CBD for Chronic Back Pain: An Effective Solution?

Treating Chronic Back Pain at Home With CBD Oil: Benefits, Products, and How to Use Them

Chronic back pain impacts people in all areas of life. It causes limitations for work and for pleasure. Treatment is hit and miss and often relies on addictive pain medications. CBD may be an effective solution to the problem posed by chronic back pain. It is non-addictive and may bring relief in certain situations. It is worth exploring this more natural method of pain management.

Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey - Writer for Cannabotech
By Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey
Petar Milenkovic - Editor for Cannabotech
Edited by Petar Milenkovic

Updated April 14, 2023.

Woman putting her hand on her back from lower back pain, visibly colored red

Chronic pain of all types negatively impacts work productivity, daily life activities (like cleaning, preparing food, dressing, intimacy), and leisure activities. For some people, chronic pain is severely limiting, causing them to curtail most non-essential activities. For others, work becomes impossible, leading to a loss of income and lower standard of living.

Many are treated with pain medication that is addictive and offers diminishing returns over time, requiring increasingly larger doses to get the same effect. As a result, chronic pain sufferers are seeking to manage their pain with natural remedies like CBD oil, but how effective are these? Keep reading to find out.

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What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain can be caused by a medical condition that affects the joints and/or connective tissues, like psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be caused by aging-related changes to the spine or damage from accidents or strenuous activities like heavy lifting.

With diseases of the joints and connective tissues, inflammation can be a primary cause of pain. though it can also be due to mechanical causes such as the compression of a nerve root, the compression of the disc material between the vertebrae (or the loss of the disc), and the loss of cartilage around and between joints.

Additionally, neuropathic pain (pain caused by issues in the nervous system) may also be a cause.

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4 Benefits of CBD for Chronic Back Pain

The specialists working with the Arthritis Foundation point out that CBD remedies are suitable for symptom relief only (1). Though there is much anecdotal evidence for relieving chronic back pain, there is not enough research to justify the efficacy of using CBD to treat underlying inflammatory conditions. That being said, there are a few ways that you may find relief from chronic back pain by using CBD.

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1. Pain-Relieving Properties

There is a history of cannabis being used to treat pain for centuries, at least (2). The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a system of receptors in the brain and the nervous system that are responsible for modulating many of the body's functions. Cannabinoids, including CBD, bind to these receptors and may positively impact their functioning.

There are studies that suggest the efficacy of using CBD not just for chronic pain in general, but even for chronic back pain specifically (3)(4).

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2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

CBD oil has been demonstrated in some studies to decrease inflammation (5), which can relieve swelling and pressure against nerve endings and, thus, pain.

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3. Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Perception of pain has been reported to lessen when people have lower levels of stress and anxiety, as the body reacts by releasing cortisol, the stress hormone, which increases heart rate, adrenalin output, and pain perception.

A number of studies have found a decrease in anxiety with various doses of CBD, which is a promising result, though more research is needed (6)(7).

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4. Improved Sleep

Poor sleep, a potential side effect of chronic pain, can actually increase an individual's perception of pain (8)(9). It stands to reason that improving the quality of sleep will not only allow the body more time to heal but actually reduce an individual's experienced pain.

Research suggests that CBD may help to improve sleep, allowing for the regeneration of tissue via an increase in nerve growth factor (10)(11).

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How to Use CBD for Back Pain

There are several methods of using CBD for chronic back pain, each with its own pros and cons.

  • Sublingually: Tinctures or oils applied sublingually are widely regarded as the best form of CBD due to their comparatively high bioavailability (the amount of a substance your body can absorb), ease of use, and duration of effect.
  • Topically: Topical oils, creams, and lotions have the advantage of being able to be spread over a wide area while also assisting other treatments more locally. However, this method has the lowest bioavailability.
  • Ingestion: Some practitioners recommend taking CBD internally in the form of capsules or drops as more research is needed into the effectiveness of using topical treatments, and there are many individuals who prefer swallowing capsules to using tinctures and oils.


It is essential to consult a medical practitioner prior to taking any new medications or supplements—be they conventional or alternative. It is also important to tell any medical practitioner about all the medications (conventional, prescribed, over-the-counter, natural, and alternative) that you are taking to make sure that there are no problematic interactions between them and CBD.

Why Wait?

Chronic back pain negatively impacts all areas of people's lives, and many of them react negatively to addictive pharmaceuticals, making the existence of natural alternatives a necessity.

CBD preparations may prove effective in helping alleviate chronic back pain without an impact on mental status and thereby lowering the negative impact on the person's life, and even this can be combined with other therapeutic components like various functional mushroom species. To learn more, take a look at our M2CBD formula.