Can I rub CBD Oil on my skin for pain?

lady with skin allergy rubbing cbd cream into arm

You can take CBD and other cannabinoids in a capsule or softgel, edibles like gummies, or an oil tincture that mixes into meals and beverages. But did you know that CBD topicals you apply to the skin can be highly effective and even more bioavailable than edible CBD?

If you’re interested in CBD as a pain remedy, looking into topical CBD is a must. That’s because when you rub products with CBD oil into the skin, the analgesic cannabinoid teams up with natural hemp terpenes and flavinoids to reduce pain via multiple routes.

If you’re curious about how/why topical CBD helps reduce pain, stay tuned. In this post, we’re going over how topical CBD oil works against pain, where it comes from, and how to use it for pain relief

What Is CBD Oil?

All cannabinoids, including CBD, originate from CBG and its precursor cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) in the earliest stages of a hemp plant. As the plant grows and its resin glands undergo an enzymatic reaction, the CBGA converts into the four main cannabinoid lines, one of which is CBDA, the acidic precursor of CBD.

CBDA transforms into CBD when heat and light exposure causes decarboxylation. Decarboxylation is a process where the CBDA molecules lose their carboxyl group consisting of a carbon atom, two oxygen atoms, and a hydrogen atom, to become CBD.

How does CBD extraction work?

To obtain this CBD, producers cut and dry the developed hemp plants, quality-test the material, and extract the CBD using solvents or other methods like CO2 extraction. The remaining oil goes through distillation to yield broad-spectrum CBD oil with some other cannabinoids present. Or, to make isolate CBD, the oil goes through an additional step for purification. 

Manufacturers then use the CBD oil to make tinctures, capsules, softgels, gummies, and topical hemp-derived CBD products. 

How does CBD work in the body?

Whether you place topical CBD oil on your skin or ingest CBD oil by taking a pill, eating edibles, or mixing it into a meal or drink, your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) goes to work processing the CBD via the cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system (CB1 receptors) and immune system (CB2).

Some users apply topical CBD the skin around a painful area of the body two to three times per day. In this case, your body absorbs the restorative cannabinoid, terpenes, and flavonoids both locally into the tissues, and systematically into the circulatory system, which then transports a portion of the compounds throughout your body.

When your ECS processes the CBD, the two can work together to help restore your body’s homeostasis, or balance. This includes lowering stress and anxiety, promoting quality sleep, reducing inflammation, and calming pain signaling through the nerves, spinal cord, and brain.

What type of cannabis plant does CBD come from?

Trustworthy CBD is obtained from hemp plants, not marijuana. The legal definition of marijuana is a cannabis plant with over 0.3% THC. CBD is only federally legal when derived from industrial hemp, since the 2018 Farm Bill removed low-THC hemp from the definition of marijuana to allow more hemp-based research, production, and commerce.

Can Rubbing CBD Oil On Your Skin Help Relieve Pain?

Yes, rubbing topical CBD oil-basesd products on your skin can help relieve pain stemming from a variety of conditions.

There is evidence for the efficacy of CBD in attenuating muscle pain, neuropathic pain, and inflammation. This means topical CBD oil products have the potential to help people manage pain from arthritis, burns and nerve damage, muscle tension and exercise, tendinitis, gout, autoimmune and degenerative diseases.

Topical CBD is helpful in so many causes of pain, because its analgesic (pain relieving) effects work in a number of different ways. 

FIrstly, topical CBD oil is both an anti-inflammatory, and a mild antinociceptive. So it calms inflammatory pain and decreases pain perception. 

Also, the special thing about applying hemp-derived CBD products to the skin is that the affected area absorbs the CBD through the skin into the underlying tissues to start relieving pain fast. Then, the CBD gets into the circulatory system during systemic absorption, to help the entire body relax and work to reduce pain.

So, does CBD’s pain relieving function depend on what type of CBD oil you use, such as creams, gels, or other products? 

