woman with shoulder pain

CBD Patches for Pain Relief: Do They Work?

For those wishing to reap the benefits of CBD, the cannabis compound is easier to reach than ever before thanks to a multitude of delivery methods available and an abundance of CBD-infused products. 

One way you can try CBD is through an adhesive patch. Often chosen to minimise joint and muscle pain and inflammation, CBD patches can deliver CBD to targeted areas of the body. But are they as effective as CBD-infused balms, oils and edibles for quelling aches, pain and inflammation? 

Keep reading to discover more about CBD (cannabidiol) patches, including their efficacy and how they work.

What is a CBD Patch?

CBD patches are adhesives that contain cannabidiol; a compound from the hemp plant which provides numerous wellness benefits. CBD patches are similar in appearance to plasters and are applied to the skin where they provide a slow release of CBD which is absorbed into the bloodstream. For some, this is a preferable method of reaping the benefits of CBD as opposed to consuming CBD edibles and oils, or inhaling CBD vapes. Additionally, a CBD patch can target a specific area and could be a more effective option for those looking for pain and inflammation relief.


What Does a CBD Patch Do?

When a CBD patch is applied to the skin, CBD is released slowly and steadily into your system. This continual release enables sustained, longer-term benefits of CBD without having to remember to take additional gummies, oils or vapes to remain pain-free. 

When CBD enters the bloodstream, it acts on the human endocannabinoid system, blocking receptors for certain types of pain. Furthermore, this interaction results in an anti-inflammatory effect, lowering inflammation and potentially reducing additional pain associated with inflammation.

Since CBD oil patches offer transdermal delivery of CBD within a targeted area, CBD patches may be most suited to localised pain including nerve pain and inflammation.

Do CBD Patches Work?

The CBD in patches is no different from – and is equally effective as – CBD that’s infused into edibles and orally ingested. However, CBD taken orally has to travel through the digestive system before it reaches the bloodstream. CBD patches, on the other hand, have no interaction with the digestive system, which means that more CBD circulates within the blood and reaches the site of pain (this is known as bioavailability)

Read More: CBD Bioavailabiliy: What Is Is and Why It Matters

Since CBD patches are often designed to stay on the skin for several days, you’ll also benefit from slow and steady release within the targeted area.

CBD has been shown in preclinical trials to be beneficial for pain relief and inflammation, as well as for reducing anxiety, stress and sleep issues. Topical CBD can also promote muscle relaxation. A patch is likely more effective for pain that is localised rather than general aches and pains across the body.

While research combined with anecdotal reports on cannabidiol and CBD patches is promising, it’s important to note that studies are limited and in the preliminary stages.

Do CBD Patches Work for Back Pain?

CBD patches provide a convenient method of delivering CBD to a localised area of the body, including the back, for pain relief. Many users report fast and long-term relief from back pain following regular use of CBD patches. 

How Do CBD Patches Make You Feel?

Transdermal CBD patches work to lessen aches and pains primarily. CBD patches will not make you feel ‘high’. This is because legal CBD patches in the UK do not contain THC; the psychoactive cannabinoid associated with marijuana and getting high.

Due to the slow and steady release of CBD from a patch, you should experience a gradual reduction in pain and inflammation. Some people report an improvement in overall sense of wellbeing. 

How Long Do CBD Patches Take to Work?

When a CBD patch is applied to the skin, CBD enters your bloodstream within 60 minutes. There is a gradual, steady release of CBD thereupon, for as long as the CBD patch is designed to work (this could be several hours, a day or even several days; always read the package instructions for your product).

How Do CBD Patches Compare With Other CBD Products for Pain? 

More research is required on CBD patches for pain relief. However, we know from preclinical studies that CBD is effective for pain relief and inflammation. A CBD patch provides fast delivery of cannabidiol to a targeted area and bypasses the digestive system process, potentially increasing the bioavailability of CBD when compared with alternative methods of CBD delivery such as CBD gummies, oils and vapes.

Where is the Best Place to Put a CBD Patch? 

CBD patches work on a transdermal delivery method and so work best when in direct contact with a smooth area of skin that isn’t bony or uneven. CBD patches should also be placed as close to the site of pain as possible. Some popular application spots for CBD patches include the inner bicep, shoulder, lower back, back of the neck, inner wrists and behind the knee.

CBD Patches Side Effects and Safety

CBD is a compound that is regarded as safe to use, non-addictive and is generally tolerated very well by most people. Nevertheless, a reaction to a CBD patch is possible. Though rare, some reported side effects from CBD include drowsiness, fatigue, diarrhoea, appetite changes and weight changes. If you find you are sensitive to the effects of CBD, refrain from driving or operating machinery while taking it.

Some CBD patch companies may add chemicals to the product to assist CBD in penetrating the skin and entering the bloodstream. These chemicals may cause allergic reactions in some people. 

Additionally, CBD may be capable of interacting with certain prescription medicines. If you are on medication, discuss CBD products with your GP before using them. 

How to Choose the Best CBD Patches UK

When purchasing a CBD patch, ensure you are shopping with a reputable company which can provide independent third-party laboratory reports to show the potency of the product and legal levels of THC (less than 0.2%). The product itself should clearly state how much CBD it contains as well as any additional ingredients. CBD patches vary in potency and if needed, high strength CBD patches UK are available to buy. 

Related Reading: CBD Lab Reports: What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Consider what type of patch will suit you. Perhaps you require a patch that can be worn across several days rather than a few hours, and you might opt for a sweatproof or a waterproof patch if required while working out or showering. 

Final Thoughts

CBD patches could be an excellent choice if you’re seeking pain and inflammation relief in a localised area. They are available to buy in various concentrations and can provide fast absorption into the bloodstream as well as steady, long-lasting CBD diffusion for up to several days. If you are on medication, talk to your GP before using a CBD patch.

Looking for an alternative form of CBD for pain relief? Check out our range of popular premium CBD oils and topicals


What are CBD patches used for?

CBD patches are used to deliver cannabidiol (CBD) to the body through the skin. They are designed to provide a slow and steady release of CBD over a period of several hours, which can help manage symptoms such as pain, inflammation, anxiety, and insomnia. CBD patches are easy to use and discreet, making them a convenient option for people who prefer not to take CBD orally or use topical creams and lotions. 

Are CBD patches any good?

CBD patches are easy to use and offer a discreet alternative to other forms of CBD administration. However, like any CBD product, the effectiveness of CBD patches may vary based on individual factors and the specific condition being treated.

Where is the best place to apply a CBD patch?

The best place to apply a CBD patch will depend on the specific product instructions and the desired effects. In general, CBD patches are designed to be applied to areas of the skin with high blood flow, such as the inner wrist, top of the foot, or back of the neck. However, it is important to follow the specific instructions provided with the patch to ensure proper application and maximum effectiveness. Additionally, it is important to avoid applying CBD patches to broken, irritated, or sensitive skin.

It is generally safe to sleep with a CBD patch on, as they are designed to be worn for an extended period of time, but be sure to follow the specific instructions provided to ensure safe and effective use.


The world is rapidly waking up to the power of CBD. With millions of people now using CBD it’s more important than ever to share our experiences. Looking at our most popular products is a great way to get an insight into the essentials people are adopting as part of their daily routines.