Top 10 CBD Oils – Our Favorites for 2021
The CBD oil that works best for you should meet your needs for symptom relief, price point, and minimal side effects. It may even depend on your previous experience with marijuana and cannabis products. Since this is different for everyone, you may need to do your own research and try a couple different oils before you find the one you like best.
However, if you’re like us, you probably don’t want to break the bank testing out a variety of products. That’s why we’ve already done it for you. Below, we’ve picked the top 10 CBD oils currently on the market and evaluated them for a range of different uses. Whether you’re looking for an unflavored oil, broad-spectrum, or high potency, we’ve got you covered.
Keep in mind that CBD could be a great option toward holistic health and wellness, though there’s still much research to be done. Use our guide to help get started with CBD.
Top 10 CBD Oils
- Best Potency – Spruce
- Best Natural Ingredients – NuLeaf Naturals
- Best By Reviews – MedTerra
- Best For Beginners – Naternal
- Best Natural Flavor – Cornbread Hemp
- Best Without THC – Sunday Scaries
- Best Full Spectrum – Populum
- Best Organic Oil – Vital Plan Select
- Best Low-Cost – Superfine
- Best To Buy In Bulk – Mega Good Vibes
Our Favorite CBD Oil
Spruce 2,400mg Lab Grade CBD Oil
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil or Cannabidiol is a natural molecule of cannabis, which comes from the hemp plant. It’s become popular in the media over the last couple of years, but it was discovered before THC in 1940. The chemist, Roger Adams, of Harvard University was the first person to extract CBD successfully, and scientists started to see the benefits of CBD in the 1960s.
Scientists Dr. Walter S. Loewe and Dr. Raphael Mechoulam took further steps to conduct a test to prove CBD doesn’t alter your mental state. They also identified the three-dimensional structure of the molecule.
CBD oil can be made from both hemp and marijuana, but there are some key difference between the two. Unlike marijuana, hemp plants are legal in the U.S. since the introduction of the 2018 Farm Bill which excluded it from the Controlled Substances Act, and therefore all hemp-derived products are legal. Another main difference between CBD oil derived from hemp versus CBD oil derived from marijuana is the cannabinoid content. Unlike marijuana, which contains between 5% and 30% THC, hemp plants legally cannot contain more than 0.3% of THC. As a result, hemp-derived CBD oil does not have THC’s intoxicating effect, allowing you to experience the benefits of CBD without the “high” associated with marijuana.
How is CBD Oil Produced?
What exactly does it mean when you see “hemp extract” on the label of CBD oil? CBD production starts with the process of extraction from the cannabis plant. Different extraction methods can be used for converting hemp into CBD products, but the quality of the extraction varies.
The CO2 process is the most common method for CBD oil and provides high-quality extraction. It is performed by heating CO2 and diffusing it throughout the hemp plant to pull the oil. Extraction then leads to the many methods of bottling and consumption, such as tinctures, vape juice, CBD oil-infused coffee and beer, gummies, massage oils, and pet treats.
You can ingest the oil by mixing it with other drinks and liquids or simply put a few drops on your tongue. Gummies are also extremely popular, and many people feed their pets CBD infused treats to help with anxiety and illnesses. Topical oils and lotions containing CBD may also alleviate sore muscles and joint aches. Users enjoy CBD oil as it may relieve pain, anxiety, inflammation, nausea, and seizures.
Why Should Seniors Use CBD?
CBD is increasingly popular for those who want to find natural relief for health conditions or who are looking to promote their overall wellness. In particular, seniors may find relief from the use of CBD oil as the potential benefits it offers align with conditions commonly experienced as we age. If you’re looking for a natural, plant-based product instead of pharmaceuticals, CBD may temporarily ease symptoms caused by digestive problems, muscle pains, and other conventional medical issues. Users report that CBD oil causes minimal side effects, is non-toxic, non-addictive, and there are currently no reported deaths or overdoses linked to CBD. CBD oil may be an excellent alternative to some medications as it is cost-effective, easy to use, and eco-friendly.
How to Start Using CBD
While the FDA is working to answer questions about the science, safety, and quality of CBD products, there are no regulatory guidelines in place just yet. However, the medical community is more commonly suggesting CBD as a potential option for the relief of temporary symptoms. While CBD can deliver a variety of health benefits, we advise consulting your doctor before taking CBD. Your current health conditions and any prescription medications should be considerations, as adverse CBD drug interactions can be a concern. It is known to increase the effects of some drugs, including blood thinner or over-the-counter medication, which has the risk of blood-thinning like ibuprofen. Your doctor can help identify if it is safe for you to take CBD or suggest a precise dose that won’t be harmful.