Next up, we’ll take a closer look at how CBD oil affects the ECS through skin contact.

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System and CBD Oil

Some of the receptors in the endocannabinoid system are located in the skin. Scientists have found both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the epidermal keratinocytes, cutaneous nerve fibers, dermal cells, melanocytes, sweat glands, and hair follicles. 

So, when you rub any CBD oil product onto your skin, it gets directly into the endocannabinoid system, possibly even more readily than taking CBD orally.

Then, the ECS responds to the topical CBD oil by synthesizing endocannabinoids, activating immune and nervous system cannabinoid receptors and TRP (pain signaling) channels to balance the skin barrier, cell growth and differentiation, immune processes, inflammation, and pain sensation.

Seven Potential Benefits of Rubbing CBD Oil on Skin

Topical CBD oil’s unique relationship to the ECS through contact with the skin has implications for helping to manage pain from numerous conditions.


Osteoarthritis is a result of breakdown in the cartilage cushioning the ends of bones, leading to irreversible joint damage. The inflammatory joint pain that results from osteoarthritis and RA, an autoimmune form of arthritis, can however be managed via anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive analgesics like topical CBD.


Sometimes due to weight, diet, or conditions like diabetes, kidney and heart disease, and high blood pressure, the body accumulates high uric acid levels. This results in the buildup of urate crystals in the joints, causing intense inflammatory joint pain. Rubbing CBD oil on body parts affected by gout can reduce the inflammation and pain.


Tendons are the fibrous cords attaching the muscles to the bones. Tendinitis is the irritation or inflammation of the tendons, commonly impacting elbows, shoulders, and knees. This usually feels like aching, tenderness, and swelling of the joint and limb. Topical CBD and other cannabis plant compounds appear to help manage pain and stiffness in tendinitis.

Joint Pain

Joint pain can also arise from other conditions like complex regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, lupus, lyme disease, psoriatic arthritis, and injuries like sprains. There is reason to believe that CBD topical application could help mitigate many forms of joint pain by controlling inflammation and pain sensation, especially alongside therapeutic flavonoids.

Muscle Soreness

Injuries, fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, neuromuscular disorders, conditions involving muscle spasticity and tension, and exercise can all be sources of sore muscles. CBD topical products can permeate the skin to help calm muscle spasticity and soreness

Burn Injuries

Pain from burn injuries, other nerve damage, and neuropathy stems from disruptions in nerve signaling, which can cause numbness, tingling, ‘pins and needles,’ electric-like sensations, and chronic pain. There is scientific support for using topical CBD to manage neuropathic pain, since it could calm the nerve signaling causing pain.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can originate from the aforementioned conditions and more. Chronic pain often challenges individuals’ ability to function well at work, fulfill other responsibilities, and lead active lives. Fortunately, some studies have shown topical CBD to help alleviate chronic pain from a variety of conditions.

Best CBD Oils for Relieving Pain

CBD tincture oils are meant to ingest orally, by eating or drinking something with the CBD oil mixed in, or by using the dropper to administer it under the tongue. 

These tinctures’ carrier oils aren’t specifically intended to place directly onto the skin for absorption, and doing so may not deliver the best results. But some people like making their own CBD oil topicals by mixing isolate CBD tinctures into their favorite oil-based lotion. 

Here are the best CBD oils for pain, though ingestion is their ideal use.

Full Spectrum CBD Oil 1000mg + 170mg CBG

This potent, full-spectrum CBD oil includes all the therapeutic hemp compounds, including CBG for maximum relief. Available in orange and peppermint flavor, this works great for those who want to take their CBD sublingually.

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3:1 Ratio – 1000mg Full Spectrum CBD Oil Plus 350mg of CBN & 350mg of CBG

Being in pain makes it tough to sleep soundly. This full-spectrum CBD oil has CBG for stronger relief from pain and inflammation, plus CBN for a more restful night’s sleep. The light flavors make this tincture great-tasting to take by itself.

