CBD for pain - this is what you should know!

CBD for pain - this is what you should know!

Published: 18.04.2023 (Updated: 21.07.2023)
Reading time: Min.
Dr. Harald Stephan
Dr. rer. medic. Harald Stephan
Health expert

Surely you have also felt pain in some form or another. Be it after a fall or an accident, after an operation or due to another illness. It doesn't matter where you feel this pain: it is always unpleasant. But did you know that pain can be vital for our survival?

Pain is your body's alarm signal

Imagine you cut your finger while working in the kitchen and feel no pain. Or, for example, you are suffering from acute appendicitis, but because you do not feel pain, you do not notice that anything is wrong with you. While in the first example there may not be any major problems apart from the drops of blood in the salad bowl, in the second example it can quickly be a matter of life and death. Because it is only your feeling of pain that makes it clear to you that you are ill and that a doctor should take care of this appendicitis.

Pain is always felt very subjectively. There are people who find even the smallest cut particularly painful, while others wince for a moment and can quickly forget the whole thing.

Note: By the way, mental stress and overload can also cause physical pain. This is then called psychosomatic pain.

In addition, there is always a distinction between acute and chronic pain, which you can distinguish quite easily:

Acute pain Chronic pain
Here it is often easy to see where the pain comes from. The causes are often not recognisable, or no longer recognisable.
Chronic pain develops formally. For it is only when an initially acute pain persists over a longer period of time that it becomes chronic.
Acute pain occurs, for example, with a bruise, a cut or even if you have just had an accident. The longer pain lasts, i.e. becomes chronic, the more your body develops a pain memory.
The pain subsides as soon as the wound heals, for example. Basically, chronic pain is a very intense pain that lasts for a long time. This means that even after the original injury or illness has healed, the pain persists.
Chronic pain is ultimately a disease in its own right.


This pain memory may make you feel some pain more than you actually should. This is simply because information about the pain is stored in your brain, but is evaluated differently because of its chronic course.

Tip: Chronic pain is often treated with pain therapy. For acute pain, doctors often use conventional painkillers, which you can also replace with CBD oil. In terms of pain therapy, however, CBD can be a good alternative for you as a supplement.

CBD Schmerzen Arzt

How CBD works in your body

Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is probably the best-known component of the female cannabis plant, along with THC, or 9-tetrahydrocannabinol. But while THC makes you get high when you smoke a joint, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that it relaxes you, but does not get you high.

This relaxing effect on your muscles ultimately ensures that it is perceived as pain-relieving. For this reason, it is not surprising that this cannabinoid has long been used to treat pain. However, you should be aware that while it is a pain reliever, it does not address the root cause of the pain. It is not a miracle cure. It cannot heal in the conventional sense.

If you take CBD in oil form, it can be used as a supplement to the medical measures for treating your pain, because it can also have the following effects:

  • it reduces inflammation
  • It can relieve pain
  • Contributes to cell renewal
  • It has an antiemetic effect against nausea or cancer symptoms.
  • It has an antibacterial effect, often even better than antibiotics.

Tip: You don't have to smoke a joint to use CBD to reduce your pain. But you can use CBD oil quite easily to support other medical measures.

What is in CBD oil?

CBD oil is a hemp extract in which the CBD extracted from the female flower is mixed with a high-quality oil. Ideally, you should take it drop by drop through the oral mucosa, as this is the quickest and most effective way to take effect. However, it also has a pain-relieving effect when applied externally, i.e. through the skin.

CBD oil also contains the following components that your body can absorb particularly well, and of course also needs. These include:

  • Vitamins
  • Trace elements and minerals, including iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, i.e. unsaturated fatty acids.
  • gamma-linolenic acid
  • the colouring agent chlorophyll
  • carotenoids

Note: Even though CBD oil can be used from a medical point of view for many medical conditions, you should never consider it as a substitute for therapy or any other form of treatment. CBD for pain should only ever be seen as a support.

CBD Öl Inhaltsstoffe

How can CBD oil help you against pain?

CBD for pain has a very long tradition. So it has been used in natural medicine for much longer than some of us realise. It is particularly effective for pain caused by inflammation in the body. This is because the cannabidiol works in such a way that it suppresses all those factors that promote inflammation.

