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CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the hemp and marijuana plants. While the research is still in its early stages, there’s promising evidence that CBD oil can help relieve pain and inflammation from conditions such as arthritis when it’s applied to the skin. Many people who have tried CBD oil massage also swear by it as a remedy for tense or sore muscles. If you’re interested in CBD oil massage, purchase a balm, lotion, or cream from a reputable manufacturer and try it on yourself, or visit a massage therapist for a professional CBD massage. Either way, check with your doctor first to make sure CBD is safe for you.
Choosing the Right Product
1Choose products that are third-party verified.
Since CBD products are still poorly regulated in many areas, it’s important to buy from reputable companies that work with third party testing labs so you know you’re getting what you pay for. Look for products that come with a certificate of analysis (COA) containing information about how the product was tested.
- The COA should include information about where the testing was performed and what was in the test results (for example, how much CBD is in the product and whether it contains any impurities or contaminants).
- For information about accredited labs that work with CBD products in the U.S., visit the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) National Accreditation Board’s search database and look for “cannabidiol” or “CBD”: http://search.anab.org/.
Warning: Don’t buy CBD products from a retailer or dispensary if they can’t or won’t share information about how their products are tested.
2Avoid products that make unverified claims.
It’s against FDA regulations for a company to claim that their CBD product can treat or cure any diseases or health conditions. If the manufacturer’s claims about their product seem too good to be true, they probably are. This is a red flag that these products may not be safe or reliable.
- For example, be cautious of claims that CBD oil products can treat, cure, or prevent conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, or arthritis.
3Check the label for ingredients that may cause irritation or allergies.
CBD by itself is thought to be fairly safe when applied topically.
However, some topical CBD products may contain other ingredients that can cause irritation, allergic reactions, or other health issues. Check the ingredient label closely to make sure it doesn’t list any ingredients you want to avoid.
- For example, if you have sensitive skin, watch out for products that contain perfumes or dyes.
- Since topical CBD is usually dissolved in a carrier oil, check that the carrier isn’t derived from a plant that you are allergic to. For instance, avoid using CBD in an almond oil carrier if you’re allergic to almonds or almond oil.
- In addition to allergens and irritants, you may also want to avoid other potentially harmful ingredients, like parabens.
4Select a product with more concentrated CBD for stronger relief.
CBD topicals come in a variety of strengths, which are usually measured in milligrams (mg). For example, a 600 mg product will be significantly stronger than a 150 mg product. If you need more powerful relief or want to use a smaller amount of the product with each massage, go for a higher concentration of CBD.
- Keep in mind that more concentrated products will be more expensive than those with smaller quantities of CBD in them.
5Get full-spectrum CBD oil for more powerful results.
Topical CBD treatments can also contain other cannabinoids, such as THC.
Since both CBD and THC have pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, you may find a combination of the 2 even more helpful than CBD alone.
If they are legal in your area, look for products advertised as “full spectrum,” which contain all the cannabinoids found in the hemp or marijuana plant, rather than just CBD.
- THC is the compound in marijuana plants that causes you to feel high if you smoke or ingest marijuana. There’s also a very small amount of THC in hemp.
- You’re unlikely to experience a high from using a product containing THC on your skin. You’d have to use a very concentrated oil over a very large portion of your body to feel any significant psychoactive effects.
Self-Massaging with CBD Oil
1Mix CBD oil with a carrier oil to make your own massage oil.
If you don’t want to buy a commercially made CBD topical, you can make your own by mixing a powdered CBD isolate or a CBD extract or tincture with a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil. You can also combine some of the tincture or isolate with your favorite body lotion.
- For example, you could mix ½ g of a 99% CBD isolate with 2 cups (470 mL) of the carrier oil of your choice to make a 500 mg CBD massage oil. If you like, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or chamomile.
- You can also mix an extract (which is CBD oil already mixed with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil) with 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 mL) each of a combination of your favorite oils, such as jojoba, sweet almond, and rosehip.
