CBD Oil For Carpal Tunnel


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CBD reduces inflammation. So using CBD for carpal tunnel pain has a valid scientific basis. But while it’s effective in some it may not work in others. Inflammation and pain, the two main symptoms of carpal tunnel, can be alleviated with CBD thanks to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Many health experts consider it as a viable option for the management of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome causes chronic pain that might interfere with your daily life, so you likely want relief. CBD oil is a chemical extracted from hemp and marijuana plants that may relieve pain and inflammation without getting you…

Does CBD for Carpal Tunnel Work?

One of the most frequent questions I get is, “Does CBD for carpal tunnel really work?” The quick answer to the question is “sometimes”. Not much research has tested CBD’s effectiveness in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. However, anecdotal reports by thousands of patients show that at times it works amazing well.

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What is CBD?

CBD or “ cannabidiol ” is an extract from the marijuana plant, cannabis sativa. There are several ways manufacturers can extract the oil from cannabis. The methods were designed to obtain pure oil that does not degrade in the extraction process.

Today, people with musculoskeletal pain and chronic arthritis are by far the most prevalent consumers of therapeutic cannabis products, including CBD oil. And cannabis products are gaining popularity every year for serious conditions ranging from pain to chronic depression. So it’s natural for patients to inquire about CBD for carpal tunnel pain.

Does CBD make you “high”?

CBD by itself does not have psychoactive properties. Even though it comes from the marijuana plant, the compounds that give you the “high” (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC ) are not present in a pure CBD extract.

Be aware that some manufacturers take shortcuts in the extraction process. The result is that it leaves some THC in the final CBD product. Makers of CBD oil are infamous for this sloppy process. However, even then, most of the THC is well below the levels that give you the “high”. Note that an impure CBD product usually costs much less than a pure extract product.

Effects of CBD on the body

Aside from the enormous volume of anecdotal reports, the few clinical trials conducted demonstrate that CBD has some powerful effects on the human body. The main effects are:

  1. Anti-inflamatory (reduces swelling and inflammation)
  2. Anti-spasmodic (suppresses muscle spasms)
  3. Anti-convulsive (suppresses seizures)

Overall, we know CBD also protects against bone diseases and maintains brain health. Other physiological properties of CBD are less well-established.

CBD’s most widely known function is in pain management. This is because of CBD’s well-known anti-inflammatory effects.

Inflammation is the underlying cause of pain. Therefore, CBD’s role in pain reduction is no real surprise. And this is why CBD for carpal tunnel pain is such a hot topic.

What is pain, anyway?

To understand why CBD for carpal tunnel pain can be effective, you must understand what causes pain in general. Inflammation and pain are the body’s response to tissue injury and infection. The body’s inflammatory response happens in two phases; acute and chronic.

The acute phase of inflammation is the beginning of the response. It starts with local dilation of blood vessels and greater capillary permeability. Also, fluid and blood proteins fill the affected area. Simultaneously, specialized cells (neutrophils) invade the site. Also, inflammatory chemicals (histamine, cytokines and lymphokines) are released into the damaged tissue. Essentially, it sets up the body for long term or “chronic inflammation”.

The chronic phase of inflammation is what we see as a “disease state”. Such disease states include, for example, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. While acute inflammation and pain can be severe, it’s the chronic phase that endures and greatly impacts a person’s life.

The chronic phase is also where CBD has its main influence. CBD acts on receptors responsible for pain due to inflammation. This is the key to its reported effects on relieving pain from various chronic conditions. And it’s the reason CBD for carpal tunnel pain works.

How CBD reduces inflammation

An amazing property of CBD is that it can lock onto receptors located on the body’s cell walls. These are the cannabinoid receptors, which make up a large portion of the body’s endocannabinoid system.

The receptors occur naturally on most cells. And the receptors regulate different types of physiological processes. One of the main processes involves the way the body deals with pain sensations.

When a body has a lot of cannabinoid receptors, it becomes more sensitive to the natural endocannabinoids produced by that body. The interesting thing about these receptors is they’re located on just about every cell in everyone’s body. That’s why CBD has such varied uses in conditions from arthritis to depression.