Determining what dose of CBD oil to take includes looking at many factors, including your body’s chemistry and BMI. You should always consult your medical provider to assess accurately how much of the product you should take. It is also smart to start at a lower dose and slowly increase your daily use. Before beginning to use CBD, you should consider the quality of a CBD product based on organic growing techniques, extraction method, mg per dose, full-spectrum offerings, flavors, and reviews reporting effectiveness.
Top 10 CBD Oils for Seniors
There are many CBD oils out there these days, so we’ve narrowed it down to 10 great options to kickstart your entry into the CBD world. We compared CBD oils based on how they utilized, price, dosage, size, and top features. We also considered the diet’s it may be best suited for and unique qualities. By collecting customer reviews and research, we’ve got you covered on the best CBD products available.
25 mg / 80 mg per dropper
- Family owned business
- Unique moonshine extraction method
- Vegan and gluten-free
- Offer an “extra strength” potency
Spruce offers lab-grade CBD in the form of oils and cream. They offer a competitive price with 2,400 mg of oil at $269, and 750mg oil tinctures for both humans and dogs at $89. They also offer a subscribe and save option for all products that will give you a 15% discount and free shipping. Spruce offers one of the best options in dosage and price comparison, and customers agree that it’s hard to beat their potency. Learn more about Spruce’s CBD oils in our full review.
Best Natural Ingredients
5 mL, 15 mL, 30 mL, 50 mL,
and 100 mL
- Derived by CO2 extraction
- Made without additives or preservatives
- Fast and free shipping
- Third-party lab tested
NuLeaf Naturals offers CBD oil in its most pure and simple form. The company features a variety of bottle sizes making it easy to find your optimal dosage, whether you use CBD every day or just when you need it the most. Each bottle contains CBD oil that is free of additives, preservatives, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. When using NuLeaf Naturals CBD oil, drop your preferred dose under your tongue and hold it before swallowing. Many customer reviews celebrate the product’s effectiveness for minor pain, such as shoulder and backaches.
Best By Reviews
50 mg, 1000 mg or 3000 mg per bottle
- US Hemp Authority Certified
- Ship to all 50 states and internationally
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Non-GMO and organic
- 10% discount when you subscribe
MedTerra offers CBD tinctures that combine 99% CBD and MCT oil in one-ounce bottles. They offer 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 3000 mg per dropper, and the tinctures have measurement markers to allow for accuracy and flexibility in servings. The average customer reviews for MedTerra are the best based on price, effectiveness, and speediness in delivery.
Best for Beginners
20 mg – 80 mg per serving
- Combines CBD with MCT oil
- Published lab results online
- Proprietary True Dosing System to help guide beginners
- Testimonials about reduced anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Contains less than 0.3% THC
Naternal is a Hemp company with a desire to help newcomers access the benefits of CBD. The company has developed a proprietary True Dosing System and online guide that can help you customize your dose regardless of which Naternal product you choose. The company uses 20 mg as its foundation for dosing, which is usually the standard minimum dose recommended for most adults. Their Full Spectrum Help Extract Oil is available in 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg servings.
Best Natural Flavor
25 mg per serving
- Distilled to 75% purity
- Quick absorption
- Natural flavor
- Kentucky-grown hemp
- 30-day satisfaction guarantee
Cornbread Hemp gets its name from Kentucky hemp farmers who grew the plant as far back as 1775, even before it was legal. Now that hemp and CBD are legal nationwide, Cornbread Hemp is dedicated to using the highest-quality Kentucky hemp to provide a variety of wellness products to its customers. The Original CBD Oil offers CO2 extracted CBD that’s distilled to 75% purity. For best results, take Cornbread Hemp CBD Oil daily directly in your mouth or mixed in with a beverage. Customer reviews especially liked its effects on sleep, anxiety, and chronic pain.
