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CBD Oils For Joint Pain: Where The Research Stands + Our Top Picks

Lizzy Sherman
Author: Expert reviewer:
November 29, 2023
Lizzy Sherman
Commerce writer
By Lizzy Sherman
Commerce writer
Lizzy Sherman is an award-winning digital content writer and editor with previous bylines in Healthline, Cnet, Chowhound, and more
Eloise Theisen MSN, NP, AGPCNP-BC
Expert review by
Eloise Theisen MSN, NP, AGPCNP-BC
Expert Reviewer
Eloise Theisen is a board-certified Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner who specializes in cannabis therapy.
Best CBD Oil for Joint Pain cbdistillery Relief & relax, fab cbd cbg oil, and cornbread hemp full spectrum oil
Image by mbg creative
November 29, 2023
We carefully vet all products and services featured on mindbodygreen using our commerce guidelines. Our selections are never influenced by the commissions earned from our links.

Disclaimer: Our website includes general information and instruction relating to health and wellness topics. This content is not a substitute for medical advice from your health care provider. All treatment decisions should be determined in partnership with a health care practitioner. Hemp CBD products are derived from U.S. industrial hemp (less than 0.3% THC) and European hemp (less than 0.2% THC). While hemp is legal on a federal level in the U.S., some states have specific laws, so you'll want to check your state's laws to be sure.

Researchers estimate that nearly one in four Americans deal with joint discomfort1. This joint pain and stiffness can be caused by a variety of factors—such as stress, injury, or poor gut health—which makes supporting your joint health a complex process (best decided with the help of a healthcare professional).

That being said, hemp CBD has quickly become a popular option for those hoping to support their joint comfort efforts. While research is still needed into the use of hemp CBD for pain management, anecdotal evidence from many users supports the benefits of hemp CBD oils for joint pain.*

Below, we’ll break down the science behind cannabidiol’s effects on joint health and share our top picks for the best hemp CBD oils for joint pain.*

The best cbd oils for joint pain

Your body & how it interacts with CBD

The key to understanding the effect of hemp CBD on your body begins with the endocannabinoid system or ECS. Discovered in the early 1990s, the ECS is often called the “master regulatory system” because of its importance in maintaining homeostasis (aka balance); it helps moderate everything from pain regulation and mood to sleep and appetite.

The ECS consists of endocannabinoids, enzymes, and cannabinoid receptors, which interact and trigger a “cascade of downstream effects,” per previous interview with Jessica Knox, M.D., MPH, co-founder of the American Cannabinoid Clinics and a preventive medicine physician.

While cannabinoid receptors are found in almost every organ of the body, their presence in the central nervous system2 and musculoskeletal system3 is especially pertinent to the discussion of pain and joint concerns.

Your body can get cannabinoids in two ways. The first is synthesizing cannabinoids from polyunsaturated fatty acids4 (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, for example), which are called endocannabinoids. Another complementary option is ingesting cannabinoids from plants a.k.a. phytocannabinoids.

Low levels of cannabinoids or an ”endocannabinoid deficiency”5 (aka low endocannabinoid tone) has been linked to a variety of health concerns. However, supplementing with phytocannabinoids from hemp is believed by many experts to help bring the body back to homeostasis.*

Phytocannabinoids influence your ECS by interacting with cannabinoid receptors and blocking enzymes that break down intrinsic endocannabinoids produced by your body, helping further their actions. Cannabidol, or CBD, is believed to fall into the latter category, but research is still young and emerging.

CBD oil & joint pain

Because the ECS plays a role in pain management, it’s not far off to assume that hemp cannabinoids, including CBD, can impact joint comfort. Unfortunately, research on the link between hemp CBD and pain is still in the early stages—luckily what has been uncovered seems promising.

A 2017 study6 in rats found that a localized injection of hemp CBD could help with joint comfort. Another preclinical animal study using topical application of hemp CBD7 had similar findings, showing it could help reduce joint swelling and discomfort. Just remember: Both studies use rodent models, not people (so more to come!).

As interest in hemp CBD continues to grow, several universities have even developed research programs dedicated to increasing the study of cannabis, including hemp varietals—including UC Davis.