Scientists describe CBD’s overall action as promoting homeostasis which means “maintaining balance”. In other words, wherever in the body there’s inflammation, CBC can bind to the local receptors, reduce inflammation, and restore balance.

You might think of CBD as one of the “regulators” of body function, especially when it comes to pain.

How CBD for carpal tunnel syndrome works

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful type of neuropathy. In this case, a neuropathy means there’s a problem with the median nerve which is located deep inside your wrist joint.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can start as you repetitively stress your fingers and hand. That’s why certain jobs like assembly line workers, hairdressers , graphic artists , hand tool users and musicians are famous for having severe carpal tunnel symptoms.

As you stress your hand’s tendons more and more, they begin to inflame and swell. When they do, they push against the median nerve inside the wrist joint. Eventually, the swollen tendons swell so much they crush the median nerve. This is what produces all of the hand or finger pain from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Most people with carpal tunnel also feel numbness or tingling in their fingers and hand. But these symptoms happen for the same reason as pain.

In essence, carpal tunnel pain emanates from a crushed median nerve deep inside the wrist joint. Like the rest of the body, this area has numerous pain receptors. In fact, joints in general have a greater amount of pain receptors than most other body parts.

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A large proportion of these receptors are cannabinoid receptors, which mediate pain. CBD can “turned off” these receptors.

Therefore, CBD for carpal tunnel is a good remedy. It acts on cannabinoid receptors to reduce inflammation and ultimately, pain.

But it’s not so black and white. If CBD worked 100% of the time as a pain reducer, it would be the ONLY pain relieving compound anybody would ever need! The sad fact is that CBD for carpal tunnel pain does not work for everyone.

Everyone’s CBD experience is different 

Since inflammation plays a major role in so many diseases, the potential of CBD is huge. Today, people use CBD oil as an oral or topical application to combat the pain from many kinds of diseases.

But everyone’s experience with CBD is different. That’s because there are at least four factors (or variables) to consider with each person’s CBD application and need. These are:

  • What kind of pain (or disease) is targeted?
  • How good is the CBD absorption rate through the skin and underlying tissues when topically applied?
  • How deep must the CBD penetrate to its target when topically applied?
  • What’s a person’s individual response or sensitivity to CBD?

CBD’s greatest effects seem to be for pain that’s near the surface of the skin. That’s because some topical compounds can easily penetrate and reach pain receptors from above.

But for pain receptors deeper inside the body, like inside the wrist joint, CBD may not get to the receptors as easily. This may be one reason why CBD seems to work so well in some people with more superficial problems, like arthritis. But it may not work so well when topically applied for carpal tunnel syndrome.

In addition, one person’s chemical absorption rate is different than another’s. So there’s no wonder why reports range so widely about the effectiveness of CBD for carpal tunnel syndrome. Whether taken orally or applied topically, results vary from ”not effective” to “amazingly effective”.

Bottom line: Try CBD topically or orally and see if your body responds well.

CBD products

CBD can be delivered to the body in many different forms such as edibles, lotions, tinctures, creams, and even skin patches. These methods get the highest concentration of CBD to the affected area. This is why proponents usually see good relief from sore muscles with topical CBD application.

In contrast, delivering CBD to the body orally or by inhalation (like vaping ) gets it into the blood faster. But it also has a shorter time to be effective. Furthermore, when taken orally or vaped it is diluted many hundreds of times before it reaches the receptors in the affected area. This might be the key problem with using vaped or oral CBD for carpal tunnel syndrome.

CBD has some mild side effects. They usually occur with higher does and taking it for longer periods of dosing time (usually for several weeks). The side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Light headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness

However, with its relative good safety profile, most doctors advocate trying CBD to see if it relieves a particular condition. This includes taking oral or topical CBD for carpal tunnel syndrome. You may be one of the lucky ones who see “amazingly effective” results.


Many people use oral or topical CBD for carpal tunnel syndrome to relieve pain. But does it really work? Science tells us that it can have an amazing effect in some people but not in others.

CBD Oil for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Can It Help Relieve Symptoms?

Some people are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome than others due to the repetitive nature of their work. Whether you’re a chef, checker, or copywriter, you’re in the group of increased risk. However, you can get it even by a case of bad luck.

