Does Using CBD Oil Before Getting a Tattoo Reduce the Pain?


Getting a tattoo can be an exhilarating experience. But let's not sugarcoat it - tattoos hurt. Sitting in the tattoo artist's chair for hours while they repeatedly puncture your skin with needles is not exactly a walk in the park.

Many people wonder if there are ways to reduce the pain and discomfort of getting inked. Recently, some have looked to CBD oil as a potential solution.

Does Using CBD Oil Before Getting a Tattoo Reduce the Pain?

CBD oil has skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. Proponents claim it offers a wide range of health benefits, from reducing anxiety and stress to alleviating chronic pain. This has led some to ponder: could CBD oil help make getting a tattoo less painful?

In this article, we'll explore the available research on using CBD oil for tattoo pain and discuss whether it's worth trying.

How Badly Do Tattoos Hurt?

The first question to address is - just how painful are tattoos? The answer can vary quite a bit from person to person.

Factors that influence tattoo pain levels include:

  • Location on the body - Areas with lots of nerve endings and thin skin, like the spine or ribs, are generally more sensitive. Meatier spots like the arms or legs usually hurt less.
  • Coloring - Solid black ink is less painful than colorful designs that require more needle passes.
  • Time spent - Larger, more complex tattoos take longer and involve more cumulative discomfort.
  • Personal pain tolerance - Some hardy souls handle tattoo pain better than others.

So a small, black and gray tattoo on the shoulder will usually hurt far less than an intricate, vivid sleeve extending down the arm. But even for the same design on the same part of the body, people perceive pain differently.

On a standard pain scale of 1 to 10, getting a tattoo can range from a mild 2 all the way up to a searing 8 or 9. The average seems to be around a 5 or 6 - more painful than a blood draw but not as bad as a broken bone.

Clearly, tattoos are no walk in the park pain-wise. So it's understandable why many seek ways to take the edge off. Let's look at whether CBD oil might be one option for managing tattoo pain.

What is CBD Oil and How Does It Work?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound extracted from the cannabis plant. However, unlike THC, the cannabinoid that makes marijuana psychoactive, CBD will not get you "stoned."

Instead, CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system to produce its purported effects. This system plays a role in regulating processes like pain, immune function, stress, sleep, appetite, memory and mood.

According to research, CBD may help ease pain and inflammation by:

  • Temporarily blocking pain signals traveling to the brain
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Interacting with serotonin and opioid receptors involved in analgesic effects

Importantly, CBD does not appear to have any intoxicating side effects or potential for addiction like opioid painkillers. This makes it appealing as a natural option for managing pain.

So how might these pain and inflammation-reducing properties apply to tattoo discomfort? Let's take a look at what the research says so far.

Does CBD Oil Help With Tattoo Pain? What Studies Reveal

Right now, there are no published studies directly investigating the effect of CBD oil on tattoo pain. However, we do have scientific evidence on CBD for general pain relief.

For example, a 2020 literature review looked at 27 human studies on CBD and pain. It concluded that CBD showed potential for reducing both acute and chronic pain without major side effects.

Specific types of pain studied included postoperative pain, cancer pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Subjects using CBD tended to have decreases in pain levels compared to placebo groups.

A small 2022 study also showed that a CBD gel reduced pain caused by soft tissue and joint injuries. And further studies confirm the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD that may assist with pain management.

This growing body of research on CBD for general analgesia provides a scientific basis for why it may help minimize tattoo discomfort too. Though tattoo pain is not strictly medical, it is an injurious inflammatory process, similar to the pain models studied.

While clinical evidence is still limited, plenty of tattoo enthusiasts already use CBD and report good results. On forums and social media, many share tips and experiences of successfully using CBD oil and topicals to make getting tattooed more bearable.

So while clinical research is in the early stages, initial studies combined with ample anecdotal reports suggest CBD could offer a safe way to take the edge off tattoo pain for some people. But it's not a miracle cure-all - just one option to experiment with.

Next, let's take a look at the most practical ways to use CBD when getting a tattoo.

What's the Best Way to Take CBD Oil for Tattoos?

If you decide to try CBD oil to ease the sting of getting inked, you have choices on how to take it. Here are some of the most popular CBD options for using before tattoo sessions:

CBD Oil Tinctures

CBD oil tinctures are liquid extracts that come with a dropper for simple dosing. When taken sublingually, by holding under the tongue for 30-90 seconds, CBD enters the bloodstream rapidly for fast-acting effects.

Taking a dose of CBD oil tincture an hour or two before your appointment can help promote a general sense of calm and preemptively dial down pain levels once the needle starts buzzing. This can help take the edge off during long sessions.

Pro tip: Let the tattoo artist know you took CBD beforehand since it can affect bleeding.

CBD Topicals

CBD topical creams, gels, and balms are meant for direct application to skin. When massaged into the area being tattooed right before your appointment, CBD topicals may help locally reduce pain transmission and inflammation as the tattoo is applied.

However, CBD topicals tend to have milder systemic effects compared to tinctures, so they may not do much to alleviate anxiety or discomfort beyond the localized area.

CBD Edibles and Capsules

CBD edibles like gummies and capsules must pass through the digestive system before effects kick in. This makes their pain-relieving onset slower compared to sublingual tinctures.

But some people dislike the earthy taste of CBD oil tinctures and enjoy the flavor and convenience of edibles. Just be sure to take them 1-2 hours before your appointment so the CBD is in full effect when the tattooing starts.

