Is CBD Safe To Use For Knee Pain? | Side Effects And 5 Factors That Cause Them

Written By on October 27, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By Kris Ceniza (PT)

Written by on October 27, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By: Kris Ceniza (PT)

Cannabidiol is gaining popularity for its benefits on joint problems, inflammation, and overall well-being. But, is CBD safe to use for knee pain relief?

Well, the long-term effects haven’t been studied, as it’s a relatively new trend. But, current studies show CBD is a safe substance that doesn’t cause serious side effects – as long as you know how to take it. (1)

We’ll discuss that and more below, so you know how to take CBD safely for your knee arthritis pain. These are the topics covered, tap on them to navigate through the content:

General side effects of taking CBD for knee joint pain

Taking CBD can be helpful for knee pain in different ways. But, there are some general side effects associated with it, the most common being (2):

  • Increased or decreased appetite.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Somnolence, fatigue, lethargy.
  • Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.
  • Irritability.
  • Dizziness, nausea.
  • Headache.
  • Liver damage – this may happen in patients taking CBD along with other prescribed medications. 

5 Factors that increase your risk of side effects from CBD

These factors can increase your risk of side effects from taking CBD. Take them into consideration before using this supplement:

1) The quantity of CBD

Side effects often depend on the dose. For example, studies show that they can be present if a person takes between 10 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg of CBD in one day. (3)

Those are incredibly high doses, though. To put it into perspective, it would mean that a 155-pound person should take 700 to 1400 mg of CBD per day. That’s like drinking a bottle of CBD oil in one shot.

Daily doses of CBD are between 5mg-50mg per day. 

And even so, you shouldn’t start with 50mg per day right away. Most people start with 5-10 mg and work their way up to minimize the little side effects that may be present.

So, as long as you stick to the recommended dose, you’ll be on the safe side.

2) How long have you been taking CBD

There’s not much information regarding the long-term effects of CBD use. But from what’s available, there may be a relationship between certain side effects and how long you have been taking CBD. (2, 3)

Knee Force Knee Sleeve

If you just started using it, the side effects you may feel include somnolence, insomnia, and other sleep disturbances. These can also happen if you take CBD sporadically. (3)

But if you’ve been taking it consistently for more than a month, the side effects could also include infection, liver problems, and weight changes. (3)

Yet, this doesn’t mean that just taking CBD for one month will cause these problems. Other crucial factors can determine the side effects – like the form you’re consuming. 

3) The form of CBD you’re using

someone dropping CBD oil under their tongue

There are three main ways to consume CBD, each one with its own safety profile: 

Topical CBD

Most topical forms of CBD come as creams or ointments. These are often effective to manage pain and inflammation in a specific body part. 

Here, side effects tend to be localized and limited to skin irritation and rash. This is because CBD is directly absorbed through the skin and doesn’t have to go through the digestive tract. (4)

Now, topical products often have other ingredients like menthol, essential oils, etc. This can make it difficult to know if the side effect is from the CBD or another compound.

With that said, topical forms have fewer side effects. This makes them the safest form of CBD out there. We recommend it for those who want to use it as a natural relief for pain, but can’t or shouldn’t take it orally. (4)

Keep reading: The CBD cream we use for knee pain and our full review of it.

Oral CBD

You can consume CBD orally through capsules, gummies, oil, tinctures, and several other ways.

Here, CBD is slowly absorbed through the digestive tract. That makes oral administration best for whole-body effects, like helping with sleep, anxiety, and chronic pain. 

However, it’s hard to measure the oral dosage accurately.

This is true even if you’re taking capsules or gummies, as the amount of CBD per pill/gummy may be mislabeled. This issue largely depends on the manufacturer, another factor that we’ll discuss below. (3)

Also, what you eat can change the absorption rate of CBD.

For example, taking CBD on an empty stomach may increase its concentration in the blood. But at the cost of more gastrointestinal side effects. (3)

A way to bypass this is by taking it with a high-fat meal, as this makes it easier for your body to absorb CBD. The downside is that you may have to take a smaller dosage to prevent side effects like somnolence. (5)

In summary, oral CBD is a practical way to reap the benefits of this compound. But it needs some trial and error to find what works best for you.

Related: How long does it take for CBD oil to ease knee pain?

Inhaled CBD

Man holding vape, vaping, smoking

You could also inhale CBD with a vape. This form provides the quickest effects, but we don’t recommend it.

See, the vape machine heats the mixture at approximately 180-200°C. These temperatures can transform CBD into other chemical substances, including a form of THC, thus causing unwanted psychoactive effects. (3, 6)

The heating process can also generate other chemical compounds that harm your lungs. (7)

Vaping also puts you at risk of suffering from EVALI. 

This acronym stands for E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury, and it’s a serious medical condition. (8)

Knee Force Knee Sleeve

Now, the products associated with most cases of EVALI are THC-derived. These often have vitamin E acetate added, which has been strongly associated with this disease according to the CDC

So, please avoid vaping CBD or THC-derived products. Choose other forms instead.

4) If you’re taking prescription medications

More severe side effects can happen if you are taking certain medications along with CBD. These include (2, 3):

  • Seizures.
  • Liver problems.
  • Movement problems.
  • Estatus epilepticus.
  • Infections.
Also, the following drugs can increase your risk of side effects from CBD. 