Professor and chief of pain medicine at UC Davis, David Copenhaver, M.D., M.P.H, says ongoing research has created a “new understanding of what’s called the immune inflammatory response.” This research suggests specific types of CBD support a healthy inflammatory response by altering the immune response; as a result, Copenhaver says “CBD has a role when used in prudent fashion for joint pain.”*

Just remember CBD products from industrial hemp (i.e., contains less than 0.3% THC by legal definition) are not pharmaceuticals (nor are they marijuana or medical cannabis), and it’s important to consult with your medical care provider before starting any supplement routine.

Again, hemp CBD affects each person differently. For a baseline reference, here's how we categorize hemp CBD potency here at mindbodygreen:

Your cheat sheet to CBD dosage

  • Gentle: Less than 20 mg of hemp CBD per serving
  • Moderate: 20 to 39 mg of hemp CBD per serving
  • Strong: 40+ mg of hemp CBD per serving

How we picked:

Testing

Products should be tested by a reputable third party. The CBD product certificate of analysis (COA) should show that the product meets the advertised amounts of CBD and falls under limits for heavy metals, mold, and microbes.

Potency

We looked at how much CBD is delivered per serving to ensure all products included offered at least a moderate dose of CBD (at least 20 mg of CBD per serving).

Ingredients

We looked at the phytocannabinoids from hemp extract used in the product to find a range of options for all needs, including THC-free picks. We prioritized organic options when possible, opting for the cleanest ingredient lists.

Value

We calculated the cost per mg of CBD for each option to help compare the overall value of each pick. Our team also highlighted discount subscription bundles when available.

Best organic

Cornbread Hemp Distilled USDA Organic CBD Oil

Image by mbg creative
Type
Full-spectrum
Potency
Moderate (25 mg of CBD per serving), Strong (50 mg of CBD per serving)
Cost per mg of CBD
$0.08

Every CBD oil, CBD gummy, and CBD topical product made by Cornbread Hemp uses hemp sourced from a single USDA organic farm in central Kentucky that’s been in the same family for generations. They take this a step further, as many of their products have achieved USDA certified organic status. The brand’s hemp flower is processed using organic sugarcane ethanol to create a flower-only full-spectrum hemp extract, which is combined with organic MCT oil to create moderate and strong tincture options.

The details

“Our brand name comes from the ‘Cornbread Mafia,’ a superlative band of outlaw cannabis cultivators who kept Kentucky’s cannabis traditions alive through decades of prohibition. It is in this tradition of cannabis excellence that Cornbread Hemp was born,” says Cornbread Hemp co-founder Jim Higdon.

CBD products affect everyone differently, so Cornbread Hemp provides the opportunity for customers to try the products to see if they work for their needs. “If we don’t meet a customer’s expectations, we offer them a full refund through our 30-day satisfaction guarantee,” says Higdon.

Pros & cons

Pros

  • USDA certified organic
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No added flavors

Cons

  • Not for those with tree nut allergies (coconut)
  • Earthy hemp flavor notes

Sustainability & sourcing

Cornbread Hemp stands out with many clean, USDA certified organic formulas, which are third-party tested and offered with a 30-day money back guarantee.

Transparency

Cornbread Hemp products are tested by a third-party lab, and reports are available on the Cornbread Hemp website and via a QR code on every package.

Best with CBG

FABCBD CBD + CBG Oil

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Image by FABCBD
Image by FABCBD
Image by FABCBD
Type
Full-spectrum
Potency
Moderate, 20 mg of CBD
Servings
60

FAB CBD’s top tincture is the 2,400 CBD + CBG Oil, which the brand considers its gold standard. Leveraging full-spectrum hemp, the bottle contains 1,200 mg of CBD and 1,200 mg of cannabigerol (CBG), a cannabinoid often called the "mother cannabinoid."

The details

Each serving delivers 20 mg of CBD and 20 mg of CBG. Early, preclinical research indicates that CBD and CBG can support the inflammatory response, boosting the potential perks of this formula.*

Available in three flavors, the tincture delivers 60 servings, which equates to 0.5mL or half a dropper per each dose. FAB CBD founder Josh Delaney says to “always start small, start slow.”

