how much cbd oil will i take for joint pain

CBD statistics 2021

There’s no getting around it: CBD is officially everywhere . Its popularity has skyrocketed. What started as a niche alternative health treatment has become a nationwide craze. And it doesn’t just show up as oils and tinctures anymore. There is whole array of curious CBD products, including lattes, makeup, bedsheets, bath bombs, and even dog treats.

But is CBD a wonder drug, or just another health fad? There’s no shortage of opinions out there, but we can discern a lot from CBD statistics. We’ve compiled reliable research and conducted a CBD survey to put the prevalence of CBD use and its potential health benefits into perspective.

What is CBD?

When some people hear “CBD,” their minds immediately jump to marijuana. And while there is a connection, it’s not as close as one might think. Since recreational and medical cannabis is available in several states now, it’s important to note the differences. CBD is primarily a hemp derivative, which is like a cousin to marijuana, but not the same plant.

Let’s take a step back. Both hemp and marijuana fall into the cannabis genus. Cannabis plants contain two naturally-occurring compounds: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD and THC are both cannabinoids but have different effects on the body. Most prominently, THC has psychoactive effects and CBD doesn’t, which is why CBD doesn’t make you feel high.

Marijuana and hemp each contain both compounds but in different ratios. Hemp has much lower levels of THC and larger amounts of CBD, which is why it’s often used for CBD products. Marijuana, on the other hand, has significantly more THC.

CBD uses

People use CBD for almost everything. Name a medical condition and there’s likely someone out there treating it with CBD or other cannabis products. But when someone claims that CBD cured their migraines or skin rash, take it with a grain of salt. Because the CBD industry is so new, there simply hasn’t been enough research to fully understand its effects yet.

While it shows plenty of promise in treating various conditions, “it is not a one-size-fits-all [remedy] to treat specific conditions or symptoms of those conditions for every individual,” says Manisha Singal, MD, the founder of Aethera Beauty . “Research on the benefits and action of CBD in topical formulations as well as ingestible forms is ongoing. That experimentation is in its preliminary stages and there is a long way to go. The medical potential for CBD and other cannabinoids is undeniable, but medical research takes time and careful analysis.”

That said, it has shown efficacy in treating chronic pain and anxiety (two of its most common uses), as well as insomnia and arthritis. And the only FDA-approved medication that contains cannabidiol so far is Epidiolex , which treats childhood seizures associated with Dravet Syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome in patients two years of age and older.

How common is CBD use?

  • 33% of American adults have used CBD once or more. (SingleCare, 2020)
  • 64% of Americans are familiar with CBD and/or CBD products. (Gallup, 2019)
  • An estimated 64 million Americans have tried CBD in the last 24 months. (Consumer Reports, 2019)
  • Of those who use CBD, 22% said it helped them supplement or replace prescription or over-the-counter drugs. (Consumer Reports, 2019)

CBD statistics in America

  • Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in all 50 states, as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC. (Food and Drug Administration, 2020)
  • In overall cannabis sales, Colorado tops the list, having sold over $1 billion since 2014. (CNN, 2019)
  • The top states for CBD sales in 2019 are California ($730 million), Florida ($291 million), and New York ($215 million). (Statista, 2019)
  • Of the Americans who use CBD, the most common uses are for pain relief (64%), anxiety (49%), and insomnia (42%). (SingleCare, 2020)
  • CBD web searches increased by 125.9% from 2016 to 2017 and 160.4% from 2017 to 2018. ( JAMA Network , 2019)
  • United States hemp farmland increased from 25,713 acres in 2017 to 78,176 acres in 2018. (Food Business News, 2019)

CBD statistics by age

CBD user demographics skew young. Of all age groups, Americans age 18-29 are most likely to use CBD consistently, and its popularity decreases with age. (Gallup, 2019):

  • 20% of people ages 18-29 use CBD
  • 16% of people ages 30-49 use CBD
  • 11% of people ages 50-64 use CBD
  • 8% of people age 65 and older use CBD

And the numbers nearly double for adults who have tried it once or more. According to a 2019 Consumer Reports CBD survey:

  • 40% of people ages 18-29 have tried CBD
  • 32% of people ages 30-44 have tried CBD
  • 23% of people ages 45-59 have tried CBD
  • 15% of people 60 and older have tried CBD

CBD statistics by method

According to our SingleCare survey, nearly half of CBD users prefer oils/tinctures, lotions/balms, and gummies. But there’s a growing market for CBD edibles.