The carpal tunnel is a thin space in your wrist, stretching from elbow to palm of the hand; it is home to the median nerve, which becomes inflamed upon the syndrome’s onset.

Fortunately, cannabis compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes, have proven anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties. CBD and THC have been mentioned by studies as novel anti-inflammatory drugs that are able to target difficult-to-treat pain (1–2).

People use products like CBD oil to relieve the symptoms of many health conditions, from pain to anxiety to sleep deprivation and neurological disorders. The anti-inflammatory benefits are among its best-studied effects.

In this article, we’ll explain the mechanism of action and highlight the pros and cons of using CBD oil for carpal tunnel syndrome.

What to Know About CBD for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

As mentioned at the beginning, the carpal tunnel is a narrow pathway where the median nerve occurs. Ligaments and bones surround the tunnel from the palm side of the hand, making this area prone to pressure due to repetitive occupational and lifestyle tasks.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) derives from inflammation of the tissues surrounding the median nerve. The squeezing of the median nerve leads to limited oxygen and blood flow, causing symptoms such as pain, burning, itching, and a tingling sensation on the fingers.

Doctors usually prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to tackle the said symptoms. Severe cases of CTS may require a surgeon’s intervention, using an invasive procedure known as the carpal tunnel release.

While some people can tolerate the side effects of NSAIDs to some extent, others are particularly sensitive to the treatment and won’t tolerate it in the long term. Surgeries, in turn, involve weeks of discomfort after the procedure.

This is where CBD may help. CBD has remarkable anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on the body, both of which are therapeutic targets for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Does CBD Oil Help with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

CBD is known to engage with the endocannabinoid system or the ECS, to bring homeostasis in the body. If you’re new to cannabis, the ECS is a widespread network of receptors that runs across the entire body, from the brain and central nervous system to the gut, immune system, skin, and other organs.

The ECS regulates functions like stress, memory, mood, cognition, appetite, reproduction, digestion, immune response, and pain perception on top of other processes.

CBD’s interaction with the receptors of the ECS enables it to indirectly stimulate the production of the body’s natural endocannabinoids (which bind to the receptors) and increase their duration in the circulatory system through inhibiting the enzyme that breaks them down. Endocannabinoids help the ECS regulate the above processes by binding to or modulating the cannabinoid receptors.

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The health benefits of CBD are attributed to its affinity to the CB2 receptor and an indirect influence on the activity of CB1 receptors. CBD has over 65 molecular targets besides the cannabinoid pathways.

Since CBD could relieve pain and inflammation, it’s within reason to assume that it may be useful for people with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Let’s see what studies say.

CBD Benefits for Nerve Inflammation

Carpal tunnel syndrome is categorized as entrapment neuropathy, involving suppression of the nerve. CTS treatments aim to reduce inflammation of the tissues surrounding the nerve in the tunnel.

In a study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, CBD has demonstrated substantial anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. The authors of the study administered oral CBD as a treatment for sciatic nerve constriction and inflammatory pain. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica is another type of entrapment neuropathy (3).

The study showed that CBD reduced hyperalgesia (sensitivity to pain signals) and lowered inflammation in animal models.

A double-blind clinical trial using CBD and placebo, and published in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, found that topical CBD administration significantly reduced severe pain, cold, and itchy sensations among subjects. The study tested 29 patients with peripheral neuropathy, a condition involving nerve pain that doesn’t come from the brain (4).

The research team concluded that topical CBD administration may reduce pain and other debilitating sensations caused by peripheral neuropathy. They also added that CBD was well-tolerated and more effective than conventional treatments for nerve disease. However, peripheral neuropathy is different from CTS so the results may not be replicable.

More clinical trials on humans are needed to determine if CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory pain killer for CTS.

CBD for Joint Inflammation

Some studies have reported that carpal tunnel syndrome may occur as a side effect of rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis is a joint disease triggered by chronic inflammation. Prolonged arthritis increases the risk of CTS. The inflammation brought by arthritis may interrupt sensory and motor function tunnels in the wrist. Properly treated rheumatoid arthritis may help reduce the likelihood of CTS.

