Skip to content
Using CBD Topical Products for Multiple Sclerosis Pain

Multiple sclerosis can dampen everything you do. The dreaded MS hug may have you avoiding the things you used to love. Perhaps you are taking a variety of medications already, but the effect has been minimal at best. Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, research has been uncovering some promising benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). If you have not considered using CBD topical products for multiple sclerosis pain, there is some convincing evidence out there that may change your mind. Let’s take a look.

What are CBD Topicals?

A topical is anything that can be applied directly to the skin. CBD topicals are products, such as balms, lotions, creams, and ointments that have been blended with CBD oil, carrier oils (such as MCT or coconut oil), botanicals, and other added ingredients, like fragrances or moisturizers. Typically, CBD topical products are rubbed onto dry, stressed, or irritated skin.

Here is a quick look at the most common CBD topical products:

  • CBD Creams – generally thicker in consistency than a lotion, creams are used for hydration, moisturizing, and muscle and joint recovery.
  • CBD Salves and Balms – both are made with fatty oils, CBD oil, and wax, but balms tend to be thicker than salves.
  • CBD Lotion – contain more water than oil, so the consistency is much less thick than creams, balms, and salves.

There are also topical CBD transdermal patches, sprays, roll-on sticks, face masks, and bath salts on the market, though the effectiveness of such products has yet to be determined.


How Does Topical CBD Work?

Within the body is something known as the endocannabinoid system which plays a key role in homeostasis, and much of the receptors (CB1, CB2, for example) are located within the skin [1]. It is believed that CBD is absorbed into the skin, soothing the localized area and reducing inflammation. Another thing CBD topicals are thought to do is diminish neurological pain caused by multiple sclerosis.

Most CBD topical products are a combination of water, oil, and an emollient to assist with absorption. Due to the composition of many CBD topicals, you should not apply them to the face. If you want something for the face, it needs to be a specific facial formula. Each product should indicate the purpose of the product.


Research on CBD Topical Products for MS Pain

When it comes to deciding whether a CBD product may help your pain, it is best to consider the research that has been conducted. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of CBD for MS-related pain, but there have been reported improvements in MS patients. Here is what is known so far:

A 2016 study on transdermal cannabidiol as a treatment for arthritis in rats discussed the therapeutic potential of such products [2]. The study looked at the efficacy of transdermal CBD in reducing pain and inflammation. CBD gels, with doses ranging from 0.6 mg to 62.3 mg/day were applied for 4 days consistently. The researchers found that transdermal CBD “significantly reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores…immune cell infiltration, and thickening of the synovial membrane.”

In 2018, a review discussed the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in people with MS to improve mobility [3]. The researchers stated that with a “1:1 or greater CBD:THC ratio” cannabis “reduces muscle spasticity and pain in PwMS.”

More recently, a case series and literature review from 2020 looked at the use of CBD in treating acute and chronic back pain [4]. A topical CBD cream was used to replicate results from other literature discussed in the review. Both cases described individuals in terrible back pain (including spasms) using CBD topical cream on the affected region of their spine and experiencing 8-10 hours of relief. As such, the researchers concluded that hemp-derived CBD may provide significant pain relief and should be studied more thoroughly.

Another 2020 study testing topical CBD for symptomatic peripheral neuropathy found similar results [5]. 29 patients were used in the randomized test. The study concluded with findings that suggested a significant reduction in neuropathy-related pain in the CBD group when compared to the placebo group.


How to Choose CBD Topicals

Although CBD is legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, it is also unregulated. Because of that, it is difficult to say which products use high quality ingredients or have the desired potency. Knowing how to find and choose CBD topical products can help you find something that benefits your specific needs.

Figure out if you would like CBD isolate, CBD broad spectrum (every cannabinoid but THC), and CBD full spectrum (containing less than 0.3% THC). For MS, there is some science evidence suggesting that CBD:THC blends are more effective than CBD isolate [6].

In topical products, there will be added ingredients that will vary from product to product. It is important to review the ingredients to make sure there is nothing in the formula that could cause an allergic reaction.


CBD Dosage Per Application

Since there is such a vast selection of CBD topicals out there, the amount of CBD per application also varies. Be sure to contact the retailer for more information regarding dosages.

That said, let’s review what each dose means. On the side of the container, you will likely find information pertaining to how much CBD was used in the cream or salve. For example, if a container has 1,500 mg total, then there is about 50 mg per ounce. Application amounts are about 1/2 an ounce, or 25 mg of CBD.

Keep in mind that topical creams designed for muscle and joint relief will usually have a greater amount of CBD in the container.


Try CBD for MS Pain Today

There are many kinds of CBD topical products available today. Some formulas may help with MS-related pain and muscle spasticity, but there is currently not enough research to say for sure. That said, CBD is generally well-tolerated by most people, so why not see what it can do for you?

At Sugar Bottom Hemp, we have a wide variety of topical CBD products. Each product is made with locally grown hemp and tested by an independent third-party lab. Check out our full line of CBD oils, topicals, and edibles today. You are bound to find something that you love.




  1. Baswan SM, Klosner AE, Glynn K, Rajgopal A, Malik K, Yim S, Stern N. Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020;13:927-942
  2. Hammell, D., Zhang, L., Ma, F., Abshire, S., McIlwrath, S., Stinchcomb, A., & Westlund, K. (2015). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European Journal of Pain, 20(6), 936–948.
  3. Rudroff, T., & Sosnoff, J. (2018). Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis. Frontiers in Neurology, 9.
  4. Eskander, MD, MBA, J. P., Spall, BS, J., Spall, BA, A., Shah, MD, MBA, R. V., & Kaye, MD, PhD, A. D. (2020). Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment of acute and chronic back pain: A case series and literature review. Journal of Opioid Management, 16(3), 215–218.
  5. Xu, D. H., Cullen, B. D., Tang, M., & Fang, Y. (2020). The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 21(5), 390–402.
  6. Ferber, S. G., Namdar, D., Hen-Shoval, D., Eger, G., Koltai, H., Shoval, G., Shbiro, L., & Weller, A. (2020). The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. Current Neuropharmacology, 18(2), 87–96.×17666190903103923