  • 18% are interested in capsules/tablets
  • 18% are interested in topical sprays
  • 17% are interested in CBD-infused food, such as chocolate
  • 13% are interested in vaping products
  • 12% are interested in soap
  • 11% are interested in non-alcoholic, CBD-infused drinks
  • 9% are interested in CBD bath bombs and salts
  • 8% are interested in skincare products
  • 8% are interested in patches
  • 1% are interested in other CBD products

When it comes to where CBD users get their products, a 2019 Consumer Reports study says:

  • 40% purchase CBD from a dispensary
  • 34% purchase CBD from a retail store
  • 27% purchase CBD from an online retailer
  • 12% purchase CBD from another source

CBD and overall health

CBD enthusiasts will tell you that it changed their lives, citing all sorts of positive effects. Skeptics will tell you that it’s all hype and has no actual benefits. The truth falls somewhere in between. Our survey found that 32% of people who’ve used CBD did not find it effective. While there hasn’t been extensive research on its effects, it shows promise as an anti-inflammatory , anti-anxiety treatment, as well as a sleep aid . And this can give us some insight into CBD’s appeal as a new addition to holistic wellness routines.

People tout CBD as a miracle treatment for heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s, acne, and much more. Researchers haven’t found substantial evidence that it can effectively treat any of these conditions, but we also know that inflammation and stress can be contributing factors to these conditions. So, there may be some truth to the claims that CBD is beneficial to everyday health. Whether it’s in a morning smoothie, part of a skincare routine, or something else entirely, regular CBD use can potentially be beneficial for some people, although it comes with risks too.

Recreational vs. medical cannabis use

Recreational cannabis use isn’t quite the same as medical use. CBD oil and other products intended for medical use typically come in smaller doses and aren’t full-spectrum CBD (or “whole plant” CBD), which contains THC as well.

“CBD can have varying strengths depending on if it is used in isolation or if used in conjunction with THC for entourage effects,” says Dr. Singal. And some people want these compound effects. However, there are a ton of CBD producers and retailers out there, and not all of them are reliable. Although 47% of the Americans that we surveyed think the government regulates CBD, it does not.

A recent study by Penn Medicine revealed that almost 70% of cannabidiol products sold online are mislabeled. So, products from online retailers that haven’t been properly vetted could contain higher levels of THC or other compounds. Our survey found that 22% of people won’t try CBD because they don’t trust the product or manufacturer.

CBD side effects

Like other medications, CBD can have side effects, too. In one study , one-third of CBD users reported a non-serious side effect, including dry mouth, euphoria, hunger, irritated eyes, and/or fatigue. And according to Michael Hall, MD, the founder of the Hall Longevity Clinic , the spectrum of side effects is even broader.

“CBD contains multiple oil-based terpenes, which can excite the immune system,” says Dr. Hall. “The most common side effects associated with CBD-based products include sleepiness, sedation, and lethargy; elevated liver enzymes; decreased appetite; diarrhea; rash; fatigue, malaise, and weakness; insomnia, and possible interaction with some prescription medications.”

Typically, these effects aren’t dire, but they can be inconvenient and disruptive to a person’s everyday routine.

As far as drug interactions go, there hasn’t been a ton of research and testing, so it’s hard to say. CBD can potentially interfere with tacrolimus , an immunosuppressive medication. Because there are a lot of unknowns, anyone looking to supplement their current medications with CBD should consult a healthcare provider first.

