CBD For Pain Relief: Consumer User Data
Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the popularity and demand for hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products remains strong. Today, it’s not a question of whether thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of Americans know or do not know about CBD. We now know that millions of Americans do.
What about CBD for pain relief? Has it been effective for those who have tried it?
Below we share data on CBD user experiences on CBD for pain relief in general, CBD for muscle pain, CBD for chronic pain, CBD for joint pain, CBD for migraine pain and more.
CBD Consumer Surveys
Various CBD consumer surveys have been done since the boom of CBD, all showing millions of Americans have tried CBD for various types of pain.1 Below, we highlight some of those surveys and what they show.
In a 2019 survey of 3,506 participants conducted by ProjectCBD:
- 62.8% reported using CBD for pain.
- Of those, nearly 70% reported their pain was “much better”, and 23% reported it was “a little better.”
In a January 2019 survey of 4,000 participants conducted by Consumer Reports:
- 24% reported taking CBD for joint pain.
- Among those, 38% found CBD “extremely effective or very effective”, and 27% found CBD “slightly or not at all effective”.
In a 2019 joint survey of over 2,000 participants conducted by the Harris Poll & Quartz:
- 44% reported using CBD for muscle pain.
- 39% reported using CBD for chronic pain.
- 38% reported using CBD for joint pain.
In a March 2019 survey of 855 women on the use of CBD conducted by Remedy Review:
- 65.1% of the Baby Boomers reported using CBD for pain relief.
- 51.2% of Generation X reported using CBD for pain relief.
- 46.8% of Millennials reported using CBD for pain relief.
In a April 2019 study of 1.3 million U.S. social media posts and conversations conducted from Jan. 1, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019 by CBD Marketing:
- 280,000 conversations centered on the use of CBD oil for pain management, with 91% of those conversations indicating a positive impact from using CBD oil for pain.
In a Gallup poll of 2,543 Americans conducted from June 19-July 19, 2019:
- 40% reported using CBD for pain.
In a summer 2019 survey of 2,600 arthritis patients conducted by the Arthritis Foundation:
- 87% reported using CBD to manage their arthritis symptoms, with 94% of those indicating that symptom to be pain relief.
- Of those, 67% reported improvement in their physical function.
- Over 30% reported CBD provided them relief from morning stiffness and helped “get them moving.”
In a August 2019 survey of over 2,000 participants conducted by ValidCare:
- 43% reported using CBD for chronic pain.
- Among all participants, 76.2% reported that they felt “better” to “much better” after they used CBD.
Notably, zero adverse events from using CBD was reported.
In November 2019, Coresight Research reported its survey of 920 participants, and a percentage of each generation (broken down below) who reported using CBD for pain relief/pain management in the past 12 months:
- 18-24 years of age: 50.9%
- 25-34 years of age: 58.5%.
- 35-44 years of age: 56.7%
- 45-54 years of age: 70.7%
- 55-64 years of age: 71.3%
- 65+ years of age: 85.4%
In a November 2019 survey consisting of responses from 1,273 vitamin and supplement users conducted by ConsumerLab.com:
- 67.3% reported using CBD to reduce pain.
In a Dec. 20, 2019 – Jan. 20, 2020 survey of 1,055 participants conducted by The CBD Insider:
- 58.1% reported using CBD for aches/discomfort. Of these, 67.4% found CBD “extremely or very effective.”
- 41% reported using CBD for muscle soreness/recovery. Of these, 70.5% found CBD “extremely or very effective.”
In a February/March 2020 survey of roughly 3,000 participants conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute:
- 43% reported using CBD for chronic pain management.
In a April 2020 survey of 2,000 participants conducted by SingleCare:
- 64% reported using CBD for pain relief and inflammation.
In a 2020 survey of 1,453 CBD users conducted by AmericanMarijuana.org:
- 60% reported using CBD to treat chronic pain.
- 34% reported using CBD for migraine pain.
- 3% reported using CBD for cancer treatment pain.
In a 2020 U.S. CBD Survey of Americans conducted by New Frontier Data:
- 18% (nearly 1 in 5) of Americans reported consuming CBD, with 41% indicating they use it for pain management.
Will CBD Help My Pain?
Hemp-derived CBD has helped many people with their type of pain. As reported above, some who used CBD for pain relief found it effective, others found it slightly or somewhat effective, and others didn’t find it effective at all.
The reason CBD works for some and not for others likely depends on a variety of factors such as, for example, the type and amount of cannabinoids contained in the product, the method of delivery, how often it was used, the amount used, the length of use, the type or cause of pain, and the participant’s overall health status.
If you’re curious about whether CBD can help your type of pain, the simple answer is that you won’t know until you try it.
Which CBD Product is Best for Pain?
Pain is tricky. With so many variables playing a role, there is no one-size-fits-all or works-best-for-all suggestion when it comes to natural hemp extract CBD products.
Based on consumer self-reporting, some use ingestible products such as tinctures (oil drops), capsules, soft gels, beverages, gummies and vapes. Others use a topical such as a cream, salve, rub, or balm to apply to those areas of their body where they feel the pain (i.e., neck, shoulders, arms, back, hips, legs, ankles, etc.). And, some use both an ingestible and a topical.
