Everyone is talking about CBD.

CBD for pain. CBD for anxiety. CBD for arthritis, blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. It’s easy to wonder if we’re talking about a legitimate solution or a modern-day snake oil. 

Now, nobody is a bigger proponent of natural health care than me, so of course I was interested to learn if CBD could help back pain. Here’s what I found.

header image of cbd leaves and headline

CBD Has No Psycho-active Effects

This means you aren’t going to feel high. Whether that’s positive or negative remains a matter of perspective. But the important thing to know is that you’ll be able to carry on with your day without feeling impaired. 

I think we’re all in favor of no impairment. So far, so good. 

But does this mean CBD can help back pain? Keep reading.

CBD is Natural

100% natural as a matter of fact. CBD is simply molecules that are found in extracted plant oils—specifically the cannabis plant or hemp plant. It’s hard for the casual gardener to differentiate between these two plants, but what’s important to know is that the level of CBD in the extracted oil varies drastically between these plants.

Extracted cannabis oil contain 20%+ CBD. Extracted hemp oil will have a lower amount: maybe 3-4%. Mostly what you’ll see in stores in NC is CBD from the hemp plant, since cannabis is still illegal here.

Okay. Good to know. CBD is natural. 

But does this mean CBD can help back pain? Keep reading.

How CBD Works

CBD stands for cannabidiol, which, as noted above, is simply a molecule found, in this case, in the cannabis or hemp plant. Our body actually produces its own cannabinoids which attach to cannabinoid receptors. And these cannabinoids help regulate systems of the body that control our moods, level of pain, memory and much more. 

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. If something has the ability to affect our mood and sensation of pain, then the claim that CBD can help with back pain might hold some validity.

Further, CBD has been shown to have the potential to reduce inflammation. With all those things combined: the ability to affect our mood, regulate our perception of pain, and reduce inflammation, it would seem CBD would be a serious contender on the list of natural remedies for back pain.

Let’s look at each of these specifically.

CBD Affects Our Mood

When we have pain of any kind, we often become more edgy and impatient. This is exasperated with back pain because when we have pain in our back, neck, or hips, our mobility is often limited. That means 24/7 agitation with no relief. 

This is turn creates a secondary effect of the pain: stress. Not just a general stress, but a systemic dis-ease in the body from free radicals that begin to damage our cells.

If CBD has the ability to relieve that feeling of being wound too tight, that agitation that comes from discomfort and pain, it gives us some relief and we can relax. And when the body has the ability to relax, it can begin to focus its attention on healing. In this way, CBD would seem to have a positive therapeutic effect on back pain.

But does this mean CBD is effective at reducing the problem of back pain? Keep reading.

CBD Regulates Our Perception of Pain

This effect may actually work in tandem with the ability to affect our mood. Just think about the times you have acute back pain. It’s hard to think of anything else. You’re irritated. You’re tired. You’re overwhelmed from the burden of trying to hold it together.

If CBD can balance your mood and emotions, you won’t be so acutely aware of the pain. In other words, you’ll be more chill. You’ll be able to more accurately assess the depth and scope of your pain.

Feeling as though you’re in control of your pain instead of the pain controlling you sounds like a win to me, but does this mean CBD is effective at reducing the problem of back pain? Keep reading.

CBD Reduces Inflammation

The body’s natural response to the problem of back pain is to send blood to the area to protect it from further damage. This rush of blood causes inflammation, which deepens your pain.

It may seem counterintuitive to say this, but that is actually a good thing, because this innate lock-down on your movement is meant to stop you from pushing yourself when you should be focused on finding the root cause of the back pain.

However, let’s be honest. None of us wants to feel pain. So, if we can take a pill to reduce the inflammation and feel better, you can bet we’re going to—or at least be tempted to. That’s why ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, and all the other OTC remedies are found in most of our medicine cabinets. We don’t want back pain!

And, while inflammation can protect us from further damage, prolonged inflammation can wreak havoc on our bodies. It can increase blood pressure, complicate diabetes, and even cause fatigue, chest pain, and a myriad of other symptoms.

Do you see where this is going? 

So if CBD can reduce inflammation …. And inflammation contributes to your level of back pain, then when you reduce the inflammation, you reduce the pain. In this case, then, the answer would be yes, if CBD can reduce inflammation, it can help relieve back pain.

What CBD Can’t Do

But I want to caution you not to view CBD as a cure-all. Even if it does reduce inflammation and reduce your pain, you haven’t solved your problem.

Because there is a reason you have back pain! Just like when we medicate ourselves with OTC meds or prescription drugs, we aren’t really solving any problems. We are solving symptoms. 

And when you mute the body when it’s trying to sound an alarm, the problem will redirect and show up as another, often deeper, health issue.

The Real Solution to Back Pain

The real solution to back pain isn’t to dull your pain. It’s to diagnose your pain.

And that’s where a “back doctor” comes in—a chiropractor. A chiropractor will assess your back pain with the understanding that the origin of your pain is likely a structural problem where a vertebra has shifted in your spine, a shift that puts pressure on your nerve. Hence: PAIN.

But imagine you have a nerve with pressure on it and all you do to treat it is to dull your pain.

Have you taken any pressure off the nerve? 


And do you know what that means? It means the condition will continue to deteriorate as that restricted nerve is prevented from sending instructions from the brain to other parts of your body.

The solution in this case isn’t CBD or any other medication. The first step toward permanent relief is to call me (if you’re looking for a chiropractor near Durham, NC) and get an appointment for a free consult.


Full disclosure: I’m a fan of CBD. Not because I think it’s a miracle cure, but because I like having a natural option for relief.

But I’m going to warn you: not all CBD is the same, so do your homework. Supplements vary in their level of quality.

Just as I offer my clients high-quality vitamins in my office because the ones available at the corner drugstore are often so packed with fillers as to be useless, so, too, many manufacturers slap a CBD label on products that have very low quality CBD. That means they won’t give you the results you had hoped. So, do your research before you buy.

But more than being a fan of CBD, I’m a fan of chiropractic care, because I’ve seen how chiropractic care can truly help people recover from back pain. It’s the best natural remedy for back pain!

Now, here’s something interesting to think about: as a chiropractor, I don’t actually treat your pain. When you’re under chiropractic care, you’re making a commitment to fix the cause of your pain. And when you fix the cause, your body heals, and the pain … and anxiety, stress, irritation … goes away on its own.

So my advice is to consider chiropractic care first. And feel free to take your high-quality CBD while you’re being treated.

If you’re looking for a Gonstead chiropractor in Durham, NC, you’re invited to schedule a free consultation. Our office is conveniently on Fayetteville Road, right near Highway 54 and Rt 40, near Southpoint mall.


DISCLAIMER: Our fellow citizens who we employ within the U.S. Government have restricted our ability to make any type of claim that something completely natural, such as an herb, plant, etc., can be used to treat ailments. Apparently, only man-made, FDA-approved pharmaceuticals have the healing properties our body needs. Therefore, to stay within the limits of the law, I cannot and do not affirm CBD will or will not do anything. I am sharing with you interesting facts science has discovered regarding CBD, and passing along the anecdotal shared experiences of those who have taken it. However, I cannot make any claims that all those similar experiences offer any type of proof that there is a benefit from taking CBD. (How’s that for a disclaimer?)

Schedule a free consultation to speak with the doctor.

Find the Problem. Fix the Pain.

I was skeptical but have been able to run as far and often as ever with no back pain. I do not take pain meds for my back. Dramatic improvement!

Will M.

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