Several studies have pointed to CBD as the potential therapeutic agent in reducing systemic inflammation in rat models with induced arthritis.

One such study published in the European Journal of Pain mentioned that topical CBD formulations are effective for rheumatoid arthritis. In the study, the rats received a CBD cream, showing a significant reduction in the swelling and redness of the joints. The research team also noticed that CBD reduced pain rating scores and improved limb posture over time.

Another cross-study reported that oral CBD administration reduced hyperalgesia and edema in rat models’ paws. The authors concluded that CBD is an appealing alternative to cannabis use due to its non-intoxicating effects (6).

As more clinical human studies are concluded on this subject, we may be able to get a better understanding of how CBD produces the aforementioned effects.

Fortunately, the studies are already on the way. The BMJ Open published an article that searched for volunteers to test the efficacy and safety of a CBD/THC solution (7).

The double-blind trial will analyze the effects of the cannabinoids on the intensity of chronic pain and inflammation induced by rheumatoid arthritis for 36 weeks. The study may provide further advancements in CBD’s many therapeutic applications if the results come out positive.

Pros and Cons of Using CBD for Carpal Tunnel

The Pros

  • CBD is the modulator of the ECS receptors, which may inhibit inflammation induced by entrapment neuropathy, including carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Oral CBD use has been associated with reduced neuropathic pain in animal models.
  • CBD has been repeatedly shown to reduce cold, itchiness, and intense pain caused by neuropathic pain.
  • CBD is well-tolerated and safe for daily use

The Cons

  • Research on how CBD affects carpal tunnel syndrome is limited to animal subjects. There are no existing clinical human trials in this regard.
  • CBD has a few mild side effects, such as dry mouth, drowsiness, changes in appetite, and diarrhea.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the production and labeling of CBD products. There are a lot of mislabeled CBD oils out there; some of them may be dangerous for your health.

CBD vs. Other Treatments for Carpal Tunnel

People choose CBD as an alternative to NSAIDs for carpal tunnel. NSAIDs and corticosteroids are among the most common treatments for the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Their side effects range from easy bruising and weight gain to osteoporosis and liver damage.

Another problem with NSAIDs and steroids is that your body increases tolerance to them over time, causing addiction and leading to more discomfort on top of mood swings. CBD doesn’t cause the body to build a tolerance; it’s also non-addictive despite its potent anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects.

When it comes to other alternative treatments, most of them involve the use of herbs in one form or another. Herbs have been used as anti-inflammatory agents for centuries.

For example, the Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) and the Indian Olibanum (Boswellia serrata) are used in traditional folk medicine for conditions like polyarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma.

In order to get the most out of the herbs’ therapeutic properties, people chop them, boil them, and strain for their extracts.

Currently, there are no studies on the efficacy of herbs for the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

CBD is also sourced from plants. Similar to herbs, CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits. CBD extracts are available in oils, powders, capsules, vape pens, and topicals.

Cayenne pepper is another alternative treatment for CTS. That’s because it contains capsaicin, a common ingredient found in hot peppers. Capsaicin helps reduce peripheral nerve pain. It is also a common additive in topical creams for inflammation and pain.

How to Use CBD for Carpal Tunnel?

Once you decide to replace NSAIDs and corticosteroids with CBD, there are several things to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your treatment.

