CBD for TMJ: Can It Help?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex system of muscles, bones, ligaments, and discs that connect the upper and lower jaws. The joint acts as the hinge for moving the lower jaw backwards, forward, and side-to-side. If you experience pain or discomfort when you use the muscles in your jaw, then you might have problems with your temporomandibular joint. If left untreated, TMJ disorder can lead to health problems including inflammation and chronic pain. It can also cause tooth erosion, bite issues, and long-term issues such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, and sleep apnea. CBD is also known to help migraine attacks and vertigo by interacting with the serotonin system. By bringing balance to our serotonin system, CBD helps vertigo induced-nausea and dizziness. There are a lot of treatments for TMJ disorder but recent studies also show that people with the disorder can benefit from using CBD oil as it has natural pain-relieving properties.

CBD for TMJ: Can It Help?

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a compound extracted from the hemp plant. Studies have shown that CBD can help treat a wide variety of health issues such as anxiety, stress, focus, nausea, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain. Unlike THC, which is a psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis plants, CBD is not psychoactive and will not cause you to feel high. CBD is known to help reduce pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties. The dosing of CBD typically ranges from 5 mg to 25 mg and can increase depending on your doctor’s suggestion and what you want to treat. You should consult with your doctor first before using CBD.

What are the Symptoms of TMJ that CBD can Help?

A TMJ disorder can be diagnosed using symptom detection. You might have a TMJ disorder if you’re experiencing one of the following: 

  • Headache
  • Pain in and around the ear
  • Grinding teeth
  • Pain in one or both TMJs
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing food
  • Facial pain
  • Locking of the jaw

The cause of TMJ disorders are unknown but sometimes, trauma to the jaw or joint may be a factor. Other factors like arthritis and grinding and clenching of the teeth may also contribute to TMJ. TMJ disorder can cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when chewing or opening the mouth. Usually, the intensity of the movements associated with TMJ varies but in most cases, treatment is not needed. CBD may help major symptoms of TMJ disorders such as pain and inflammation. The endocannabinoid system in the body has cannabinoid receptors that help regulate pain, emotions, appetite, and sleep. A study was conducted in 2020 wherein 29 participants with symptomatic peripheral neuropathy received CBD. Those who were given CBD oils reported that their symptoms such as pain, itching, and colds were reduced and none of the participants experienced side effects. Another study conducted reported that CBD helped patients with chronic inflammatory pain. 

Is CBD Anti-Inflammatory for TMJ?

Yes. CBD produces effects in the body that target certain receptors and provide natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. CBD reduces the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines, inhibits T cell proliferation, induces T cell apoptosis, and reduces migration, and adhesion of immune cells.

How should you Use CBD for TMJ?

There are a lot of ways to use CBD for TMJ. 

  • CBD creams and balms. CBD lotions, creams, and balms can relieve pain caused by TMJ by easing muscle tension and reducing inflammation. The best benefit of CBD topicals is direct pain relief. 
  • CBD oils. CBD oils can also be applied directly to sore areas. It can also be taken using a tincture. Put a few drops of oil under your tongue for at least 90 seconds before swallowing for maximum effect. You will feel the CBD taking effect within 15 minutes. 
  • CBD transdermal patches. CBD patches are as effective as taking CBD orally and they take effect faster. As CBD patches are taken through the skin, they won’t be metabolized by the body first before circulating in the bloodstream. Many CBD patches are also designed to remain on the body for several days. 
  • CBD vapes. Some patients choose to vaporize the oil during inhalation. CBD vaporizers are the fastest application for CBD as it absorbs th4ough lung tissues. You will feel the CBD taming effect within 15 minutes.
  • CBD gummies. Ingesting CBD gummies is the easiest and fastest way to consume CBD. Swallowing CBD gummies will take 45 minutes to 2 hours before you feel it taking effect as it needs to pass through your digestive tract. 

What type of CBD is the best for TMJ?

Different companies that manufacture CBD products use different methods to extract CBD from the hemp plant and these methods result in a range of CBD types. There are three different types of CBD, containing different compounds and concentrations:

  • Full-spectrum: these CBD products include all parts of the cannabis plant but they contain up to 0.3 per cent THC which makes them federally legal.
  • Broad-spectrum: these CBD products contain most but not all cannabis compounds. Unlike full-spectrum CBD products, broad-spectrum products only contain trace amounts of THC.
  • Isolates: these products only contain CBD, with no other cannabinoids or THC. Products that contain isolated CBD may not produce any notable side effects.

Both the full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD can produce clinical responses when people use them. A person may feel the ‘entourage effect’ (enhanced effects of cannabinoids) which occurs when several compounds combine. A full-spectrum CBD product is best to use for TMJ because traces of THC might be more effective than CBD isolates. You can use any CBD-infused product as it will offer almost the same benefits, but for TMJ, it’s best to use CBD topicals and transdermal patches because they offer direct relief from pain.

What is the Recommended CBD Dosage for TMJ?

The dosing of CBD depends on a lot of factors: your age, your gender, your body weight, what you want to treat, and your biology. Although there is no correct dosing for CBD, it’s best to start at the lowest possible dosage. For starters, doctors recommend 5 mg to 25 mg and can increase depending on their suggestion and what you want to treat. You should consult with your doctor first before using CBD as it can have side effects when taken the wrong way, such as dry mouth, nausea, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. Below is the recommended CBD dosing based on body weight:

Weight Low Dosage Medium DosageHigh Dosage
25 lbs2 mg4 mg6 mg
50 lbs5 mg10 mg15 mg
100 lbs10 mg20 mg30 mg
150 lbs15 mg30 mg45 mg
200 lbs20 mg40 mg50 mg

When should you use CBD for TMJ?

TMJ disorders are typically treated at home with self-care practices such as eating soft foods, avoiding chewing gum, applying ice lessening jaw movements, and more. Some cases may require your doctor to prescribe medications but if you want to go natural, then using CBD is your best option. You can take CBD anytime as long as it fits in your routine. Some people prefer taking CBD before bed as it helps them sleep but some prefer taking it in the morning as it gives them more focus throughout the day.

What is the Safety of CBD for TMJ?

Although CBD is generally considered safe, it can still cause side effects such as fatigue, diarrhoea, dry mouth, loss of appetite, and in severe cases, liver damage. It can also interact with other medications you’re taking. Currently, the only FDA approved CBD product is Epidolex which is a treatment for epilepsy. You should consult with your doctor first before taking CBD.

How Long Does It Take for CBD to Relieve Pain of TMJ?

Relief from pain after using CBD for TMJ depends on the method used. For CBD oils and CBD creams and balms applied to the skin, relief from pain can be experienced within 15 minutes after using the product. For CBD vapes, it would take 10 to 15 minutes. For CBD edibles such as CBD gummies, it would take 30 to 45 minutes as the CBD will pass through your digestive tract.

Is CBD better than Traditional Treatment Methods?

No. While CBD proves to be a helpful and non-toxic option for managing anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, more research is needed to prove that CBD is better than other treatment methods. Since studies are limited, we don’t exactly know the correct and most effective doses and since CBD is still not regulated in most places, it’s hard to know what you’re exactly getting. Make sure to talk to your doctor first before taking CBD or any CBD-infused product.

Can CBD Help Other Medical Issues similar to TMJ?

Yes. There’s one FDA approved CBD product which is Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a prescription medicine that is used to treat epilepsy and seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex. CBD is also known to help with chronic pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties and can improve focus and your whole well-being.