Best Without THC
10 mg per serving
- Contains coconut oil and organic stevia
- Contains vitamins D3 and B12
- Broad spectrum, meaning no THC
- Subscription savings
- Hemp sourced from Colorado
True to its name, Sunday Scaries CBD Oil helps eliminate some of life’s common everyday anxieties. The company says their CBD can help with sleep, calming your mind at night, relieving flight anxiety, and enhancing your meditation. Though these claims have not been evaluated by the FDA, customer reviews do say they’re happy with the oil and its effects after everyday use. The oil is broad spectrum, meaning it contains absolutely no THC. While most oils still contain trace amounts, this option could be best if you’d like to avoid THC altogether. This oil is also designed to be better tasting and packed with essential vitamins that may help regulate your nervous system and even boost your immune system. To use, start with 1/3 of a dropper. You should feel effects within 20 to 30 minutes after ingestion.
Best Full Spectrum
8 mg – 33 mg per serving
- Ethically sourced hemp from Colorado
- Award-winning orange flavor
- Non-GMO and gluten-free
- 30-Day risk-free trial
- Step-by-step instructions available online
Populum offers a Full Spectrum CBD Oil with more than 500 excellent customer reviews. Populum sets itself apart with a dedication to the customer experience, from purchasing the bottle to using it for the first time and coming back for more. Customers say they enjoy the unique, mild orange flavor, and the oil has helped them get a full night’s sleep and feel overall better throughout day to day activities. If you’re just getting started, Populum recommends starting with the 8mg dose each day, and even offers a video tutorial of how you can successfully take your CBD tincture.
With a full-spectrum CBD oil, this means that the product you get undergoes minimal processing. Using an extract method like CO2 extraction, CBD and more cannabinoids are drawn out of the hemp plant. These products do contain very nominal amounts of THC. Some companies and studies assert that the additional cannabinoids in full-spectrum products help to boost CBD’s effects.
Best Organic Oil
Vital Plan Select
20 mg – 40 mg per serving
- Certified organic green cherry hemp
- Full-spectrum with terpenes and organic compounds
- Contains MCT oil and peppermint extract
- Peanut, egg, and dairy free
- Contains less than .3% THC
Vital Plan Select offers a USDA-certified organic CBD oil that’s sourced from Colorado-grown hemp. Vital Plan Select is dedicated to providing customers with the safest CBD experience possible, ensuring their product is safe for vegetarians, those with Celiac Disease, and anyone with common peanut, egg, or dairy allergies. The Vital Plan Select oil is full spectrum, meaning it contains trace amounts of THC along with additional cannabinoids and hemp compounds, including terpenes. This product has up to 6 times more terpenes than most other CBD oils on the market, which could help enhance the effects of CBD.
250 mg – 750 mg per bottle
- Free or preservatives and pesticides
- Vegan, organic, and gluten-free
- Processed in FDA-registered facility
- Third-party lab results immediately available
- 30-day satisfaction guarantee
Superfine offers one of the most budget-friendly options for CBD lovers and beginners alike. Their Organic CBD Oil has a starting price of $38. Furthermore, you can cut your cost to $30.40 by opting for a monthly subscription. Superfine CBD Oil is easy to use with a marked dropper that ensures you’re taking the correct dose. Simply drop the oil under your tongue and hold it for one minute before swallowing. You can take the CBD oil twice per day and split your dose in the morning and night for best results.
Best to Buy in Bulk
Mega Good Vibes
$174.99-$199.95 per bottle
2500 mg per bottle
- Organically grown hemp
- Contains MCT oil and peppermint oil
- 30-day satisfaction guarantee
- Colorado-grown hemp
- Triple-tested hemp
Mega Good Vibes offers a pure hemp extract CBD oil that includes MCT coconut oil and peppermint oil for flavor. The company offers a unique offering of 2-packs, 3-packs, and 6-packs, so you can buy a single bottle or buy in bulk. When you first purchase a bottle, you get a 30-day satisfaction guarantee so you can determine if it’s the right product before purchasing again. Overall, the bulk options will offer cost savings if you know you enjoy the CBD oil for everyday use. To use Mega Good Vibes, you can take 1-3 servings per day depending on your unique dose and needs. The company does recommend starting with one full dropper before increasing your dose from there. Customers say they enjoy the oil to help relieve stress throughout the day and to sleep better at night.
What are the Potential Benefits of CBD?
