Why Use CBD Topicals for Muscle and Joint Pain?

Increasingly consumers are opting for natural remedies for relief from pain. That is why CBD is growing in popularity for use with arthritis and other conditions and injuries affecting muscles and joints. A Gallup Poll conducted in 2019 found that 14% of Americans use CBD products, with pain being the number one reason.[1]  Another poll of 2600 arthritis patients conducted by the Arthritis Foundation found[2] the following:

  • 79% are currently using CBD, have used it in the past or are considering using it.
  • 29% report they currently use CBD to manage their arthritis symptoms.
  • Of those currently using CBD 63% percent report daily use and 26% use it several times per week.

How CBD Helps Reduce Pain

CBD is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of endocannabinoids or neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses. The ECS has CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly located in the brain; CB2 receptors are mostly found in immune cells and in a few neurons.[3] 

The ECS acts to restore balance whenever something happens with one of the body functions, such as appetite, sleep, immune response, and more. When CBD interacts with the CB2 receptor, it inhibits pain and inflammation. It also releases tension that causes anxiety.


CBD Topicals for Joint and Pain Relief

All CBD products contain CBD oil. However, each CBD product has its unique way of entering the bloodstream and so has a different bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the degree or rate a substance is absorbed.

CBD topicals penetrate the skin to provide targeted relief without entering the bloodstream versus having an impact throughout the body. In doing so, CBD topicals are effective for healing specific problem areas, such as sore muscles and joints. Topical treatments using CBD have shown to relieve symptoms of arthritis, neurological disorders, broken bones, and overworked muscles.

A study reported in the European Journal of Pain investigated the effectiveness of a topical CBD gel on animal models to reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis. The CBD was applied to the subjects for four consecutive days. Results indicated a significant drop in joint swelling and signs of pain. The data indicated that topical CBD has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side effects.[4]


Proper Dosage

Topical CBD products, including creams, lotion, balms, and gels, are applied to the skin over the area where there is pain. Since topical CBD use is localized, there is no need to dose too much. Assume a little cream goes a long way and start with a small amount on the problem area. After an hour or so, try reapplying. Any of the topicals that have Camphor, Lidocaine or Menthol can be applied up to 3-4 times a day.


[1] Brenan, Megan, “14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products,” Gallup, August 7, 2019. https://news.gallup.com/poll/263147/americans-say-cbd-products.aspx
[2] “Patients Tell Us About CBD Use,” Arthritis Foundation, Accessed January 10, 2022. http://blog.arthritis.org/news/patients-tell-us-cbd-use/
[3] Mackie K. Cannabinoid receptors: where they are and what they do. J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 May;20 Suppl 1:10-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01671.x. PMID: 18426493. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18426493/
[4] Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain. 2016;20(6):936‐948. doi:10.1002/ejp.818. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/