Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical that is naturally produced in cannabis plants. When separated, CBD does not cause the euphoric or “high” feeling that results from cannabis use, but has a growing list of benefits related to pain management.


CBD is available in different forms. Below is a brief introduction to the formats typically used to support a healthy inflammatory and pain response.

  • Oils: Most commonly, you may see ads for CBD oil. In this case, a CBD extract has been infused with a carrier oil that is safe for consumption. Some companies use naturally-occurring oils (like coconut, grape seed, or hemp seed oil), while other companies use man-made oils, like MCT oil. All have different properties and benefits, so it is important to research what ingredients may be best for your specific needs. Oils are usually taken sublingually, by placing drops under the tongue. It is recommended to hold the drops there for about a minute to allow the CBD to naturally absorb into your system before swallowing the rest. Other possible options include putting the drops in food or drink.
  • Gel Capsules: Like other capsules or pills, CBD gels are taken orally with water or food. For anyone who may be nervous about the dosing they get in oils or the taste, gel capsules ensure a consistent dosage and should go down without a lingering taste. However, capsules slow the rate at which CBD absorbs into the body.
  • Sprays: CBD sprays absorb oromucosally, meaning through the mucous lining inside the mouth. It can be sprayed under the tongue or on the cheeks but should be held inside your mouth a while before swallowing. Depending on the potency, one spray is likely enough. Much like the oils, CBD extract is often infused into a spray that likely contains oils, like olive or peppermint oil, along with other ingredients.
  • Creams: These are topical products (like lotions, salves, creams, or roll-ons) intended for external use only. Creams should be applied to the skin in areas where there is pain, either shallow or deep. Some CBD companies have creams with special functions, like creating a warming or cooling sensation where applied. Occasionally, people may choose to use a CBD topical cream along with a CBD oil, capsule, or spray.

Regardless of which method is used to deliver CBD into your system, effects may be felt within 15 to 45 minutes.


There is no official guidance on how large or small a CBD dose should be. Clinical trials have produced different effects for different people. The reality is that how much CBD a person needs to take to relieve pain will depend on each person’s individual needs and pain responses. Other factors, like weight, sex, or age may impact the rate at which your body can metabolize CBD.

CBD products vary in potency. Most CBD companies will offer the same product in different strengths. It will be important to match the potency to your needs. First-time users will want to opt for a low potency and increase as needed.