The properties of CBD have the potential to provide health benefits for a wide range of conditions, as increasingly evident by scientific research. For many, CBD may improve quality of sleep and temporarily relieve insomnia. Studies have also shown it can help alleviate pain and inflammation frequently caused by arthritis and joint pain. More recent research suggests that CBD may improve heart health. A 2017 study determined CBD can reduce blood pressure and may also have therapeutic potential for treating cardiovascular disorders by reducing cardiac inflammation. There is also promising research that CBD may help preserve bone density and promote bone fracture healing, which both can be issues of concern for many seniors.
Potential Benefits of CBD:
Is CBD safe for seniors?
CBD may have many benefits for seniors, but it’s essential to consult with your doctor before giving CBD a try. Your current prescriptions and medications may react with CBD products, so your doctor can recommend replacing CBD with some medications or advise on the correct dosage for your specific needs.
Does CBD oil have side effects?
Side effects of CBD are rare but could include dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. If you’re taking other medications, CBD can affect the way the liver breaks down those medications causing an adverse reaction. CBD has also been linked to temporarily lowering blood pressure.
Can I buy CBD oil online?
CBD oil has increasingly become more available online, with numerous retailers across the world shipping CBD right to your doorstep. It helps to do your research and compare products based on potency, flavors, price, size, extraction, broad vs. full-spectrum, how you consume the CBD, dietary restrictions, and other factors. There are many CBD options for you to try out as you begin your journey.
Tips for Purchasing CBD Oils
CBD Oil Choices
Because there are so many CBD products available, it is first helpful to know there are three major categories to choose from, each with different characteristics: CBD Isolate, Full Spectrum CBD, and Broad Spectrum CBD. Although products may differ, they all deliver CBD inside a carrier oil, and these categories will indicate which type of cannabinoid your product contains.
As with CBD Isolate, there is no significant level of THC in Full Spectrum CBD though it’s not completely removed. Unlike CBD Isolate, the additional compounds found within the cannabis plant are preserved, offering the potential for a broader range of therapeutic benefits and a higher level of relief comparatively.
Full Spectrum CBD
As with CBD Isolate, there is no significant level of THC in Full Spectrum CBD though it’s not completely removed. Unlike CBD Isolate, the additional compounds found within the cannabis plant are preserved, offering the potential for a broader range of therapeutic benefits and a higher level of relief comparatively.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad Spectrum CBD is similar to Full Spectrum in that it contains a variety of cannabinoids for added Benefit, but it has zero THC. Though there is less research available for Broad Spectrum CBD, it may be the right choice if you are sensitive to THC or have a condition not alleviated by Isolate CBD that may benefit from the enhanced effect of multiple cannabinoids.
CBD Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil vs. Full Spectrum Hemp Oil
CBD oil, hemp seed oil, and full-spectrum hemp oil all have potential health benefits that interest consumers. It is essential to know, however, that they are very different products. Here we will help you understand the differences and how to choose which one may be the safest and most appropriate for your needs.
CBD oil utilizes the highly concentrated CBD found in flowers, stalks, and leaves of the hemp plant. Hemp plants produce a variety of cannabinoids with numerous potential medicinal benefits from relieving pain and inflammation to treating epilepsy. It can be ingested or used topically.
Hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. These seeds are nutrient-rich but do not contain CBD. Hemp seed oil offers many healthful benefits and can be used in a variety of ways. It is packed with essential fatty acids and amino acids and often taken a supplement to support cardiovascular health, promote brain function, and for its possible antioxidant and anti-aging effects. It is commonly found as a capsule or tincture or used topically for skincare.
Full-spectrum hemp oil refers to the oil produced from the entire Cannabis sativa plant, not just the seeds. Full-spectrum hemp oil that also contains plant matter has a higher concentration of other additional compounds that may offer more benefits when used for issues such as inflammation and muscle tension. It can be found in different forms, including capsules, balms, tinctures, and more.
CBD in the News
CBD is undoubtedly gaining traction. The shifting and growing market see an increase in online purchasing and an increase in the types of CBD products used. The CBD oil market is expected to grow by almost 32% by 2027. With CBD products becoming more accessible and affordable, companies are also becoming aware of the pressure of getting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval.
Seniors are increasingly looking towards CBD for treating aches and pains, but it can be challenging to find safe products while the market isn’t regulated. While the FDA is still developing regulations that could allow CBD to be marketed as a food item or dietary supplement, it published draft guidelines on cannabis research for drug manufacturing in July 2020, a sign that some progress is happening.
CBD oil has seen a considerable increase in popularity over the last several years, becoming a mainstream product in many countries. The CBD industry seems here to stay, and ongoing studies continue to provide evidence supporting some of the many potential health benefits of CBD.