The brand offers an array of dosages to ensure customers can easily scale up or down. “Once you learn your right serving size for the amount you need to solve the problem you have, then you know how to buy going forward,” Delaney says.

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Organically farmed hemp from farms in Colorado & Wisconsin
  • Fast customer service

Cons

  • Not for those with tree nut allergies (coconut)
  • Not USDA certified organic

Sustainability & sourcing

Most of FAB CBD’s hemp is organically grown in Colorado (some comes from Wisconsin), and the flavoring used in this pick is also organic. However the MCT oil used is not organic.

Transparency

All products are third-party tested, with lab reports available on the FAB CBD website.

Best full-spectrum

CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture

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Image by CBDistillery
Image by CBDistillery
Image by CBDistillery
Type
Full-spectrum
Potency
Moderate, 33 mg of hemp CBD per serving
Servings
30

One of CBDistillery’s most popular products is its full-spectrum hemp CBD oil tincture, which offers the “entourage effect.” This means the full range of cannabinoids in the hemp (plus terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids) are working together to further CBD’s leading effects on the body. As a result, the tinctures also include small amounts of CBN, CBG, and CBDA, all delivered in an MCT oil.

The details

The Relief + Relax formula comes in a handful of sizes, which vary in dosage from a gentle 17 mg of CBD per serving to an extra-strength 167 mg of CBD pers serving. In addition to the original full-bodied, earthy flavor, the brand also offers peach ginger and mango options within its Relief Line.

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Hemp Authority certified
  • Hemp grown in the U.S.
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Not for those with tree nut allergies (coconut)
  • Must shop different strengths & flavors by product page

Sustainability & sourcing

Similar to cbdMD, CBDistillery only sources non-GMO hemp grown within the United States (i.e there’s no special focus on organic ingredients or sustainability). These factors reduce the cost of the product significantly.

Transparency

CBDistillery is certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, and each product contains a unique scannable QR code that takes you directly to the product’s individual third-party testing results.

Best CBD isolate oil

MEDTERRA Isolate CBD Oil

Medterra Isolate Hemp Oil
Type
Isolate
Potency
Gentle, Moderate, Strong; 16 mg of hemp CBD per serving, 33 mg of hemp CBD per serving, 100 mg of hemp CBD per serving
Servings
30

While some CBD oils have up to 0.3% THC (the legal limit in hemp CBD products), the isolate formulas separate the isolate from other phytocannabinoids to ensure there’s no trace of THC. Medterra specializes in CBD isolate products, with a proprietary extraction method that ensures zero THC (proven by the certificate of analysis).

The details

Once extracted, the cannabidiol is combined with organic MCT oil to create an unflavored tincture. The formula comes in three strengths, including gentle, moderate, and strong dosage options. Along with a discount subscription to save, the tincture comes in an extra-large 6000mg size for added value.

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Available in 3 strength options
  • Zero THC

Cons

  • Not for those with tree nut allergies (coconut)
  • Only one flavor available (since no added flavors)

Sustainability & sourcing

The brand uses organically grown Kentucky-sourced hemp in its products, as well as organic MCT oil for tinctures (although the final product is not USDA certified organic). All hemp is US Hemp Authority certified with formulas created by medical professionals. However, there’s no extra initiatives taken by the brand to promote sustainability.

Transparency

You can easily find product certificates of analysis on the Medterra website.

Best full-spectrum

Charlotte's Web CBD Oil

Charlotte's Web CBD Oil
Type
Full-spectrum
Potency
Strong, 60 mg of hemp CBD per serving
Servings
30

Charlotte Web’s newest CBD oil is also its most potent; the USDA certified organic pick packs 60 mg of CBD per serving. The higher dose is a result of a CO2 extraction process, an environmentally friendly process that breaks away from the brand’s signature alcohol extraction (which is labor intensive and produces a more hemp-forward flavor).

The details

This full-spectrum option comes in two bottle sizes, which offer either 30 or 100 servings. Both bottles feature a demarcated dropper to easily dole out the desired serving (so you can take less or a weaker dosage). You’ll also have the option of three flavors: orange blossom, lemon twist, or mint chocolate.

