Considering CBD Products to Treat Chronic Pain

CBD products are available at health and wellness stores, marijuana dispensaries, and even online. Since CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, some products may make claims not supported by scientific evidence or may not actually contain potent levels of CBD.

See Complementary Health Approaches and Marijuana for Chronic Pain


What to Look for When Purchasing CBD Products

Because of the abundance of product types and companies that produce them, a person should look out for certain things when making a purchase:

  • Third party testing. Look for products that have been tested by a company other than the one selling it. Third party testers are concerned with what is in the product regardless of what the manufacturer says.
  • Clear and accurate labeling. Manufactures should make testing results accessible and easy to understand. In addition, a good manufacturer will make this information available online next to the product description.
  • Continuous testing. One good “batch” of a product does not mean that the next will have the same results. Reliable manufactures regularly test their products and will update the testing results on the labels and online.

Cannibidiol requires more research in order to prove and explain its effectiveness.

Types of CBD Products Available

Examples of available CBD products include:

  • Oils. CBD oil is extracted from the plant through a variety of methods. It can be taken orally, vaporized, or mixed into beverages. Generally, oil is what is used in other CBD products, such as pills, creams, and sprays, but can also be used alone.
  • Tinctures. A tincture is made by soaking cannabis flowers in alcohol for an extended period of time. This process will extract the CBD into a more concentrated form than found in most CBD oil products. Generally, tincture bottles are designed with a built-in dropper so a person can take one drop or several. Tinctures can be used on their own or mixed with food or beverage.
  • Edibles. CBD can be mixed into foods and drinks. CBD edibles are available to purchase and can also be made at home by mixing CBD oil or tinctures into food and drinks. Common examples include gummies, baked goods, and chocolate.
  • Creams and gels. CBD-infused lotions are considered topical because they do not enter the bloodstream and have been shown to reduce inflammatory and neuropathic pain.1
  • See Understanding Nociceptive and Neuropathic Pain

  • Capsules.CBD capsules or pills are available. Generally, these capsules are filled with a mixture of CBD oil and another component, such as coconut oil.
  • Sublingual sprays. Sprays are designed to be absorbed in the mouth. They typically contain CBD oil mixed with water and other ingredients for taste.
  • Transdermal (skin) patches. CBD-infused patches placed on the skin release CBD into the bloodstream. Generally, transdermal patches release small amounts of CBD over a long period of time.

The type of CBD product a person decides to use is a personal choice. As with medical marijuana, individuals must use trial and error to find his or her preferred product and dose.

See Medical Marijuana: Administration and Dosing


  • 1.Jorge LL, Feres CC, Teles VE. Topical preparations for pain relief: efficacy and patient adherence. J Pain Res. 2010;4:11-24. Published 2010 Dec 20. doi:10.2147/JPR.S9492