cbd oil for pain management neuropathic pain

CBD Oil for Pain: Effects, Research, and Benefits

In this article we’ll explore the potential of CBD oil for pain relief. Focusing only on the latest research and scientific data.

How Common Is It To Suffer From Chronic Pain In The UK?

Chronic pain is a silent epidemic that’s impacting lots of people in the UK. From back pain and arthritis, to migraines, nerve pain and fibromyalgia, it’s thought 28 million people in the UK are living with chronic pain.

That’s a HUGE number. Two fifths of the entire population in fact!

What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain manifests in different ways that often do not seem problematic at first. The term covers a broad range of pain-related issues, extending beyond their typical timeframes of recovery. Fatigue, joint pain, muscle spasms and aches, as well as mood and sleeping problems can all fall under the category of chronic pain.

Some of the most common examples of chronic pain are:

  • nerve pain,
  • back pain,
  • arthritis pain,
  • fibromyalgia pain.
  • frequent headaches – migraines,
  • endometriosis

How Is Chronic Pain Usually Treated?

There’s a multitude of over the counter drugs people use to counter chronic pain. There’s also twice as many prescription drugs available. But, these often come with unwanted side effects, making them frustrating to use in the long-term.

Aside from prescibed drugs, many chronic pain sufferers turn to natural remedies to try to ease their pain and live a normal life.

CBD is one such remedy that many people are turning to.

So, without further ado:

Here’s everything you need to know about CBD oil for pain relief UK.

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CBD’s Growing Reputation as a Pain Reliever

As CBD oil becomes more available, its reputation as a therapeutic supplement is growing.

A recent poll undertaken by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis and CPASS found that 1.4 million people in the UK are using cannabis to treat health issues. Including conditions like nausea, epilepsy, and chronic pain .

This is in line with pain sufferers across the pond too. A 2019 Gallup poll found that 14% of Americans reported self-use of CBD products, with 40% of these respondents specifically using CBD to treat their pain .

If you want to learn more about what exactly CBD is, check out our “What is CBD? The Complete Beginners Guide” article.

Can CBD Help With Chronic Pain?

So, people are choosing to use CBD oil to treat their pain, but does it actually work?

The science so far is positive:

A study from the ​ European Journal of Pain ​ showed, using an animal model, that the application of CBD on the skin could help reduce the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.

This study shows that the absorption of CBD through the skin, for example via CBD patches , has long-lasting therapeutic effects.


CBD’s interaction with serotonin receptors is thought to be especially important in its pain-relieving properties.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and hormone. You may have heard it referred to as the ‘happy hormone’ for its ability to cause feelings of happiness. Well, as well as playing an important role in mood, serotonin has also been found to inhibit pain .

Research tells us that CBD is able to activate serotonin receptors, leading to an increase in serotonin and a reduction in pain perception .


TRPV1 is another receptor that may mediate CBD’s pain-relieving effects. TRPV1 is a type of receptor protein that plays an important role in the sensation of pain as well as the regulation of body temperature.

Research shows that CBD can reduce pain in animal models and that this pain relief primarily occurrs through CBD’s activation of TRPV1 .

More research is needed before we can fully understand the pain-relieving effects of CBD in humans. But early stage research indicates that CBD does induce a pain relieving effect.

A meta-review published in 2018 analysed the results of 104 pain studies that involved the use of cannabinoids (including CBD). The review found that 29% of participants in the studies experienced a 30% reduction in pain thanks to their cannabinoid use .

While this meta-analysis did involve the use of cannabinoids other than CBD, it does indicate the potential of CBD to reduce pain.

What type of pain does CBD help with?

While more research is needed into CBD and its pain-relieving effects to fully understand its efficacy, it does show a lot of promise as an analgesic and possible alternative to more dangerous pain medications.

CBD’s ability to interact with our endocannabinoid system and other receptors throughout our body, coupled with its well documented anti-inflammatory properties, mean that it may be especially effective against chronic pain conditions like back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

It doesn’t end there though.

A 2020 study investigating self-reported CBD use and its results on various conditions found that CBD oil may be useful in the treatment of menstrual pain, gastrointestinal pain, and mouth sore pain .


CBD may hold another benefit through its ability to reduce opioid dependency.

For patients with long-term chronic pain disorders like arthritis or fibromyalgia, opioids can often be prescribed. While opioids can be an effective pain medication, they also carry with them an increased risk of addiction and mortality.

With long-term pain requiring long-term treatment, opioid treatment can result in the need for escalating doses, placing patients at an increased risk for respiratory suppression and overdose .

A 2018 survey of patients using cannabis treatments found that 18.1% of respondents reported that they stopped using opioid pain relief completely or significantly reduced their opioid use after starting cannabis treatment .

CBD’s safety profile also makes it an exciting possible alternative to opioid pain management. Research tells us that there is no risk of overdosing from CBD; this is because CBD receptors aren’t present in the areas of the brain that are responsible for controlling respiration, meaning there is no mechanism for CBD to suppress respiration and cause an overdose .

Doses as high as 1,500 mg have been found to be both safe and effective in clinical studies, so you can feel safe in the knowledge that CBD has a high safety profile, especially when compared to opioid medications .

What’s the Best CBD Oil for Pain?