Your advantage: Unlike other anti-inflammatory drugs that are synthetically produced, you will not feel any side effects with CBD oil. This means that prolonged use will not lead to gastrointestinal problems or additional stress on the cardiovascular system.

CBD for pain can be used in a variety of ways, although it is probably less useful for short-term periods of pain. After all, a small cut also produces pain, but it usually passes quickly. Even though not everything has been researched with regard to the use of CBD oil for pain, CBD can be used to supplement the medical treatment of the following conditions:

  • Joint pain
  • Arthritic pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Inflammatory pain
  • Pain due to spasticity and/or multiple sclerosis

By the way, recent research has shown that by taking CBD you can better control your pain. That's why you'll notice it as less intense after a short time. You could probably also erase your pain memory and reset it to zero.

Pain experts have also found that taking CBD oil makes sense when natural pain control is no longer possible. This is often the case when someone has suffered from polio paralysis at an earlier stage or also suffers from the disease fibromyalgia, for example. In the latter clinical picture, there is often a very strong pain that extends to the entire body. In this case, CBD can be particularly effective against the pain, as it raises pain control back to a healthy level.

What is the best way to use CBD oil?

Every person is different, which is why everyone reacts differently to the intake of CBD oil. Likewise, pain is perceived differently by everyone. Especially in the treatment of chronic pain, there are therefore no facts that are always one hundred percent applicable to every person. But the following data can serve as a guide:

  • For chronic pain: 2.5 milligrams to 20 milligrams per day, but no longer than a maximum of 25 days.
  • For sleep disturbances due to pain: 40 milligrams to a maximum of 160 milligrams.

However, these amounts always depend on the strength of the extract, because CBD oil is available in different strengths. You will find 10-percent CBD oil as well as 18-percent.

Forexample, with a 10% CBD oil, 5 drops 3 times a day is enough to relieve chronic pain. If you have acute pain, you can take 20 to 30 drops of this 10-percent oil 1 time.

In general, you can expect a significant improvement within 2 to 6 weeks. This means that within this period you will not only feel less pain, but may also be completely pain-free.

Tip: Especially as a pain patient, you can always talk to your doctor about this in advance. Since the recommended dosage of CBD oil also depends on your body weight, your height and your age, he or she can give you advice.

You can easily take CBD oil orally. You can put it under your tongue drop by drop, wait about a minute and then swallow it. But you can also put a few drops in your water or mix it into your food. It depends a little on how you prefer it. This is usually the quickest way for the cannabidiol to take effect.

But in case of pain, the CBD oil can also be drizzled on the painful area and then gently massaged in. This method is also effective, especially as the gentle massage movements often trigger an additional feeling of well-being.

Note: Never use CBD oil alone for pain. It is always advisable to consult your doctor about this and to use this natural extract in addition to all other measures.


[1] Apotheken Umschau "Cannabis as a medicine possible", https://www.apotheken-umschau.de/Schmerz/Cannabis-als-Medikament-moeglich-515371.html, (accessed 10.01.2019)

[2] Welt.de "The hemp oil that is supposed to help against anxiety and pain", https://www.welt.de/gesundheit/plus186710380/CBD-aus-Cannabis-Hanfoel-und-Kapseln-gegen-Aengste-und-Schmerzen.html, (accessed on 10.01.2019)

[3] Zentrum der Gesundheit "CBD oil from hemp against pain", https://www.zentrum-der-gesundheit.de/hanfextrakt.html, (accessed 10.01.2019)

[4] Physicians' Journal "Pain memory: formation, avoidance, deletion" , https://www.aerzteblatt.de/archiv/29086/Schmerzgedaechtnis-Entstehung-Vermeidung-und-Loeschung, (accessed 10.01.2019)

Dr. Harald Stephan
Dr. rer. medic. Harald Stephan
Graduate Biologist, Medical Information Processing Officer and Doctor of Health Sciences
About the author

After studying in Saarbrücken, Dr Harald Stephan worked in research and teaching at the Universities of Marburg and Bochum as well as at the University Hospital in Essen before becoming a self-employed publicist in 2016. He sees acquiring and passing on knowledge as his life's work.

In addition to his publications on cell biology and tumour research in renowned specialist journals, hundreds of his articles on health topics can be found on the internet. In them, he explains the causes of diseases, laboratory values, diagnoses as well as traditional and novel therapy options.