So, please talk to your doctor before using it if you’re taking any of these medications (3, 9):

  • NSAIDs and corticosteroids.
  • Opioids.
  • Drugs for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Drugs for neuropathic pain.
  • Immune system drugs. 
  • Antidepressants.
  • Antihypertensives.
  • Drugs for HIV or hepatitis. 
  • Antihistamines.

Keep in mind that this isn’t an extensive list. So, always consult with your physician before using CBD products, more so if you’re taking medications or are suffering from a health condition

5) The brand of CBD you’re buying

Currently, hemp-derived CBD products do not have FDA approval. Also, this industry isn’t as regulated as it should be. 

This means it’s hard to know if a CBD product is safe or not just by looking at the label. But, there are ways you can ensure your safety as a customer. 

To ensure your safety, buy from manufacturers that:

  • Follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). These are guidelines with minimum requirements to ensure the product is safe to consume.
  • Test each batch in a 3rd party laboratory. They measure the levels of CBD, THC, heavy metals, and other substances that may be harmful.
  • Have an easy-to-find Certificate of Analysis (COA). This is the summary of the 3rd-party lab results. It shows the exact amounts of every ingredient, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

How to avoid side effects from CBD?

To minimize your risk of suffering side effects from CBD:

  • Start with low doses and slowly build up.
  • Once you get noticeable pain relief from CBD, don’t change the dosage.
  • Discontinue its use if any mild side effects get worse over time.
  • Don’t use vaping products.
  • Focus on topical and oral forms of CBD, preferably oils and capsules.
  • Don’t take prescribed medications for health conditions with it, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  • Only buy approved nonprescription CBD products that have GMP and show a Certificate Of Analysis for every batch.


Is CBD legal?

Yes, CBD is legal if it’s derived from the hemp plant.

Is CBD good for knee pain?

Yes, CBD can be good for knee pain management. 

How do you use CBD cream for knee pain?

To use CBD cream for knee pain, just take some ointment and rub it on the joint. Depending on the ingredients, it could take a few minutes up to an hour to provide relief.

Can CBD oil reduce knee swelling?

CBD oil may not reduce knee swelling, as it isn’t effective at draining the excess fluid on the joint. But, it can help with the pain.

Learn more: CBD oil for knee pain – the complete guide.

Conclusion: How to take CBD for knee joint pain safely?

CBD has a bad rep due to being a close relative of the cannabis plant. But it can be incredibly helpful to relieve pain in those with chronic joint problems, inflammatory arthritis symptoms, and even anxiety.

It’s also safe for most people. But to minimize the side effects, make sure you:

  • Take an appropriate quantity.
  • Keep in mind that side effects may vary depending on how long you’ve been using it.
  • Stick to oral and topical products, and avoid vaping CBD.
  • Try not to combine it with other medications like pain relievers.
  • Buy from reputable brands.


  1. Larsen, Christian, and Jorida Shahinas. “Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials.” Journal of clinical medicine research vol. 12,3 (2020): 129-141. doi:10.14740/jocmr4090
  2. Huestis, Marilyn A et al. “Cannabidiol Adverse Effects and Toxicity.” Current neuropharmacology vol. 17,10 (2019): 974-989. doi:10.2174/1570159X17666190603171901
  3. Brown, Joshua D, and Almut G Winterstein. “Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug-Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use.” Journal of clinical medicine vol. 8,7 989. 8 Jul. 2019, doi:10.3390/jcm8070989
  4. Hammell, D C et al. “Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis.” European journal of pain (London, England) vol. 20,6 (2016): 936-48. doi:10.1002/ejp.818
  5. Wiley JL, Gourdet CK, Thomas BF. Cannabidiol: Science, Marketing, and Legal Perspectives [Internet]. Research Triangle Park (NC): RTI Press; 2020 Apr. Available from: doi: 10.3768/rtipress.2020.op.0065.2004
  6. Czégény, Zsuzsanna et al. “CBD, a precursor of THC in e-cigarettes.” Scientific reports vol. 11,1 8951. 26 Apr. 2021, doi:10.1038/s41598-021-88389-z
  7. Marques, Patrice et al. “An updated overview of e-cigarette impact on human health.” Respiratory research vol. 22,1 151. 18 May. 2021, doi:10.1186/s12931-021-01737-5
  8. “E-cigarette, or Vaping Product, Use Associated Lung Injury (EVALI).” Yale Medicine, Fact Sheets. Retrieved on September 2022, from:
  9. Rogers, Andrew H et al. “Opioid and Cannabis Co-Use among Adults With Chronic Pain: Relations to Substance Misuse, Mental Health, and Pain Experience.” Journal of addiction medicine vol. 13,4 (2019): 287-294. doi:10.1097/ADM.0000000000000493
Mitch Torres (PT)
Mitch is a physical therapist, personal trainer, and nutrition coach. Fascinated with the knee joint, Mitch poured that passion into writing about knee pain and how to overcome it with movement. His goal is to teach you how to apply this knowledge into your daily life, so you can keep knee pain away for good.