Should you try CBD for pain and anxiety? Here's everything you need to know

Korin Miller
Writer
How to find the best CBD products for you (photo: Getty)

CBD oil is everywhere right now, including on celebrities’ feet on the red carpet, and there’s a good reason for it. The non-intoxicating marijuana extract is being credited with benefitting a wide range of problems, from pain and depression to anxiety and insomnia.

CBD (which is short for cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. So, even though it’s derived from marijuana, “it won’t make you high,” Jamie Alan, PhD, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. (The cannabis chemical that will make you high is THC, and that’s largely removed from CBD products, Alan says.)

As for all those claims about what CBD can do? There is some research that backs up these claims, but it’s not much, Seth Ammerman, MD, a clinical professor at Stanford University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “CBD does seem to have potential therapeutic benefits, but there’s very little research out there,” he says. “We need a lot more.”

What we do know: The U.S. National Library of Medicine says that there’s “insufficient evidence” to back up a lot of CBD claims, although there are some promising findings when it comes to CBD’s impact on anxiety and insomnia. “A lot of the claims are anecdotal at this point,” Alan says.

CBD oil is legal in some states, but that tends to contradict federal law. That’s part of the reason why you might see a lot of products that claim to contain CBD oil that actually contain hemp oil (an extract of hemp seed), which is legal everywhere. Those generally don’t contain a lot of CBD though, Ammerman says. (For the record, anything sold on Amazon probably isn’t “real” CBD oil, given that cannabidiol violates their seller terms.)

This stuff also isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so it’s hard to know if you’re getting the real thing. “It’s kind of like the Wild West out there at this point,” Ammerman says. That’s why Alan recommends reading reviews and buying from reputable companies.

For the record, CBD oil generally seems to be safe for use (although the U.S. National Library of Medicine cautions against using it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, since it hasn’t been tested in those situations). “If it’s a pure product, there’s unlikely to be any harm in using it,” Ammerman says.

Interested in trying out CBD oil for yourself? We’ve rounded up our current favorites:

The editors at Yahoo Lifestyle are committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. At times, we may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

Lord Jones Body Lotion

Lord Jones Body Lotion (Lord Jones)

This body lotion got plenty of attention after The Hollywood Reporter said celebrity stylists have been stocking their kits with it to help ward off their clients’ high heel pain on the red carpet. The lotion bills itself as a “restorative, extra-strength CBD-infused moisturizing lotion” and people rave in the reviews about its ability to relieve all kinds of pain.

Shop it: Lord Jones Body Lotion, $60, sephora.com

Cannuka CBD Healing Skin Balm

Cannuka CBD Healing Skin Balm (Cannuka)

In solid form at first touch, Cannuka’s balm transforms into a velvety lotion. It’s made to help heal dry, damaged skin and clear up blemishes. To use, warm between hands and massage it wherever you  need it most.

Shop it: Cannuka CBD Healing Skin Balm, $58, neimanmarcus.com

MedTerra CBD Gel Capsules

MedTerra CBD Gel Capsules (MedTerra)

These capsules contain either 25 or 50 milligrams of CBD per capsule and people rave in the comments about how great they are for pain relief. “I have chronic low back pain and stiffness. I haven’t had any back pain since I started taking 25 mg once a day about 3 weeks ago,” one person wrote. “I stopped taking handfuls of Aleve thanks to your product,” another said.

Shop it: MedTerra CBD Gel Capsules, $60 for 30, medterracbd.com

Code of Harmony Crave Salvation Oil Serum

Code of Harmony Crave Salvation Oil Serum (Code of Harmony)

Vegan and preservative-free, Code of Harmony’s serum is formulated to soothe and soften your skin, while reducing wrinkle depth.

Shop it: Code of Harmony Crave Salvation Oil Serum, $46, neimanmarcus.com

South Seas Skincare Pineapple Express Joint Balm

South Seas Skincare Pineapple Express Joint Balm (South Seas)

This balm contains 150 milligrams of CBD. To use it, simply rub it into achy joints and muscles for pain relief. It’s enriched with beeswax and coconut oil to help condition your skin.

Shop it: South Seas Skincare Pineapple Express Joint Balm, $39, dermstore.com

Cannuka Hydrating Lip Balm

Cannuka Hydrating Lip Balm (Cannuka)

Got dry, cracked lips? This balm promises to moisturize your pout while the CBD-infused formula battles inflammation and reduces swelling.

Shop it: Cannuka Hydrating Lip Balm, $9, dermstore.com

Radical Skincare Rejuvafirm CBD Facial Oil

Radical Skincare Rejuvafirm CBD Facial Oil (DermStore)

This potent CBD facial oil targets signs of aging, free-radical damage, sun damage and redness. In addition to CBD, it contains sea buckthorn and grape seed oils, rich in skin-nourishing essential fatty acids.

Shop it: Radical Skincare Rejuvafirm CBD Facial Oil, $145, dermstore.com

Therapeutic CBD Chocolate

Therapeutic CBD Chocolate (Made By Hemp)

Why take your CBD in a capsule when you can have it in a delicious chocolate bar? Each bar contains between 60 and 120 milligrams of CBD, and they come in yummy flavors like Raspberries & Cinnamon and Peanut Butter & Honey.

Shop it: Therapeutic CBD Chocolate, $25-$35, madebyhemp.com

Abinoid Botanicals CBD Salve

Abinoid Botanicals CBD Salve (Made By Hemp)

Made to help relieve sore muscles and joints, Abinoid’s all-natural salve is so easy to use: Just rub it into the affected areas and let it go to work. The combination of CBD, violet leaf and basil make this a super-effective pain reliever.

Shop it: Abinoid Botanicals CBD Salve, $38, madebyhemp.com

Mary’s Nutritionals CBD Muscle Freeze

Mary’s Nutritionals CBD Muscle Freeze (Made By Hemp)

Think of this as an all-natural version of Icy Hot. This CBD-infused roll-on provides a quick, cooling effect to soothe inflamed muscles. Just rub it into the affected areas for mess-free, fast pain relief that can last up to 4 hours.

Shop it: Mary’s Nutritionals CBD Muscle Freeze, $35, madebyhemp.com 

Editors’ Note: There are contradictory laws at the federal and state levels about CBD’s legality. Additionally, many CBD products aren’t approved or tested by the Food and Drug Administration. If you’re worried, check the rules in your area to make sure everything’s OK before purchasing or proceeding.

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