It is important to remember, however, that CBD still needs more thorough research and is still largely unregulated. It is best to let your doctor advise on how CBD can work for you. Seniors should certainly take note of the risks, but CBD could be a viable option if you’re looking for natural relief for pains, anxiety, and restlessness. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to be found if you’re interested in exploring what CBD has to offer.
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 shopping for CBD oil online or in-store.
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.
- Alger B. E. (2013). Getting high on the endocannabinoid system. Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science, 2013, 14.
- Aviram, J., Samuelly-Leichtag, G. (2017) Efficacy of Cannabis-Based Medicines for Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Physician, 20(6), E755-E796.
- Bruni, N., Della Pepa, C., Oliaro-Bosso, S., Pessione, E., Gastaldi, D., & Dosio, F. (2018). Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(10), 2478.
- Elliott, D. M., Singh, N., Nagarkatti, M., & Nagarkatti, P. S. (2018). Cannabidiol Attenuates Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Model of Multiple Sclerosis Through Induction of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1782.
- Johnson, J. R., Burnell-Nugent, M., Lossignol, D., Ganae-Motan, E. D., Potts, R., & Fallon, M. T. (2010). Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC: CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable cancer-related pain. Journal of pain and symptom management, 39(2), 167-179.
- Takeda, S., Usami, N., Yamamoto, I., & Watanabe, K. (2009). Cannabidiol-2′, 6′-dimethyl ether, a cannabidiol derivative, is a highly potent and selective 15-lipoxygenase inhibitor. Drug Metabolism and Disposition.
- Lascelles, B. D. X., King, S., Roe, S., Marcellin‐Little, D. J., & Jones, S. (2009). Expression and activity of COX‐1 and 2 and 5‐LOX in joint tissues from dogs with naturally occurring coxofemoral joint osteoarthritis. Journal of orthopaedic research, 27(9), 1204-1208.Chicago
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.
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Cannabis For Broken Bones?
I heard about a study showing that cannabis can help heal broken bones. is this true? Where might this treatment be available?
An Israeli study published in 2015 did find that a component of cannabis might help heal broken bones, but the treatment is not yet available. I discussed your question with Donald Abrams, M.D., an oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, and an expert on medical cannabis.
Dr. Abrams says that cannabis might help decrease pain associated with a fracture, but at present, its role in accelerating bone healing is theoretical. He notes that the Israeli study was performed in rats with broken thighbones, not in people. We don’t yet know if the compound tested would be effective in treating human fractures.
Bone cells express receptors for cannabinoids, the active components of cannabis. The brain also has a high concentration of cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors. When these receptors bind with the main psychoactive cannabinoid in the plant (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC), we experience the “high” associated with cannabis. Dr. Abrams adds that humans – and all animal species down to sponges – have cannabinoid receptors, not because we were meant to use cannabis, but because we make our own endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). These substances are involved in many physiologic functions, with modulation of pain being one of the most important. Another plant cannabinoid that has been getting a lot of scientific attention is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is not psychoactive but has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory activity. At this point, the only conditions for which CBD has been proved effective are two forms of childhood epilepsy. A CBD pharmaceutical product, Epidiolex, has been approved by the FDA for treating these disorders.
Dr. Abrams notes that researchers in Israel have been at the forefront of investigating the physiologic role of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids in bone health. In their study, the Israeli investigators found that induced fractures of thigh bones in rats healed better when treated with CBD. The healed bone in the CBD-treated rats also appeared stiffer, meaning that it was likely stronger. Fractures treated with THC alone didn’t appear to be as strong as those in animals receiving CBD, and a mixture of CBD and THC proved no better than CBD alone. The investigators concluded that human trials of CBD for fracture healing should be conducted.
However, since CBD is derived from cannabis, the U.S. and many other governments regard it as off limits for clinical trials. In the U.S., cannabis is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Based on animal studies and some preliminary human data, it appears that cannabinoids may boost the effectiveness of opioid painkillers, making it possible to reduce dosages of those drugs. Dr. Abrams suggests that if you break a bone and live in a state with legal access to medical cannabis, you could consider using a CBD-rich strain for pain relief. (Of course, you should also follow conventional treatment recommendations.)
Yankel Gabet et al, “Canabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts.” Journal of Bone Mineral Research, March 19, 2015 doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2513