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Isolate CBD Oil 500mg, 1000mg or 1500mg

Sometimes you just want CBD by itself. The results of isolate CBD oils are reportedly less potent compared to full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD. So the isolate CBD could be a better choice for managing moderate pain. There’s a natural version, ideal for mixing into drinks and foods, and peppermint, which is refreshing to take on its own.

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How to Rub CBD Oil on Your Skin

While you might notice some results by topically applying CBD tincture oils you’re supposed to ingest, this isn’t their intended purpose. They contain carrier oils designed to absorb through digestion. 

So, if you’re looking for a CBD oil product to rub directly onto your skin, we listed the best solutions below that are specifically formulated to rub into the skin nicely and absorb readily.

Before trying any oil-based topical product, test it first by applying a very small amount to your skin. Wait to make sure your skin does not have an adverse reaction to the product. While it’s unlikely to have adverse reactions to CBD itself, the product could have other ingredients you may be allergic to. Spot-testing the product will ensure you don’t experience an allergic reaction.

With most topical CBD oil products, you can take a pea-sized portion and apply it to the skin at the painful area, thoroughly but gently rubbing it into the skin until it sets in. Avoid contact with the eyes or mucous membranes. 

Sometimes, topical CBD comes in an easy roll-on. Use just enough that you can rub cleanly into your skin without it sitting on top, unable to sink in.

Topical products are harder to gauge for dosage, but start with roughly 5 mg worth or less of the product per use, and slightly increase if needed. Limit use to two or three times per day, and try to use consistently for at least a couple of weeks to get the best results.

Other CBDs You can Apply to Your Skin for Potential Pain Relief

Here are the CBD-based topical products that are ideal for rubbing onto the skin to potentially manage pain:

CBD Cream

This CBD cream has the perfect balance of luxurious and soothing ingredients. The organic menthol crystals made from mint create a gentle cooling sensation. Natural camphor, safflower seed oil, arnica extract, chamomile, shea butter, and aloe calm the body and mind while nourishing the skin.

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CBD Gel Roll-On

For quick, clean, and easy topical application, this CBD formula achieves superior absorption with Curcumin C3 complex and BioPerine. It also has a touch of menthol, plus CBG to ease aches and pains.

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CBD Salves

The decadent ingredients in the CBD salve include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich emu oil, moringa oil, moisturizing coconut oil, nutrient-dense mango butter, and calming aromatic oils. 

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CBD Freeze Roll-On

For those who love the cool, herbal relaxation of natural menthol, this roll-on has the strongest CBD concentration available for the most potent, long-lasting reprieve from discomfort, tingling, numbness, and inflammation.

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FAQs About Using CBD Oil for Pain Relief

What happens if you apply CBD oil topically

Your skin locally absorbs the CBD into underlying tissues. Then, your circulatory system gets the CBD through systemic absorption to deliver the CBD throughout the body’s cannabinoid receptors in the immune and nervous systems.

Can CBD oil be absorbed through the skin

Yes, CBD may actually be more bioavailable when absorbing through the skin as opposed to ingesting it.

Can you mix CBD oil with body lotion

Yes, some oil-based lotions with natural ingredients like coconut oil can mix well with CBD oils.

What’s your favorite natural ingredient in a soothing topical product?

The best way to rub CBD into your skin for potential pain relief is by using an expert-formulated CBD cream, salve, gel, or roll-on. Then you get the benefits of targeted relief from other cannabis plant compounds, plus rich and nourishing natural oils and herbal ingredients.

Since CBD absorbs well into the tissues and circulatory system when placed on the skin, your whole body, including any ailing areas, will thank you.

If you’re excited to feel more like yourself by incorporating relaxing CBD topicals into your daily routine, check out lab-tested and research-backed  CBD oil for pain by Nature’s Legend.