Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — CBD for Joint Pain

Dear Dr. Walt,

I saw your column on topical CBD for joint pain. What about oral or sublingual CBD? I have friends who are using it for anxiety and pain, and a child in our church no longer has seizures on it. What do you think?

Considering Marijuana in Michigan

Dear Mary Jane,

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound derived from cannabis (a hemp plant known as marijuana). However, unlike other compounds (cannaboids) found in cannabis, such as THC, CBD is not believed to be psychoactive—in other words it does not affect perception, or behavior and does not make one “high.”

A prescription-only CBD oil (Epidiolex) was recently approved by the FDA for use in children with particular forms of difficult-to-control epilepsy. And a prescription-only nasal spray product (Sativex) containing both CBD and some THC has been shown to be effective for improving pain, muscle tightness, and urination frequency in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). In fact, this product is used in over 25 countries outside of the U.S.

According to, “Preliminary evidence suggests CBD may modestly reduce anxiety, improve sleep in folks with insomnia, reduce some forms of pain, and help with certain movement disorders. Most importantly, it can be taken in edible forms (foods, drinks) or sublingual forms (sprays, drops) and does not have to be inhaled”

However, a 2017 study published in JAMA found that nearly 70 percent of all CBD products sold online are either over or under labeled, causing potentially serious harm to its consumers. And, CBD in higher doses can cause adverse effects and can interact with other drugs.

If you live in a state that has legalized medical marijuana, you should be able to find safe, albeit, expensive CBD products. Otherwise, you may want to use’s evaluations of CBD to see the products they found that contained what the label said and did not have contaminants such as lead, cadmium, or arsenic.

Lastly, if you’re going to try CBD oil, be sure to discuss it with your personal physician or pharmacist. Start low and go slowly—in other words, start with a very low dose and then very slowly increase how much you take.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.
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