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Cannabidiol (CBD) may be beneficial for treating pain and inflammation. CBD is a compound from the cannabis plant and comes in both topical and edible forms.

Cannabis is a plant that has been in use for more than 4,000 years. There are a few different kinds of cannabis, including Cannabis sativa.

Although research on CBD is still in its early stages, people are increasingly using it as an alternative treatment for various health conditions, including inflammation.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

Medical News Today chooses CBD for inflammation that meets the following criteria:

  • CBD type: MNT chooses CBD products that are full- and broad-spectrum. Full-spectrum CBD contains up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and all the naturally occurring terpenes and cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. In contrast, broad-spectrum CBD has the same benefits without the THC.
  • CBD form: MNT chooses oils, gummies, softgels, and balms to meet the needs of people who need targeted or overall inflammation relief.
  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe, high quality, clearly labeled ingredients. Manufacturers should also confirm that products are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Third-party labs: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available COA: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s COA after receiving its third-party lab results.
  • Savings: CBD can be expensive, so MNT features companies that offer subscribe and save, memberships, interest-free installments, or other discounts.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more.

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Some research suggests that CBD can ease inflammation and results show CBD as a promising anti-inflammatory treatment.

Cannabis sativa contains more than 400 different chemical compounds. Two of the best-known are THC and CBD. THC is the cannabinoid that leads to the “high” feeling many people associate with cannabis. CBD does not provide these same effects.

Learn more about CBD and THC.

Research suggests that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis, as it affects certain cell viability. It may also have a synergetic effect on rheumatoid arthritis medication.

A 2020 research review suggests CBD’s properties can provide antioxidative effects because of CBD’s specific molecular structure. Therefore, it may have anti-inflammatory benefits for conditions that can result from oxidative stress.

A 2023 study concludes that CBD can reduce inflammation following intense physical exercise in comparison to a placebo.

Most studies have not reviewed the long-term effects of CBD, and researchers need to conduct more studies with human participants. However, experts believe the research results may have therapeutic implications.

One 2020 study found that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help with the following conditions:

CBD comes in many forms. Some people may find that edible CBD products, such as gummies and oral oils, work better for them. Others may find topical CBD, such as creams and massage oils, easier to use.

How individuals take or apply CBD will depend on its form.

CBD oil

Manufacturers of CBD oil often include a dropper with their product. This means a person can easily measure out the appropriate dose.

A person uses this dropper to place a few drops under the tongue. They should aim to hold these drops under the tongue for around 30–60 seconds. This method of ingesting CBD oil is known as sublingual consumption.

Research from 2021 into sublingual CBD oils in the United Kingdom states that they can reduce pain and improve sleep quality.

CBD topical products

Topical CBD products can help provide more targeted pain relief to specific areas of the body. They come in many forms, including creams, roll-ons, oils, and gels.

A person applies a small amount of the product to the painful area and massages it in. How much someone should apply will vary between products, and they need to follow the guidance on the product label.

A 2022 review concludes that topical CBD products can have anti-inflammatory effects.

CBD gummies

Most CBD gummy manufacturers recommend taking 1–2 gummies daily. However, a person needs to take guidance from the product label as recommended doses vary.

There is limited research into CBD gummies and their effects on pain or inflammation. However, people may find gummies to be a convenient and more subtle way of taking CBD.

CBD capsules

A person takes CBD capsules by swallowing them whole with water. They need to refer to the product label for dosage instructions. Additionally, they need to pay attention to whether the manufacturer recommends taking the capsules with or without food.

There is limited research into CBD capsules and their effects on pain and inflammation.

Below, we look at the best CBD products to consider for inflammation.

The following table compares the products in this article on form, type, potency, and more.

FormPriceCBD typePotency (mg of CBD)Certificate of analysis
CBDfxgummies$54.99broad-spectrum1,500–3,000 mgavailable online
Lazarus Naturalsoral oil$39.99full-spectrum1,500 mgavailable online
Level Selectroll-on$40broad-spectrum1,200–1,800 mg of CBDavailable online
R&R Medicinalssoftgels$55broad-spectrum30 mgavailable online

People may wish to consider the following before purchasing:

  • Type of CBD: CBD products come in three types: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD contains up to 0.3% THC, whereas broad-spectrum and CBD isolate contain up to trace amounts of this compound.
  • Type of product: Some people may prefer to use topical products rather than edibles. On the other hand, edible CBD products may be more convenient to take discreetly and quickly.
  • Company reputation: People may wish to ensure that the company they purchase from has not been subject to lawsuits or a warning letter from the FDA.
  • Product safety: People should always ensure that the product they purchase has undergone third-party testing and has a valid and current COA.
  • Medical advice: People should contact a healthcare professional to ensure that any CBD products will not interact with any medications they are taking.

A 2020 research review suggests that most people can tolerate CBD. However, this depends on the concentration of CBD in a product.

Possible risks and side effects of CBD use include:

  • an increase in the risk of liver damage if a person uses CBD alongside other medications, such as valproate
  • drowsiness and sleepiness
  • diarrhea and a decrease in appetite
  • mood changes and irritability
  • allergic reactions in some cases

If a person uses CBD alongside other medications, it may affect how those medications work. For instance, a 2019 study found that CBD reduced the effectiveness of steroids in treating inflammation. However, this study was in vitro, meaning it did not take place in a living organism such as humans or animals, and it is not clear how CBD and steroids may work together in humans.

People should discuss CBD with a healthcare professional, especially if they take medications.

While CBD can help reduce inflammation, people should not use it instead of any anti-inflammatories a healthcare professional recommends.

Yes, evidence suggests that CBD can help reduce inflammation and joint pain. However, not enough studies have investigated CBD’s long-term effects on this condition yet.

An older research review from 2018 suggests that a full-spectrum CBD product may be more effective than other types in treating inflammation and joint pain.

However, if a person does not want to use a product that contains THC, they may prefer to purchase broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products.

It is important to note that researchers have not yet discovered the optimal dosing or length of time to take CBD to see its anti-inflammatory effects. More research is necessary.

CBD has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties and starts working within 45 minutes. Ibuprofen, which has the same effects, starts working within 20–30 minutes.

It is important to note that there have been more studies on the effectiveness, short- and long-term side effects, and toxicity of ibuprofen than CBD for inflammation.

It may be more difficult to accurately dose CBD oil, especially if the dropper does not have clear markings. Stronger CBD oils may taste bitter if they do not have any flavorings, and they are not as easy to consume on the go as gummies.

Studies have found that CBD may help with inflammation relating to joint pain and arthritis.

CBD is a compound from the cannabis plant that may have various health benefits, including fighting inflammation.

Researchers have not yet conducted many long-term studies on how CBD affects human inflammation. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the results may be promising.

Brands such as Lazarus Naturals, R&R Medicinals, and Level Select offer CBD products that may help people manage inflammation.