CBD Pain—Water Soluble CBD for Pain

While many may still be skeptical about how cannabis can be used to treat pain, there is plenty of research to show how beneficial CBD products for pain can be. Cannabis has been used as a remedy for pain dating all the way back to 2900 BC. Could CBD (cannabidiol) potentially replace aspirin in your medicine cabinet? Research says, potentially, yes!

While the opioid epidemic rages on, it’s imperative that we explore alternatives to treat pain outside of pharmaceutical drugs. A study from 2014 by Bachhuber et al, found that states with medical cannabis laws have a 24.8% lower average annual opioid overdose mortality rate in comparison with states without medical cannabis laws. There is a decline each year following the implementation of medical cannabis laws which continues for at least 6 years.

CBD has been shown to have several hundred times more anti-inflammatories than aspirin in animal studies (Evans, 1991, Williamson & Evans, 2000). I know from my clinical experience with patients that CBD products (both oral and topical) helped many of them avoid over-the-counter pain medications. Common pain generators like headaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis pain, and minor injuries can be helped with CBD pain management.

I have seen an incredibly positive impact on my pain patients since introducing water-soluble CBD products, which tend to be more predictable in producing a positive result.

One of my favorite quotes by Samuel Hahnemann, founder of Homeopathy reads: “The highest ideal of cure is the speedy, gentle, and enduring restoration of health by the most trustworthy and least harmful way.” CBD is just that. A fast, gentle, trustworthy, and safe way to bring the body into balance.


What about addiction or dependence?

In 2017 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that CBD in humans exhibits no evidence of abuse or dependence potential. There is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD (Cannabidiol Pre-Review Report, 2017). Furthermore, a recently published study found there was no evidence of withdrawal in healthy volunteers after abrupt cessation of CBD use at high doses. (Taylor et al., 2020)


CBD + Pain

Of the over 150 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most commonly used for pain management and to treat chronic pain. CBD affects and modulates pain in many different ways throughout the endocannabinoid system and more. CBD (along with many other cannabinoids) decreases pain and inflammation (and is generally active) at the level of:

  1. Receptors: endocannabinoid and TRP receptors that modulate pain
  2. Transcription: PPARs which play a role in inflammatory gene repression
  3. Enzymes: COX, LIPOX, etc. Helps inhibit and decrease inflammation

So far, CBD has been shown to provide pain-relieving effects and reduce symptoms in conditions such as osteoarthritis, chronic pain, cancer-related pain and symptoms, headache, trigeminal neuralgia, and more. While in this blog I focused on CBD and its effects on pain, it is important to note that many different cannabinoids also have an impact on pain reduction, including CBN, CBG, CBC, CBL, THCa, CBDa, CBDV, and THCV.


How to Best Utilize CBD for Pain

Taking CBD orally will have the greatest systematic effect on pain modulation in the body, modulating pain through the receptors and processes mentioned above. For systematic pain and inflammation, or imbalances deeper in the system, I recommend oral CBD dissolved in water.

Water-soluble CBD powder is 4x more effective than a dose of CBD oils or CBD Tincture. Your body is made up of about 55%-60% water. Another term for CBD powder is Water-Soluble CBD Oil which has been emulsified in powder to better absorb into the body’s Endocannabinoid System. This system is responsible for eating, anxiety, learning, reproduction, growth, memory, development, and metabolism. The ECS is directly linked to the nervous system and will help regulate pain.


Topical CBD Products for Pain

For types of pain at or near the skin’s surface, topical CBD products can be very effective for modulating pain. For example, I would choose an oral CBD supplement to help provide relief to a patient with chronic inflammation from an autoimmune disease (types of arthritis, etc). For a patient with a bruised and sore knee from a fall, I may advise a topical CBD lotion treatment.

Have you tried using CBD products for pain relief for yourself or your patients/clients? Have you seen success?

Dr. Kramer’s mission is to empower others to feel and function as their most vibrant selves. Through her personal history of medical struggles, she realized that her symptoms were her body’s way of communicating deep physical, mental, and emotional imbalances.

Dr. Abby has been inspired to bring that same type of healing transformation to her patients – becoming one of the foremost voices for progressive, holistic medicine in the Greater Chicago area.

Dr. Abby can also be found talking with other thoughtful healthcare leaders on her podcast, “Coffee with the Docs,”. Spearheading Medical Education and business development for Fringe Inc, a company committed to helping others regain their health through the power of natural medicines.


  1. Bachhuber, M.A., Saloner, B., Cunningham, C.O., & Barry, C.L. (2014) Medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in the United States, 1999-2010. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174, 166-1673. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4392651/pdf/nihms672222.pdf
  2. De Petrocellis, L., Vellani, V., Schiano-Moriello, A., Marini, P., Magherini, P. C., Orlando, P., & Di Marzo, V. (2008). Plant-derived cannabinoids modulate the activity of transient receptor potential channels of ankyrin type-1 and melastatin type-8. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, 325(3), 1007–1015. https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.107.134809
  3. Evans, F.J. (1991) Cannabinoids: the separation of central from peripheral effects on a structural basis. Planta Medica, 57, S60-67. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2006-960231
  4. O’Sullivan, S. E., Sun, Y., Bennett, A. J., Randall, M. D., & Kendall, D. A. (2009). Time-dependent vascular actions of cannabidiol in the rat aorta. European journal of pharmacology, 612(1-3), 61–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2009.03.010
  5. Takeda, S., Usami, N., Yamamoto, I., & Watanabe, K. (2009). Cannabidiol-2′,6′-dimethyl ether, a cannabidiol derivative, is a highly potent and selective 15-lipoxygenase inhibitor. Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals, 37(8), 1733–1737. https://doi.org/10.1124/dmd.109.026930
  6. Taylor, L., Crockett, J., Tayo, B., Checketts, G., & Sommerville, K. (2020) Abrupt withdrawal of cannabidiol: A randomized trial. Epilepsy Behavior, 104(ptA), 106938. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.106938
  7. Williamson, E.M., & Evans, F.J. (2000) Cannabinoids in clinical practice. Drugs. 60(6), 1303-1314. https://doi.org/10.2165/00003495-200060060-00005

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