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Is CBD Good for Back Pain?

Published April 9, 2021
| Written By SpineNation Editorial Staff   | Medically Reviewed by Jerry Nichols, MD
Tags:  Back Pain Cbd Hemp
Using CBD appears to be on the rise for treating certain ailments, including back pain. But what exactly is CBD, and is it safe to use?

CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is a natural chemical compound found in the flower of the cannabis plant, also known as marijuana or hemp. CBD differs from medicinal marijuana in that CBD products can not exceed 0.3 percent of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active ingredient in marijuana that is considered psychoactive. CBD is not considered psychoactive, so most people who use it will not experience the effects of getting high. 

CBD is found in products including oils and edibles. Growing industrial hemp is legal in all 50 states, however some states still have restrictions in place for CBD. Currently, only one CBD medication has been approved by the FDA to treat certain types of epilepsy. Many individuals, however, use CBD, insisting it helps with other health conditions including back pain, osteoarthritis, and even cancer.

CBD aids mainly with the treatment of pain from inflammation. Pain from back conditions including arthritis, herniated discsdegenerative discsspinal stenosissciatica, and other back injuries and muscle strains may be alleviated through the use of CBD.

“These are ailments I know our patients are treating with CBD,” says Lisa Genakos with Williamsburg Drug Company in Williamsburg, Virginia. Williamsburg Drug Company carries a variety of CBD oil products.

Glow Holistic in West Point, Virginia, meanwhile, grows hemp and sells CBD products including oils and topical creams. Ben Clark, who owns Glow Holistic with his wife, Eunice, has customers who purchase products to treat back pain.

“We have a good deal of people who come to us with back issues,” Clark says. According to Clark, CBD helps the body’s immune system as it fights off infections and other ailments.

“It enables your body to do its job more efficiently,” he says. “It’s a beautiful process.”

Side effects of CBD usage appear to be minimal and rare, although it may interact with other medications.

It can increase the levels of other medications in your blood,” Genakos says. “Other noted side effects are not common if dosed correctly. It is important to speak with your pharmacists whenever you add new supplements to your regime, especially if you take medications.”


According to the website, other potential side effects may include fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, changes in appetite or weight, dry mouth, and low blood pressure. These may vary depending on the amount of CBD used as well as a person’s age, weight, other health conditions, and other factors.

CBD can be used in many forms including oils, tinctures, and creams or it can be ingested in capsules or gummies/edibles. It can also be inhaled through a spray. When choosing a CBD product, be sure what you buy is reputable.

“All CBD products are not created equal,” says Genakos. She suggested making sure the manufacturer states the level of CBD and not hemp parts, as well as reviewing a certificate of analysis by an independent lab.

“It confirms the amount of active cannabinoids, THC levels, and the presence of heavy metals and pesticides, which hopefully is none,” Genakos says. “Don’t just buy CBD products anywhere. Look for a knowledgeable source who will help you find the best solution for you.”
Choosing the product right for you is also a matter of preference.
“CBD is not a one-size-fits-all product,” Clark says. “I liken it to buying a pair of shoes. Everyone likes a different brand and what feels right for their feet.”
It is also important to take the proper dosage when using CBD. 
“Dosing is critical and unique,” Genakos pointed out. “We recommend for any internal dosing to start low and slow and gradually increasing the amount every few days.” 
Those with chronic back pain may benefit from a more natural use of treatment such as CBD, though CBD is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, or people with certain diseases including liver disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
CBD can take anywhere from five to 30 minutes to begin working, depending on how it is taken. Ingesting CBD will typically take longer to become effective. The effects may last from two hours to six hours, which, again, depends on several factors including the amount of CBD taken, how it is used, and body weight.
While much research still needs to be done on CBD, results seem to be promising so far in those who choose to use it.
“It’s a tool to help get you back to the point where you want to be,” Clark says. “It’s a good thing that more people are more open to talking about it. Be sure to consult with your physician before using it.”
Updated: April 9, 2021

Information provided within this article is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for medical advice. Those seeking specific medical advice should consult his or her doctor or surgeon. If you need to consult with a specialist, you may be able find a health care provider in our Specialist Finder. SpineNation does not endorse treatments, procedures, products or physicians.

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Contributors and Experts

Jerry Nichols, MD is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with Carilion Clinic.