The cost of CBD

America’s CBD market has a near-vertical trajectory. With the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in numerous states, an increasing number of people are looking into the benefits of cannabis, and CBD sales reflect that interest.

  • The United States CBD market value was just over $4 billion in 2019 and may top $25 billion by 2025. (Brightfield Group, 2019)
  • The cannabis- and hemp-derived CBD market may see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49% by 2024. (BDSA, 2019)
  • 44% of regular CBD users spend $20-$80 per month on CBD products. 13% spend more than $160 per month. (Brightfield Group, 2019)

CBD law and restrictions

Here’s the big question: is CBD legal or not? The laws around cannabis are frequently changing and vary from state to state. CBD derived from hemp is legal, as long as it meets certain requirements. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (AKA the 2018 Farm Bill) allowed for the production and marketing of hemp-derived CBD products without federal regulation as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC. But these products should not be labeled or marketed as medications. The FDA has only approved one CBD-based drug (Epidiolex), so the sale of other CBD products as drugs for the treatment of specific medical conditions is not yet legal.

Additionally, the FDA has not approved products that contain cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds for medical use. In fact, at the federal level, all marijuana is illegal (medical or otherwise). It’s still classified as a Schedule I substance (along with heroin and LSD) by the DEA under the Controlled Substances Act . However, 33 states have legalized it for medical purposes, and 11 of those have approved recreational use for adults 21 and older. Technically, federal law supersedes state law, but the federal government has not chosen to prosecute businesses and/or individuals selling or using cannabis in states where it’s been legalized.

CBD questions and answers

How many people know what CBD is?

In a recent Gallup poll, 64% of U.S. adults said that they were familiar with CBD and/or CBD products. In a 2020 SingleCare survey, we found that one-third of Americans have used CBD.

Why do people use CBD?

People claim that CBD can treat everything from acne to cancer. But the most common uses are for pain, inflammation, anxiety, and insomnia.

What age group uses CBD the most?

CBD use is most common in populations ages 18-34, according to a recent SingleCare survey.

How much money is spent on CBD?

The CBD market exceeded $4 billion in 2019, according to a study by the Brightfield Group, and they expect the industry to top $25 billion by 2025.

How many people have died from ingesting CBD oil?

CBD oil consumption has not been directly linked to any deaths. One of the most popular CBD products is vape cartridges, however, and the FDA has linked vaping to certain lung injuries and death .

Your Guide to CBD Topicals for Muscle and Joint Pain

By now, you’ve surely heard some buzz about CBD, the cannabis-derived ingredient that’s been touted as a miracle worker, serving as an anti-inflammatory agent, an anti-anxiety treatment, and everything in between. You can find it in oral tinctures, gummy candies, body oils and creams sold in your mainstream brick-and-mortar stores—no longer just your local health food or vitamin shop.

“Sales data indicate that the CBD market is growing rapidly, and there are plenty of internet forums where those who use these products discuss that they work for them,” says Tory Spindle, Ph.D., a researcher in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. So, if you deal with chronic muscle and joint pain from, say, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis, you may be wondering if slathering some directly on your achy areas can help you get some relief as an alternative to typical pain meds.

We asked top docs to weed out the speculation from the real science, so you can decide if CBD is for you.

First, What Is CBD Exactly?

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a compound (a.k.a. phytocannabinoid) found in the cannabis sativa plant. Unlike its cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another well-known cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant, CBD doesn’t get you high. It’s not a psychoactive. You can get CBD from both the hemp and marijuana plants (side note: these two shrubs are in the same plant family), but when derived from hemp, there’s only trace amounts of THC (the legal limit is .3%). Marijuanna typically may contain 15% THC. CBD from marijuana will obviously contain a bit more THC. CBD has been linked to many benefits including helping with insomnia, anxiety, depression, cancer-related side effects, and pain relief.

How Does CBD Work on Chronic Joint and Muscle Pain?

“We have an endogenous cannabinoid system [a.k.a. endocannabinoid system] within our bodies,” says Bruce Solitar, M.D., rheumatologist and clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City. “That means we have cannabinoid receptors throughout our organs and tissue,” he says.