No matter which method you choose, give it a test run before your tattoo appointment to find the right dosage and assess how CBD affects you. Most studies showing benefits use doses of 25-100 mg taken a few hours before pain stimuli.

Other Tips for Dealing With Tattoo Pain

While CBD oil may help take the ouch out of getting inked for some, it's not a surefire fix. Don't pin all your hopes solely on CBD oil as pain relief - be ready to grit your teeth if it doesn't work as well as you hoped.

It's wise to have backup plans for managing discomfort. Here are some other tips for making tattoo sessions more bearable:

  • Hydrate and eat - Drink lots of water and have a healthy meal before your appointment to stabilize blood pressure and blood sugar. Low blood sugar can exacerbate pain.
  • Focus your breathing - Try deep, slow belly breathing to promote relaxation during especially uncomfortable spots.
  • Get sufficient sleep - Arriving well-rested makes it easier to zone out instead of focusing obsessively on the discomfort.
  • Talk to your artist - Let them know your concerns and pain tolerance levels so they can tailor the session pace and breaks accordingly.
  • Consider numbing creams - These OTC topicals work for some people but often irritate skin and make it harder for ink to set properly. Test them in advance.
  • Use meditation/distraction - Listen to music, meditate, or play mental games to direct your focus away from the needle discomfort.

With the right preparation and attitude, you can handle the pain and enjoy the exhilaration of getting amazing art etched permanently onto your skin. Don't let fear of discomfort stop you from the tattoo you've been dreaming of.

The Takeaway: CBD Oil May Lessen Tattoo Pain If Used Correctly

While research is still emerging, current evidence suggests CBD oil may help reduce the sting of getting tattooed - if used strategically. Due to its apparent pain and inflammation-reducing properties, CBD shows promise for taking the edge off this unpleasant procedure.

Many who've tried CBD oil before tattoo sessions report good results. Just keep expectations realistic. CBD oil is not a magic cure-all but one option that may provide mild-to-moderate relief for some people. Proper dosage and timing also impact effectiveness.

If trying CBD oil, give it a test run first to gauge effects. And have backup plans like numbing cream on hand in case it doesn't work as hoped. While certainly not risk-free, CBD oil offers a much safer pain relief option compared to analgesics like opioids or alcohol.

So as you plan for your next tattoo appointment, consider adding CBD oil to your pain management regimen. Along with tried-and-true techniques like proper breathing and focus, it could help you finally get that intricate sleeve you've always dreamed of with minimal discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using CBD Oil for Tattoo Pain

Getting a tattoo is an exciting experience for most, but the pain aspect can be daunting. If you're considering using CBD oil to help manage discomfort, you probably have lots of questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about using CBD oil for tattoo pain relief.

What's the best CBD dosage before a tattoo appointment?

Since CBD effects vary widely, there’s no universal “best” dose. For managing acute pain, doses in studies range from as low as 15mg to over 100mg. It depends on your body chemistry and the severity of pain. As a starting point, try 25-50mg CBD 1-2 hours before your appointment. See how that initial dose affects you before increasing. And consult your doctor if on other medications.

How long before my tattoo session should I take CBD oil?

For the best pain relief, aim to take your CBD dose 1-2 hours before your appointment time. This gives the CBD enough time to start working in your system before the tattooing begins. If using a tincture or capsule, take your dose before leaving home to give it time to kick in.

Should I tell my tattoo artist if I take CBD beforehand?

Yes, it's wise to inform your artist if you take CBD shortly before your session. CBD can thin the blood and potentially impact bleeding and ink flow. Your artist may make adjustments like using different needle groupings or altering appointment timing based on your CBD use.

Can I reapply CBD cream while getting my tattoo?

It’s best not to. Using CBD topicals can interfere with the tattoo process and proper ink absorption. Stick to just one application before your appointment starts. Reapply once the session is complete if desired.

How much CBD cream should I use before getting tattooed?

When applying a CBD cream pre-tattoo, use a modest amount focused just around the tattoo site, not all over. Too much topical cream can impede the needle and ink. A pea-sized dollop rubbed thoroughly over just the target area 30-60 min before your appointment is sufficient.

What side effects could I experience from CBD oil?

Most people tolerate CBD well, with minimal side effects. Potential adverse reactions can include diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and dry mouth. CBD may also interact with certain medications. Talk to your doctor before using CBD oil with any other drugs.

Can I use CBD if I’m underage and getting a tattoo?

Legally, those under 18 should not use any CBD products without a doctor’s supervision. While serious risks are rare, the long-term effects of CBD oil on still-developing brains and bodies are still unknown. Minors should focus on proven discomfort relief methods.

How soon after getting my tattoo can I take more CBD?

Once your tattoo session is complete, you can take another CBD dose as desired for residual soreness. There are no special restrictions on using CBD for post-tattoo recovery. Just listen to your body and don’t overdo initial doses until you know how CBD affects you.

Will going overboard on CBD oil make my tattoo hurt less?

No - higher CBD doses do not always mean more pain relief. Excessive CBD intake can actually backfire and amplify discomfort instead. Stick to moderate doses and increases of 5-10mg until you find your ideal dosage. More CBD does not automatically equal less pain.

Hopefully these CBD oil questions and answers help you determine if trying CBD is right for your next tattoo session. Just remember it affects everyone differently. Pay attention to your body, start slow and low with dosage, and have backup relief plans just in case.

Sign up to our newsletter and enjoy 10% off one order

Which product do I need?
As Seen On: