Study Reveals Topical CBD Safe for Lower Extremity Pain

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A recent study examined topical CBD used by athletes for chronic lower extremity pain and physical performance showing it was safe to use and well tolerated.

The Journal of Cannabis Research recently published a study which examined the use of topical cannabidiol (CBD) cream. By athletes for elite physical performance and chronic lower extremity pain. This scientific inquiry revealed that CBD topical cream was safe and well tolerated.

Various research studies have been performed using CBD and highlight its medicinal benefit for pain relief. Not many though, focus on CBD’s efficacy and tolerability in special populations. This study may be one of the first to showcase how former elite athletes treat their chronic pain with topical CBD cream (1).


Participants for this project included 20 former professional athletes who previously had competed in track and field, basketball, and American football. These athletes had long-term careers ranging from 4-10 years and suffered an acute injury in the lower extremities that caused significant chronic pain for at least 3 months. Participants were given 10 mg of topical CBD twice a day for chronic pain stemming from their injuries. From there, they self-reported data detailing assessments of pain-related disability, activities of daily living, and tolerability over a 6-week period.

Data results showed that 50% of participants reported minor adverse side effects which did not require medical attention. A labroots article mentioned that “the most commonly reported effects included skin dryness (43%) and skin rash (21%),” (1). The most interesting finding from the study was that a significant improvement in self-reported pain levels and pain-related disability was reported among the participants. The reported information included social activities, the pain-related disability’s impact on family and home responsibilities, occupational activities, life support activities, self-care, recreational activities, and sexual function, with participants mentioning improvements in these functions.

Results from this study show how important it is for further research regarding topical CBD use by elite athletes (1). For those interested in a CBD topical cream, medical professionals recommend that consumers should be reviewing its cannabinoid profile, potency, and other active ingredients. Lastly, it is also a good idea to be discussing CBD topical cream with a health care provider to best be able to assess if a CBD topical is the best option for a specific muscle recovery.