Can It Assist Your Ache?

Anyone who has ever experienced TMJ (TMJ) knows how painful it can be.

If you’re experiencing TMJ pain or discomfort, you may be wondering if cannabidiol (CBD) can help.

Read on to find out what the available research says about CBD’s effectiveness for TMJ pain.

The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw (lower jaw) to the skull.

This joint is on either side of your head (in front of your ears) and makes your jaws open and close. It is best known for being able to talk and eat (hopefully not at the same time).

TMJ is often used to describe a group of health conditions related to the jaw, but it is quickly abbreviated as TMD (TMJ) or TMJK (TMJ) to separate the joint itself from conditions that affect the joint.


The most common symptom of TMJD is jaw pain and pain in the surrounding muscles.

Other common symptoms are:

These can appear on both sides of the face or just one.


Most of the time, the causes of TMJ disease are unknown.

Sometimes jaw or joint trauma can be a factor, along with other often related factors, such as:

There are other health conditions that can play a role in some cases of TMJD, including:

It is important to note that these factors have not been shown to lead to TMJD.

Temporomandibular joint discomfort is usually treated at home with some self-care practices or home remedies.

The following can help relieve TMJ symptoms:

  • eat soft foods
  • Avoiding chewing gum and hard foods (beef jerky, candy, etc.)
  • Applying ice to reduce swelling
  • Reduction in jaw movements
  • reduce stress
  • Using jaw stretching exercises to expand jaw movement

In some cases, your doctor may need to prescribe or suggest:

Although it is rare, your doctor may suggest corrective dental surgery, arthrocentesis (surgery to remove debris and fluid from the joint), or joint replacement surgery.

Cannabidiol – better known as CBD – is just one of over 120 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, but it’s one of the most popular.

Although it’s not intoxicating like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is, it still has a growing list of health benefits and is used to alleviate many common ailments.

Here is a brief breakdown of the three main forms of CBD:

  • Full spectrum CBD. This includes all of the naturally available compounds in the cannabis plant, which means it contains some THC. Typically, full-spectrum CBD derived from hemp does not contain more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight. However, the THC levels increase when the flowers are extracted into oil.
  • Broad spectrum CBD. This includes all naturally occurring compounds, with the exception of THC. Usually all of the THC is removed, leaving only a trace. Broad-spectrum THC should still contain terpenes and flavonoids.
  • CBD isolate. This is the purest form of CBD available. It is separated from all other compounds of the hemp plant.

To understand how CBD works, we first need to look at the endocannabinoid system (ECS), an intricate cell signaling system discovered by researchers in the early 1990s studying THC.

This system is present in the body whether you are using cannabis or not. It includes three main components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

Believe it or not, researchers are still trying to pin down all the specifics of the ECS. What we know for sure is that it regulates a number of functions and processes, such as:

  • sleep
  • appetite
  • mood
  • reminder
  • Reproduction and fertility

Researchers do not yet fully understand how CBD interacts with the ECS. However, they know that it doesn’t bind to the two major endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, like THC.

While many experts believe that CBD works by preventing the breakdown of endocannabinoids – so that they have a stronger effect on your body – others envision that CBD works by binding to a receptor we haven’t discovered yet to have.

While the discussion continues, available research suggests that CBD may help with pain, nausea, and other symptoms.

The entourage effect

CBD and THC are the most well-known cannabis compounds, but they differ on one major point: THC makes users feel “high”, while CBD doesn’t.

However, when CBD and THC work together, they create what is known as the entourage effect.

This theory suggests that when all cannabis compounds are taken together, they have more powerful effects than when taken alone.

Research on CBD is ongoing and there is still some things we don’t know yet. In addition, research into the effectiveness of CBD specifically for TMJ pain is limited.

However, a 2019 study found that people with CMD may see improvement after using CBD products.

A clinical study is also underway to investigate whether CBD, when taken orally, can provide pain relief and improved jaw function for people with TMJ disease.

In general, researchers have found that certain components of cannabis, including CBD, have analgesic effects due to them.

For example, a 2018 review looked at how well CBD could relieve chronic pain.

The overview included studies conducted between 1975 and March 2018. These studies looked at different types of pain, including:

Based on these studies, the researchers found that CBD was helpful in general pain management and did not cause any negative side effects.

The World Health Organization says that CBD is largely considered safe. However, some people may experience side effects including:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight changes

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against buying CBD from companies that market CBD products as a panacea for treating disease. They even issue warnings to these companies.

There is currently only one FDA-approved drug that contains CBD: Epidiolex, which treats two rare forms of epilepsy. OTC CBD products are not approved by the FDA.

It is best to speak to your doctor before trying CBD. This is especially important if you are taking medication. CBD can interact with some drugs.

Although CBD products can be found almost everywhere, before opening your wallet, it is a good idea to take a close look at what you are buying and where it comes from.

The FDA has not yet approved OTC CBD products, so it can be difficult to know if what you are buying is high quality.

Pay attention to transparency and buy direct

CBD companies should provide clear and direct information on their websites about how their products are made and where their hemp is grown. It is important that this information is provided to you directly by the company, which means that you avoid online marketplaces.

This also includes staying away from Amazon when shopping for CBD. Amazon doesn’t allow CBD products to be sold through their website, so any items you find listed there are likely fake.

Do a reputation check

Once you’ve found a brand you’re interested in, do a quick search to see if the company has any pending lawsuits or warnings from the FDA.

You can also check reviews online. Be aware, however, that some branded websites may only post positive reviews.

Check ingredients

After you find your brand, take a look at the ingredients listed in the product. This is where you can find out if it contains ingredients you may be allergic to or if it contains additional ingredients that may be helpful in the condition you are trying to treat.

Check for third-party laboratory tests

It’s important to see the tests your product has gone through.

The safest and best CBD products come with up-to-date, comprehensive Certificates of Analysis (COAs) from reputable third-party laboratories.

The COA is a very handy resource. It will tell you exactly how much CBD and THC the product contains (is it what the claims the company was promoting?). It also confirms that the product has been tested for contaminants such as mold, pesticides, and heavy metals.

If you decide to use CBD for temporomandibular joints, CBD oil is likely the best form of CBD instead of a topical or gummy agent. CBD oil taken under the tongue is likely to work faster.

Here you will find our selection of the best CBD oils.

Research around CBD is ongoing, but it looks promising. CBD can help relieve pain, but there isn’t much research on CBD specifically for TMJ disease.

It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor before trying CBD, as CBD can interact with certain medications.

If you’re looking to try CBD for your TMJ pain, it’s also a good idea to try CBD oil in place of any other CBD product such as a gum or topical product.

Make sure you are shopping with a trusted CBD company that has a positive brand reputation and is transparent about how their products are made and where their hemp is grown.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (containing less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal at the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. CBD products derived from marijuana are illegal at the federal level, but legal under some state laws. Find out about the laws of your state and wherever you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA approved and may be inaccurately labeled.

Breanna Mona is a writer and lives in Cleveland, Ohio. She has a masters degree in media and journalism and writes on health, lifestyle and entertainment.

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