Type of Formulation
Ingestible and topical products are most commonly formulated with either a CBD Full Spectrum (CBD + other cannabinoids naturally occurring in the hemp plant), a CBD Broad Spectrum (basically a Full Spectrum without any amount of THC whatsoever), or a CBD Isolate (only CBD). To learn more about these differences, visit our “Know the Difference” blog here.
The type of formulation when ingested and when topically applied currently remains unclear. Clinical studies and scientific research are underway to learn more about how CBD works for pain and how CBD works with the endocannabinoid system.
For now, certain research suggests that a CBD Full Spectrum Oil taken sublingually is more effective in relieving pain sensations than a CBD Isolate. In a 2015 study, researchers evaluated the efficacy of orally administrating a CBD Full Spectrum Oil versus a CBD Isolate Oil for pain and inflammation. The researchers concluded that CBD Full Spectrum was more effective, crediting other naturally existing cannabinoids that exert additional therapeutic effects that are not present in a CBD Isolate. In other words, the advantage of a CBD Full Spectrum is receiving the benefits of CBD plus CBG, CBN, CBC, and 0.3% or less THC. With analgesic and anti-inflammatory promoting properties (amongst others), these cannabinoids work together in synergy to promote therapeutic effects, as compared to one of the cannabinoids alone to do so. This is typically referred to as the “entourage effect.”
However, don’t eliminate a CBD Isolate as a choice altogether. A quality CBD Isolate infused topical cream may also be effective as CBD does contain analgesic and anti-inflammatory promoting properties. Take it from one of our users sharing his feedback on our Intensive Relief + Emu Oil Soothing Aid Cream formulated with CBD Isolate:
Which CBD Product Should I Try?
The ideal product for you to try depends on whether you prefer an ingestible or whether you prefer a topical.
Ingestible CBD products, like CBD Oil, CBD oil filled soft gels, or CBD Gummies, are very popular and have been found to be effective for some. If you’re new to CBD, it’s best to start with a low serving size (commonly referred to as “dosage”) and gradually increase it as needed. On average, human CBD studies have reported a CBD dose of up to 1,500 mg per day to be well tolerated.1 As a new user, 1,500 mg per day is too high and should not be your starting dose unless approved by your doctor. Start with a much lower amount, somewhere between 10mg-40mg per day and see how you feel after a month. Within that month, you may try gradually increasing the amount by a serving size or two. Wait at least a week or two so you can see how you feel and decide from there.
No matter the amount taken, rest assured that no amount of CBD will make you feel “high” like marijuana would. As to CBD addiction, it’s been reported that CBD has no potential for abuse or dependence, including any withdrawal side effects or symptoms.3
Keep in mind that your chances of having to increase or decrease the amount should be expected as part of your CBD experience. No two people are the same and the amount of CBD that’s right for you is just as unique as you. Monitor how it makes you feel and adjust accordingly.
Also, try not to give up too quickly because a natural hemp extract containing CBD takes a little time to work, especially if you’re new to it.
Some mistakenly believe that as soon as they take an ingestible hemp extract CBD product, they should instantaneously feel a difference in their pain levels. That’s not the case. CBD – regardless if Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate – does not work like a prescription drug or a recreational drug. It works more like, by analogy, an Omega-3 supplement in that you may have to take it for a few weeks to several weeks to notice a difference, and it may take longer if not used regularly. With Omega-3, for example, it can take 6 weeks to 6 months to see a significant change.4 However, unlike cannabinoids, our bodies do not naturally produce Omega-3 fatty acids so the length of use before noticing a difference between an Omega-3 versus hemp-derived CBD may slightly or significantly differ.
Lastly, consider whether you’re able to use CBD Full Spectrum when deciding the type of formulation to ingest. Remember that CBD Full Spectrum contains trace amounts of THC. Ingesting CBD Full Spectrum on a daily basis can build up the amount of THC in your liver, and eventually into your bloodstream, that might be just enough to return a positive test result for THC.
If you may be subject to drug testing by, for example, your employer, you should check to see if your employer has a Drug-Free Workplace Policy and what it says or consult with Human Resources about using a hemp-derived CBD product that contains trace amounts of THC to help you decide.
If you seek on-the-spot release, a CBD topical is an ideal choice.
Plenty of Americans use CBD for pain, and many of them have found this natural aid alternative to be effective for their type of pain and discomfort.
Just remember that with any new supplement, a bit of patience may be required before you start to feel any difference.
Keep positive, stay balanced, and be safe.
Sources + References
**The list of surveys highlighted in this educational blog are not exhaustive, but rather a list of surveys deepCBDs has compiled as of this date.
https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2016.0034140; and Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-Review Report: Agenda Item 5.2 World Health Organization. Thirty-ninth meeting, Geneva, 6-10 November 2017 wherein the World Health Organization reported that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”
WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-Review Report: Agenda Item 5.2. World Health Organization. Thirty-ninth meeting, Geneva, 6-10 November 2017.
UW Integrative Medicine, Department of Family Medicine. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Some Frequently Asked Questions. www.fammed.wisc.edu/integrative.