Pros & cons

Pros

  • USDA certified organic
  • Hemp grown on certified organic U.S. family farms
  • Available in three flavors & two sizes
  • Certified B Corp

Cons

  • Not for those with tree nut allergies (coconut)

Sustainability & sourcing

Charlotte’s Web is a certified B corporation, which means the company is committed to transparency and accountability to run ethically and sustainability. Although all the brand’s hemp is grown on certified organic U.S. family farms, not all products are certified organic. Charlotte’s Web was one of the first CBD companies recognized by the U.S. Hemp Authority™ certification program, an approval process that requires strict CBD standards, including passing a third-party audit.

Transparency

You can view Charlotte’s Web Certificates of Analysis on the Charlotte’s Web website, or use the QR code printed on the packaging to quickly access results.

Best broad-spectrum

cbdMD CBD Broad Spectrum Oil Tincture

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Image by cbdMD
Image by cbdMD
Type
Broad-spectrum
Potency
Strong; 200 mg of CBD
Servings
30

CbdMD’s broad-spectrum CBD oil not only packs 200 mg of broad-spectrum CBD per serving, but it also includes other hemp phytocannabinoids for added benefits. The combination of cannabidiol, cannabigerol, and cannabinol is combined with MCT oil to help maximize absorption, as cannabinoids are fat-soluble in nature.

The details

While the higher potency extract and CBD dose means the hemp flavor of this formula is more prominent, it comes in three flavors (mint, orange, and berry) for those who want to mask the earthy flavor. For the best absorption, the brand suggests holding the tincture under your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds.

Pros & cons

Pros

  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Available in two sizes & a variety of flavors
  • THC-free

Cons

  • More bitter flavor due to high hemp concentration
  • Not organic

Sustainability & sourcing

While cbdMD only sources hemp grown within the United States, it doesn’t prioritize organic farms or make any extra strides within sustainability. However it does offer the best value per mg of CBD of any brand on our list. It also packaging oil within a glass bottle, rather than using plastic packaging.

Transparency

Lab results can easily be found on the product checkout pages.

FAQ:

What type of CBD is best for joint pain?

Hemp CBD products affect everyone differently, so it’s important to consult with your medical provider to help determine which CBD options may be a good fit for you personally.

Popular CBD products that consumers try for joint pain include CBD oil tinctures and topical creams. According to a survey from The Arthritis Foundation of 2,600 people, 62% of CBD users surveyed use a liquid form of CBD and 55% use a topical product to help with pain symptoms.*

Copenhaver shares that though CBD products are generally considered to be low risk overall, people can have different sensitivities and allergies so it’s best to “start low and go slow” when trying new CBD products.

Is CBD cream or oil better for joint pain?

Again, it’s important to consult with your medical provider to help determine which CBD options are the best fit for your personal needs.

Oils and creams have different methods of CBD delivery to the body. CBD oils are often taken under the tongue (sublingually) or added to food or beverages, and then enter the body systemically, while CBD creams are applied topically to the skin.

What is CBD oil?

Hemp CBD oil tinctures are oils that contain cannabinoids from the Cannabis sativa hemp plant and a carrier oil (aka diluent) such as MCT oil from coconut or hemp seed oil. The oils can legally contain up to 0.3% THC by dry weight in the United States (while the limit is 0.2% THC for European hemp). Sometimes hemp tinctures will also contain added phytocannabinoids, terpenes, or flavorings. Hemp extract options include full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate formulas.

Full-spectrum hemp has all extracts of the cannabis plant, including CBD, other cannabinoids (including less than 0.3% THC), terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. Broad-spectrum hemp extracts are similar to full-spectrum CBD, but they remove the THC. Isolate products only feature CBD and thus, contain no THC.

The takeaway

As hemp CBD becomes more widely and easily available, people experiencing joint pain have the opportunity to explore this powerful plant to support joint comfort and mobility.*

While preliminary mechanistic and preclinical research support CBD oil’s potential role in pain relief, CBD affects everyone differently.* Consult with your medical provider to help determine the best CBD oil for joint pain tailored to your specific needs.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.

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