lasting – up to 3 hours.

How to Rub CBD Cream on Your Skin for Pain

Let’s say you’ve bought a high-quality CBD cream for pain, and you want to rub it on your skin instead of the oil.

First, ensure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients in the cream. Run a quick patch test by applying a tiny amount of the cream to the inside of your wrist.

If you don’t see any signs of irritation, you can use a larger amount.

CBD creams are difficult to dose. If you suffer from serious physical discomfort, you may need to use a more liberal amount a few times a day.

Generally speaking, it’s best to apply CBD cream for pain as needed. Topicals won’t prevent pain, but they can reduce the intensity of flare-ups.

Does CBD Oil Help with Pain?

Yes, pain is actually one of the best-researched areas when it comes to the therapeutic potential of CBD.

CBD has been touted as a novel anti-inflammatory drug, and its positive effects on chronic pain are well documented in the scientific literature.

Let’s look at how CBD targets pain — both its roots and the communication between pain messengers.

How Does CBD Work for Pain?

CBD stands for cannabidiol and is the modulator of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) – the primary self-regulatory network in all mammals.

The ECS is made from receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes; together, they work to promote and maintain homeostasis throughout the body.

The receptors of the ECS are found all over the body, with the largest concentrations in the central nervous system, immune system, blood cells, and peripheral organs.

The ECS controls essential homeostatic functions, such as mood, memory, body temperature, sleep cycles, immune function, appetite, reproduction, and pain perception.

Inflammation and pain signaling is mediated by both cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2.

CBD & Resistance to Pain

CBD signals the ECS to produce more anandamide.

Anandamide is one of your main endocannabinoids, also known as the bliss molecule. It controls your reactions to fear, pleasure, and pain, on top of many other important functions.

Insufficient amounts of anandamide are linked with low hypersensitivity to pain.

CBD also inhibits an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, making it more available to the body.

With higher levels of anandamide in the bloodstream, the ECS may restore proper responses to pain in your body.

CBD for Inflammation

CBD offers significant anti-inflammatory properties. These effects stem from CBD’s interactions with the CB2 receptor.

Once CBD binds to it, the ECS inhibits the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, reducing the occurrence and intensity of inflammation.

CBD can also suppress an overactive immune system in specific regions without shutting it down completely like conventional immunosuppressants.

Last but not least, CBD demonstrates immunomodulatory effects, improving communication between the cells of the immune system.

CBD & Pain Signals

CBD may alter pain transmission from the presynaptic nerve ends in the CNS to the postsynaptic nerve ends in the brain.

It does this by interacting with the TRPV1 receptor, the same receptor involved in seizure activity (that’s why CBD can help with seizures).

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So, not only do you receive less pain from inflammation, but your brain also receives weaker pain signals.

What to Look for in the Best CBD Products for Pain

  • Organic ingredients: both hemp and other ingredients should come from organic sources. Hemp is an effective bioaccumulator, meaning it will absorb and accumulate every substance from its environment. Other botanical ingredients in the formula may also be contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals if not sourced organically. These toxins may irritate the skin and mess with your nervous and immune systems.
  • Additional painkillers: there are plenty of natural analgesics out there. Some of them enhance the painkilling effects of CBD, while others add an additional layer of relief on their own. Popular ingredients in CBD products for pain include menthol, honey, arnica, cayenne pepper, lavender, limonene, and aloe vera.
  • Certificates of Analysis (CoAs): reputable companies test their products in third-party laboratories for potency and purity. The certificate of analysis contains the list of all ingredients in the CBD product, including common contaminants, such as the aforementioned pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and mold. Only purchase from brands that publish these certificates on their websites or send them to customers with their orders.

Is CBD Safe?

Yes, CBD has a decent safety profile. Even doses as high as 1,500 mg taken daily for several weeks were well-tolerated by humans.

CBD may cause a few mild side effects in large doses, including drowsiness, dry mouth, changes in appetite, sedation, and diarrhea.

If you take any medications, talk to your doctor before buying CBD oil or cream for pain. CBD interacts with the majority of pharmaceutical drugs, so a consultation with a doctor will save you some undesired and potentially dangerous side effects.

Is it Legal?

Yes, CBD oil is legal in all 50 states as long as it comes from hemp. In 2018, President Trump signed the amended Farm Bill that removed hemp from the list of controlled substances.

Today, hemp can be grown and sold for any purpose — including health supplements like CBD oils and creams.

The only condition is that all hemp-derived products must contain 0.3% THC or less.

Final Verdict: Can You Rub CBD Oil on Your Skin for Pain?

Theoretically, you could rub CBD oil on your skin for pain, but it’s not worth the hassle.

CBD oil is made for sublingual uses, meaning you take it under the tongue for the best results.

Rubbing it on your skin only wastes its potential – there are skin-dedicated CBD products out there.

We recommend using a CBD cream or roll-on gel for pain. Common pain-relief formulas include ingredients like menthol, cayenne pepper, essential oils, and honey; all of them work alongside CBD to reduce discomfort.

Topicals are great for easing localized pain. For general pain management and wellness support, use other forms like vapes, oil drops, or gummies.


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Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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