- Do a search for “CBD massage oil recipe” to find numerous recipes for balms, lotions, and salves that you can make yourself using CBD isolate or tincture.
2Rub the CBD ointment or balm directly on sore or tense areas.
Topical CBD treatments work best when you apply them directly to the area where you want to feel relief.
Smooth the product into your skin directly over any tense, sore, or aching muscles or joints.
- For example, you might massage the product into your calves and thighs if they’re sore after a workout.
3Warm up your muscles with larger strokes to get started.
Use the heels of your hands or a massage tool to make long, gliding strokes along the length of the muscle or joint you would like to massage. This will help warm up your muscles and improve circulation to the area, which will make a more targeted massage more effective.
- These gliding strokes will help work the CBD oil into your skin. Additionally, the oil will provide lubrication and make it easier for you to pass your hands or the tool over your skin.
4Target knots and painful areas with smaller strokes.
Once you’ve warmed up your muscles, you can concentrate on specific areas of pain or discomfort. Use your fingers or massage tool to press or rub on pressure points or do deeper, firmer strokes along the length of a sore muscle.
- Don’t worry too much about doing specific movements or targeting particular points on your body. Do whatever feels best, and stop if whatever you are doing is making your pain or discomfort worse.
5Use a muscle roller or other massage tool for a deeper massage.
To work out deep knots and tension in your muscles while also getting the beneficial effects of a CBD oil massage, use a tool like a rolling pin, tennis ball, or muscle roller.
- You can also use massaging tools that relieve pain and tension using heat, vibration, or pressure. If you’re using a tool with electronic components, check the manual to make sure it’s safe to use with oils, creams, or lotions.
6Apply the product as often as recommended on the label.
How often you should use your CBD massage product will depend on the product and your personal needs. The label on the product should give you some guidelines about how frequently you can use it for the best results.
- For example, the label may recommend applying the product every 4-6 hours.
- You can also ask a doctor, physical therapist, or massage therapist how often to massage yourself with a CBD product.
7Stop using the product if you experience side effects.
It’s very rare for CBD to cause side effects or allergic reactions when applied to the skin. However, it’s possible you could have a reaction to another ingredient in the product you’re using.
Stop using the product if you experience symptoms such as a rash, itching, pain, or redness.
- See your doctor if you have a severe rash or if the symptoms don’t clear up on their own in a few days after you stop using the product.
- Get emergency medical care if you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, fainting, nausea and vomiting, or swelling in your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Getting Professional Help
1Talk to your doctor before using CBD oil.
Although topical use of CBD oil is considered very safe, it’s still a good idea to check with your doctor first. Let them know if you are using any other medications or topical treatments, since it’s possible they might interact with the CBD oil.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, or have any other health concerns.
- If you have any skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema, ask your doctor if you can use CBD oil safely on the affected skin.
2Call your doctor if you have persistent muscle or joint pain.
If you have muscle or joint pain that’s severe or doesn’t go away with home treatment or professional massage, talk to your doctor. There may be an underlying issue that needs to be treated.
- See your doctor about muscle pain accompanied by redness, swelling, a fever, or a rash. You should also make an appointment if you think the pain is being caused by a medication you’re taking.
- If you have persistent swelling, pain, and stiffness in your joints, see your doctor. These are common symptoms of arthritis.
3Visit a massage therapist who works with CBD for a professional massage.
Some massage therapists incorporate CBD products into their practice.
If you’re interested in trying a professional CBD massage, do a search using terms like “CBD massage near me.”
- If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask your massage therapist ahead of time. For example, you could ask, “Do your products contain other cannabinoids, like THC?”
Tip: Some physical therapists have also started using CBD oils and other cannabis products to help their patients. If you need physical therapy and are interested in working with a therapist who incorporates CBD into their practice, ask your doctor to recommend someone.
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This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Together, they cited information from 20 references.
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