CBD products can come in many different formats, from CBD oil drops and sprays, to CBD vapes, CBD gummies, CBD capsules and a range of CBD topicals like creams, balms and gels. Each with their own levels of effectiveness.

(Our article here on How to Take CBD , is a great guide FYI)

When it comes to CBD oil for pain relief, our general suggestion is to choose a CBD strength that matches the severity of your issues.

CBD oils with a CBD concentration of 1% to 5% can be considered relatively low strength. 5% to 15% CBD is mid-range, and anything above 15% is relatively high strength.

Note that we talk about CBD strength as a percentage, that’s because the use of mg can be quite deceiving due to bottle sizes.

1,000mg of CBD in a 10ml bottle equates to 10% CBD strength, whereas 1,000mg of CBD in a 30ml bottle is only 3.33%. So, it’s always important to take into account the bottle size when you’re looking at CBD mg’s.

The Bottom Line

Like anything that emerges onto the wellness scene, more research needs to be done into CBD, specifically on how it can affect those who suffer from certain forms of chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.

Current research tells us that CBD oil offers a lot of potential as a pain reliever, thanks to its interaction with various receptor types.

While more research is needed to fully understand CBD’s efficacy, it does seem to be an exciting future pain treatment, especially against chronic pain.

We hope this article has helped you to learn more about the therapeutic possibilities of CBD oil for several forms of chronic pain.

If you’d like to know more, here’s some further research into CBD oil for pain:

A Study of Sativex® for Pain Relief of Peripheral Neuropathic Pain, Associated With Allodynia

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information

Ages Eligible for Study: 18 Years and older (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No
  • Willing and able to give informed consent.
  • Male or female, aged 18 years or above.
  • Ability (in the investigators opinion) and willingness to comply with all study requirements.
  • Diagnosed with PNP of at least six months duration and in who pain is not wholly relieved with their current therapy.
  • Presence of mechanical allodynia within the territory of the affected nerve(s) which has been confirmed by either a positive response to stroking the allodynic area with a SENSELABTM Brush 05 or to force applied by a 5.07 gram Semmes-Weinstein monofilament.
  • Had at least one of the following underlying conditions, which caused their peripheral neuropathic pain; post herpetic neuralgia, peripheral neuropathy, focal nerve lesion, radiculopathy or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) type 2.
  • The daily diary 0-10 NRS pain scores on days B2 – B7 of the baseline period were completed and summed to at least 24.
  • Stable dose of regular pain medication and non-pharmacological therapies (including TENS) for at least 14 days prior to the screening visit and willingness for these to be maintained throughout the study. Where subjects were taking a medication containing paracetamol further instructions were provided, refer to Section 9.4.7.
  • In the opinion of the investigator the subject has received or was currently receiving the appropriate PNP treatments for their condition.
  • Agreement for the responsible authorities (as applicable in individual countries), their primary care physician, and their consultant, if appropriate, to be notified of their participation in the study.
  • Concomitant pain thought by the investigator to be of a nature or severity to interfere with the subject’s assessment of their PNP.
  • Receiving a prohibited medication and were unwilling to stop or comply for the duration of the study.
  • Had CRPS type 1, cancer related neuropathic pain or neuropathic pain resulted from diabetes mellitus.
  • Has used either cannabis (either for recreational or medical purposes) or cannabis based medications within the last year and were unwilling to abstain for the duration for the study.
  • History of schizophrenia, other psychotic illness, severe personality disorder or other significant psychiatric disorder other than depression associated with their underlying condition.
  • Known or suspected history of alcohol or substance abuse.
  • History of epilepsy or recurrent seizures.
  • Known or suspected hypersensitivity to cannabinoids or any of the excipients of the study medication.
  • Evidence of cardiomyopathy.
  • Experienced myocardial infarction or clinically relevant cardiac dysfunction within the last 12 months or had a cardiac disorder that, in the opinion of the investigator would put the subject at risk of a clinically relevant arrhythmia or myocardial infarction.
  • QT interval; of > 450 ms (males) or > 470 ms (females) at Visit 1.
  • Secondary or tertiary AV block or sinus bradycardia (HR <50bpm unless physiological) or sinus tachycardia (HR>110bpm) at Visit 1.
  • Diastolic blood pressure of <50 mmHg or >105 mmHg in a sitting position at rest for 5 minutes prior to randomisation.
  • Impaired renal function i.e., creatinine clearance is lower than 50ml/min at Visit 1 and is indicative of renal impairment.
  • Significantly impaired hepatic function, at Visit 1, in the Investigator’s opinion.
  • Female subjects of child bearing potential and male subjects whose partner was of child bearing potential, unless were willing to ensure that they or their partner used effective contraception during the study and for three months thereafter.
  • If female, were pregnant or lactating, or were planning pregnancy during the course of the study and for three months thereafter.
  • Received an IMP within the 12 weeks before Visit 1.
  • Any other significant disease or disorder which, in the opinion of the investigator, may either put the subject at risk because of participation in the study, may influence the result of the study, or the subject’s ability to participate in the study.
  • Following a physical exam, the subject had any abnormalities that, in the opinion of the investigator, would prevent the subject from safely participating in the study.
  • Intention to donate blood during the study.
  • Intention to travel internationally during the study.
  • Previous randomisation into this study.

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.