CBD for Pain and Inflammation

Growing research and evidence shows that there may be some potential between CBD & helping alleviate symptoms of pain and inflamation.


One of the most popular uses of CBD is to control pain and/or inflammation. This applies to those with chronic conditions as well as athletes, whom report that CBD use allows them to play through pain or speeds up their recovery.

Athletes Support Using CBD for Pain

Many professional athletes have spoken out in favor of CBD or medical marijuana as a way to manage pain over the years. In 2017, Nate Jackson, a former NFL player, wrote an op-ed praising the use of marijuana for pain management, especially for managing pain from playing football. According to the op-ed, NFL players regularly use marijuana to manage their pain, frequently as an alternative or supplement to opioids.

NBA players, such as Jay Williams, have also written passionate statements about the benefits of using marijuana to manage pain in basketball. His statements also compared marijuana and opioids, pointing out the double standard with cannabis being banned by the NBA but not opioids, despite cannabis producing results without addiction.

Some athletic organizations are beginning to support the use of CBD for pain management. Pain management and inflammation will be two of the topics the collaboration specifically focuses on, in addition to mental well-being and injury and exercise recovery.

These are just a handful of the more recent cases where professional athletes have spoken out and encouraged acceptance of cannabis or CBD for pain, especially sports-related pain.

Many Medical Marijuana Users Seek Pain Relief

Athletes are not the only group that uses marijuana or CBD for pain relief. A 2018 report indicated that 62 percent who use CBD for medical conditions do so for managing chronic pain or joint and arthritis pain.

Research Confirms CBD Can Help with Pain and Inflammation

The support for the use of CBD for pain and inflammation is not just anecdotal evidence from athletes; numerous studies show similar results.

Treating Arthritis Pain

A 2016 study on rats examined the ability of CBD to treat pain from arthritis. They did this by studying rats with arthritis and giving them a topical gel with CBD for four days. This resulted in a reduction in pain and inflammation for the rats.

Treating Cancer Pain

Several studies have found that CBD can help treat pain from cancer. A 2010 study combined it with THC to create a THC-CBD extract. When used with opioids, this extract gave patients more pain relief than the opioids alone. Many of the same researchers completed a follow-up study in 2013 that confirmed those results.

Treating Chronic Pain

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine suggested that CBD can reduce inflammation and pain. It indicated that giving patients CBD helped reduce neuropathic and inflammatory pain in rodents.

One of the more important studies involving CBD and chronic pain is a review of past studies that was published in 2018. The review looked at studies from 1975 to early 2018. It included patients dealing with chronic pain from fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, cancer pain, and other causes. The review of this past research found that CBD effectively assisted with pain management without negative side effects.

Treating Migraine Pain

A study in 2017 that assessed CBD and THC use for those who suffer from migraines found positive results, as well. The study had two phases with CBD or CBD combined with THC. The researchers found that the combination produced slightly better results than amitriptyline, which is commonly prescribed to treat migraines. Interestingly, that study also noted a reduction in cluster headaches only in participants who experienced migraines as children.

Treating MS Pain

Multiple sclerosis is associated with pain due to the sometimes extreme muscle spasms the illness causes. Early research indicated that using CBD oil in the short term could help reduce the spasms or spasticity that patients feel. This particular application of CBD is still in its early stages of research.


There is plenty of early scientific research that indicates CBD has the potential to treat pain and inflammation for a full range of conditions. This combines with anecdotal evidence from professional athletes who have experienced pain relief from using either CBD or medical marijuana. The research and anecdotal evidence have led to the UFC taking steps to encourage and conduct research into the use of CBD in pain management for its athletes.