Here’s what you need to know about using CBD for carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Run some dosage trial-and-error – CBD affects everyone differently, so it’s difficult to provide a recommended amount for each individual with carpal tunnel syndrome. Start with a low dose such as 10 mg to see if that brings you any relief. If you don’t feel a difference, increase the dose after one week by another 10 mg, and continue testing. There’s no maximum threshold for CBD, so an overdose isn’t possible. However, you may experience side effects like diarrhea or dry mouth if you take an extremely high dose.
  • Combine an oral form of CBD with a topical product – applying CBD creams and salves to the problematic area may help relieve the discomfort. People take CBD oil to relieve inflammation from within. However, topicals are better for targeting localized pain, e.g. when you get a flare-up from your carpal tunnel syndrome. Topical CBD may take effect within 30 minutes and last for a few hours. You may need to reapply the dosage for consistent results.
  • Use CBD oil for fast relief from pain and inflammation — sublingual forms of CBD, such as oils and tinctures, are the fastest way to relieve discomfort and inflammation throughout the body. Tinctures are taken under the tongue, using the dropper that comes with the tincture’s bottle. Holding the CBD beneath the tongue allows for direct absorption into the bloodstream. CBD oils and tinctures differ based on the methods of extraction, carriers, shelf life, and taste but they both vary in potency and flavors.
  • Take CBD capsules or edibles for a hassle-free way to relieve pain — capsules and edibles, such as gummies and honey sticks, are the easiest and most enjoyable way to use CBD oil, and you get a fixed-dose each time. However, since they need to pass through the digestive system, oral CBD products may take anywhere between 30–90 minutes to kick in. When they do, they last up to 10 hours.
  • Vape CBD Liquid if you need immediate relief from inflammation – inhalation is the fastest method of administering CBD. The vape pen heats CBD liquid to the point where it releases cannabinoid-rich vapor. You then inhale it through the vape pen’s mouthpiece, and the CBD absorbs into the bloodstream through the lung tissue, producing its effects within minutes. Vape pens also deliver the highest concentration of the inhaled substance to your body.
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Summarizing the use of CBD for Carpal Tunnel

The potential benefits of CBD for carpal tunnel syndrome are yet to be definitively proven by clinical studies. However, the existing body of evidence suggests that CBD may be a decent treatment for the condition.

CBD is known for targeting peripheral neuropathy symptoms, such as itching, burning, pain, and tingling sensations. People with carpal tunnel syndrome experience similar signs.

On top of that, CBD may be a safe and more effective alternative to NSAIDs and corticosteroids when it comes to relieving inflammation and pain in joints and muscles. However, more data is needed to prove CBD’s value under clinical conditions.

If you want to include CBD in your CTS treatment, consult your doctor, or find a specialist who is knowledgeable about CBD and cannabis use. Doing so will help you find the right dose for the condition and avoid potential interactions with other medications. CBD is known to compromise the liver’s ability to metabolize active ingredients in many pharmaceuticals.

Last but not least, make sure to purchase CBD from a reputable source. Research is paramount if you want to get a high-quality product, especially in this booming and unregulated market.


  1. Nagarkatti, Prakash et al. “Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs.” Future medicinal chemistry vol. 1,7 (2009): 1333-49. doi:10.4155/fmc.09.93
  2. Russo, Ethan B. “Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain.” Therapeutics and clinical risk management vol. 4,1 (2008): 245-59. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s1928
  3. Costa, Barbara et al. “The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.” European journal of pharmacology vol. 556,1-3 (2007): 75-83. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2006.11.006
  4. Xu, Dixon H et al. “The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities.” Current pharmaceutical biotechnology vol. 21,5 (2020): 390-402. doi:10.2174/1389201020666191202111534
  5. Russo, Ethan B. Op. Cit.
  6. Hammell, DC et al. “Transdermal cannabidiol reduce inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis.” European journal of pain (London, England) vol. 20,6 (2016): 936-48. doi:10.1002/ejp.818
  7. Hendricks, Oliver et al. “Efficacy and safety of cannabidiol followed by an open-label add-on of tetrahydrocannabinol for the treatment of chronic pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis: protocol for a multicentre, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” BMJ open vol. 9,6 e028197. 4 Jun. 2019, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028197
Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

How to Take CBD Oil for Carpal Tunnel

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA. Danielle Blinka is a Writer, Editor, Podcaster, Improv Performer, and Artist currently living in Houston, TX. She also has experience teaching English and writing to others. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Master of Arts in English with a concentration in writing, and Master of Public Administration from Lamar University.

There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Carpal tunnel syndrome causes chronic pain that might interfere with your daily life, so you likely want relief. CBD oil is a chemical extracted from hemp and marijuana plants that may relieve pain and inflammation without getting you high. You may be able to use CBD oil to treat carpal tunnel syndrome and relieve symptoms. To increase the effectiveness of CBD oil, make lifestyle changes to support your recovery. However, check with your doctor first and consult your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve.

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