They’re in your skin, as well as the lungs and brain. (This is the reason why marijuana gives you the munchies or makes you sleepy—the phtyocannabinoid THC interacts with those brain receptors.) “As a rheumatologist, I’ve been interested in this because there are cannabinoid receptors in the joints and nerves.”

We don’t know for sure, but CBD likely blocks some of the effect in those nerves, resulting in less pain, he says. CBD may work similarly to other medications we take for pain, or even topical analgesics, but the plant-based ingredient may be more appealing for someone who prefers to take a natural approach to pain management.

What Does Science Say About CBD and Chronic Pain?

Experts are quick to point out that the research on CBD for chronic pain, especially topical CBD, is pretty limited. A review in the journal Antioxidants has confirmed that CBD has mechanisms to reduce inflammation under
experimental conditions, but can it help when applied topically? The research is slim. The closest we’ve come: One animal study in the European Journal of Pain showed that when CBD gel was applied transdermally to the skin of rats with arthritis, it cut down on knee pain, swelling, and inflammation.

It’s important to note that a transdermal applicationisspecifically designed to deliver medicine into the bloodstream versus an ointment or cream which isintended to have local effects on the skin. Another small study on humans showed that CBD oil applied topically made a significant improvement in the pain, itch, and cold sensations in those with peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage that causes pain and numbness in their lower extremities). Not so promising: A phase 2 trial of a prescription CBD gel that’s applied with a transdermal patch didn’t significantly reduce pain in people with knee osteoarthritis compared to the placebo.

So, until more large-scale, peer-reviewed studies are done, physicians are skeptical of topical CBD. “Especially with commercial products, there’s just not enough clinical evidence to back up any claims for joint and muscle pain,” says Dr. Spindle. “That’s not to say they’re not effective, but there are no clinical studies to prove they are,” he says.

The other issue with topical CBD is its lack of regulation. The only FDA-approved CBD product is a pharmaceutical drug made for epilepsy patients. That means all the creams, oils, and balms you see on shelves aren’t FDA-approved.

Right now, there are no clear guidelines about how much CBD should be in a product, how much to apply, when to apply, etc. “These products are very inaccurately labeled a lot of times,” says Dr. Spindle. “People often spend a good amount of money on them, and you may not even know the amount of CBD in the product,” he says. One study in JAMA showed that of 31 CBD-containing products, only 1/3 of them actually contained the amount of CBD listed on the label.

So, if You’re Going to Try It, What Should You Look for?

“The formulation of the product, amount applied, application site, and other factors may very well influence absorption and effects, but without any real data, it’s hard to speculate,” says Dr. Spindle. In the meantime, there are some helpful tips you can use:

You want to see the word cannabidiol (or CBD) on the ingredient list and a standardized extraction ratio. You may see words like hemp, hemp seed oil, or hemp butter, but those terms don’t necessarily mean your product contains pure CBD. Ideally, you want to get your CBD products from a reputable source with a third-party lab certificate to verify that it actually contains what it says it does (the label will likely say it has a certificate of authenticity or COA, typically available on the site’s website, or include a QR code to view).

As for how much CBD your product should contain? Experts don’t know yet. That rat study mentioned above included a pretty hefty dosage (up to 62 mg for a little rat), likely more than you’ll find in a cream at your local drugstore. A study performed in children with a geneticdisorder used transdermal gel with doses ranging from50mg-250mg.

Are There Any Risks?

Because formulations will vary greatly, finding a CBD topical that helps with your achy joints and muscles may take some trial and error. Still, Dr. Solitar says, “in the scheme of things, topical CBD is probably low risk, fairly high potential for reward.” But be wary of allergic reactions, especially if you have sensitive skin, and you don’t want to apply topical treatments to open wounds or if you have a skin condition such as psoriasis, he adds.

Experts say topical creams and ointments should pose far less risk than oral CBD products, but, still, just run it by your physician before using.