Does Cannabidiol (CBD) Help Back Pain?

Cannabidiol, often referred to as ‘CBD’, is a non-intoxicating naturally occurring compound found within cannabis.

In recent years CBD has proven to be a popular health supplement amongst consumers, with retail sales overtaking that of vitamin C in the United Kingdom. Despite its popularity, CBD still faces challenges in the form of misleading marketing claims and a general lack of scientific evidence in support of its effectiveness.

One such area where the scientific evidence is lacking, but where anecdotal reports from consumers are in major support of CBD supplementation, is that of back pain.

Back pain is an extremely debilitating condition and is one of the most commonly reported reasons for GP visits in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, back pain is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in the workplace worldwide.

Complementing the positive consumer feedback, scientific studies on CBD have displayed therapeutic effects in areas such as neuropathic pain and inflammation, leading some researchers to suggest that CBD could be a good candidate for the treatment of back pain.[1]

Although emerging scientific data and statements such as the one above are positive, they do not answer the primary question of prospective consumers; Does CBD help with back pain?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to reduce inflammation and suppress neuropathic pain, which could provide some benefit to patients suffering with back pain. Furthermore, in a recent case series in the Journal of Opioid Management, CBD provided significant pain and symptom relief to patients suffering with back pain.

Cannabidiol (CBD) Cream Improves Back Pain in Case Study

A recent article in the Journal of Opioid Management highlighted 2 case reports where the use of a CBD cream significantly reduced pain and discomfort in opioid naïve patients suffering with back pain.[2]

Case 1

A 40 year old male suffering from back pain due to a recent L3 compression fracture visited his GP in search of pain relief. The patient had a significant medical history including an epidural abscess that required evacuation and a subsequent posterior instrumentation and fusion of the lumbar spine 10 years earlier. At the time of the visit the patient was receiving zero medication.

After it was determined he was not a suitable candidate for a kyphoplasty, it was suggested that the patient start therapy using a combination of acetaminophen and NSAIDS; neither of which provided significant relief.

2 weeks on from his initial visit for the L3 compression fracture, and following the recommended treatment from the GP which provided no relief, the patient decided to try CBD in the form of a CBD moisturising cream. The patient applied CBD cream twice daily to his lower back, applying a small amount of cream over the affected area.

The patient reported that using the CBD cream reduced his pain from an 8/10 to 1/10. Furthermore, this relief lasted on average for 10 hours. The patient also reported that his back spasms and radiating pain to his sacrum were reduced. After 4 weeks of treatment, the patient stopped using all medications as his lower back pain was completely resolved.

Case 2

Following the surgical treatment of spinal cord cancer, a 61 year old female presented to her GP having suffered from thoracic disturbance and dysesthesia for over 2 years. The patient’s medical history was complex and included rheumatoid arthritis, cervical degenerative disc disease, pinched spinal nerves and obesity. The patient’s medications included methotrexate and simvastin.

The patient decided to try CBD of her own accord and applied the cream to the affected are of her thoracic spine. She reported approximately 7-8 hours of relief from sensory disturbance and dysesthesia.

How Much Cannabidiol (CBD) Should You Use For Back Pain?

Due to the study not being controlled by researchers, but rather a case study where patients applied the CBD cream themselves, it is difficult to estimate how much cream and therefore CBD was applied. The study did note, however, that the CBD cream used contained 400mg of CBD per 60ml.

This is very similar to Cannubu’s CBD Cream, which contains 300mg of CBD per 60ml.

Conclusion – Does CBD Help Back Pain?

It’s still very early days for CBD, especially in the area of pain management, but the future looks promising. CBD in the form of a transdermal cream provided significant symptom and pain relief for patients in a recent case study. Furthermore, early research indicates that CBD may alleviate neuropathic pain. Although much more research is needed, particularly in humans, CBD is safe, widely available and could potentially help in the management of back pain.


Jordan Donohue is a qualified nutritionist who has spent the last 5 years working in the supplement industry.

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