Are you one of the 50-116 million Americans that chronic pain affects?
It’s a staggering number that exceeds those affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined (source).
58% of people dealing with chronic pain take prescription medication to relieve their symptoms (source). The most powerful of these drugs are called opioids and they pack some major side effects:
- Itching or sweating
- A weakened immune system
- Tolerance (over time your body will need more of the drug to produce the same effects)
With so many people seeking pain relief, it’s no wonder many are looking for more natural, plant-based remedies.
CBD is a nonaddictive chemical compound derived from Cannabis or Hemp. It shows amazing potential for natural pain relief.
CBD does not contain the by-products which produce a ‘high’, or the euphoric feel that THC provides. You can find CBD in many products from food and drink to pills and skin care.
Though research is still in the early stages, preliminary studies suggest that its potential benefits include:
By 2020, 1/3 of Americans had tried CBD products according to a Consumer Reports Survey (source). Research shows that of the 62% of people who use CBD for a medical condition, the majority are treating chronic pain, arthritis, joint pain, as well as anxiety (source).
This article will explore some basic information on CBD, how CBD works on pain, and what actual users have to say about their experiences.
What Does CBD Stand For?
CBD is an abbreviation for Cannabidiol (can·na·bid·i·oll) and is one of many chemical compounds (or cannabinoids) found in hemp plants.
It promotes wellness without the intoxicating effects of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
The list of physical problems that CBD helps with can sound unrealistic. To make it easier to understand, let’s consider that CBD only helps with 1 thing. It supports and strengthens the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). (Harvard Health Publishing, 2021)
The healing gained is because the ECS is the master regulator for all the body’s systems. So when we help this system out, we allow the body to find balance or homeostasis in many of our body’s systems.
By law, CBD products can have no more than 0.3 percent THC. CBD can help relieve pain, reduce stress, and relax your muscles, but it will not get you high.
If you are a visual learner, check out this video by AsapScience explaining more about the differences between THC and CBD.
Why CBD Cream?
With all of the CBD products available like tinctures, pills, gummies, and oils just to name a few, why would you choose a CBD cream?
One reason is that CBD cream is specifically designed for localized pain and discomfort caused by conditions such as
- Muscle soreness
The tissue underneath the skin is the target of inflammation usually, so the fastest route to those tissues or cartilage is via the skin.
If you take a pill it would need to pass through your digestive system before delivering relief which could take hours. While it may last longer, it will be spread out throughout the bloodstream and less effective on localized areas.
CBD cream works transdermally, or through the skin, and its effects will be felt in minutes instead of hours.
How Does CBD Cream Work for Pain?
Humans have a built-in Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which receives and translates signals from cannabinoids. The primary function of this system is to maintain homeostasis, or balance, within the body.
This system helps regulate functions such as sleep, immune-system responses, and pain. We produce some cannabinoids ourselves known as endocannabinoids. The term “endo” refers to “within”, as within the body.
When a mom nurses her baby she produces an endocannabinoid that will soothe her and the baby. Another example of an endocannabinoid triggered in our body is a “runner’s high”.
CBD itself does not bind to receptors but is thought to work by inducing other components of the cannabinoid system.
It modulates pain and the sensation of pain by stimulating the reuptake of adenosine (the neurotransmitter), thereby boosting adenosine levels in the brain and inhibiting pain sensations.
CBD may also block pain signals from reaching processing centers in the brain by binding to TRPV1, which is responsible for pain and inflammation.
Applying CBD cream allows the CBD to pass through the subcutaneous layer via blood vessels and interact directly with the afflicted area.
In plain English, CBD can help dial down your pain by blocking the signals for pain.
Not all CBD cream is created equal. How to choose?
While the Farm Bill of 2014 made products derived from industrial hemp, including CBD, legal to sell and use.
The industry is still highly unregulated which tends to sprout many dishonest companies incorrectly labeling products and trying to capitalize on this wave of excitement.
Since the FDA does not regulate CBD products, it’s a good idea to look for a few things before you buy.
- High-quality products from reputable manufacturers and retailers. Look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA), a 3rd party testing conducted by an independent lab. You can check out this guide to reading the COA by Citizen Truth. These labs test CBD products for pesticides, heavy metals, microbes, and harmful chemicals.
- Choose a product designed for your need. Arthritis, joint pain, scars, anxiety, sleep, and depression all have unique solutions that may have special terpenes and botanicals to increase their effectiveness.
- Check the reviews! This is one of the best ways to understand the potential problems with a product. I like to look at 3-5 star reviews. The 5s will give you all the glory. The 3s and 4s will let you know where the opportunity for improvement is. Reviews lower than that are usually more about brand bashing and revenge than actual facts.
- Steer clear of companies that make false claims. This is illegal and if a company doesn’t care, its ethics are questionable.
- Keep in mind that marketers and people behind the retail counters are not health professionals.
Does CBD Cream work on Arthritis and Joint Pain?
CBD is very promising for conditions including arthritis and joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies like this one from 2015 conducted on mice showed that topical CBD reduced swelling and joint-related pain attributed to arthritis.
Another study published in the journal Pain in 2017 found that prophylactic treatment with CBD stopped the pain and hindered the development of more pain in rats with osteoarthritis.
Here is what actual users have to say about CBD creams for pain.
We randomly selected these reviews from popular online brands.
Some of the sites include the age of the user and the condition they used the product for.
- Age 50+ joint/ muscle support. It’s helping with stiffness in my shoulder joint
- Age 50+ joint/ muscle support. Worked very well. I’m 80 years old and this is the best result I have gotten so far.
- Tried many different CBD salves, and so far this is the best help these old knees have gotten.”
- Age 50+ joint/muscle support. I use the Salve once in the morning and am able to avoid taking anything for my shoulder most of the day. Am very happy about this!!!
- Age 50+ joint/muscle support. This product has just what the label says in it! So important to me to not find fillers and preservatives and chemicals 🙂 Easy to apply with no waste!
- Age 31-40 joint/muscle support. Seasoned Athlete here! I’m extremely cautious about what I put in my body and I was pleased to learn about the effects of this product! As of late, I’ve been doing a lot of CrossFit. As you can imagine, the soreness has been real! I give this product 5 stars as it has assisted me with my recovery! Especially on leg day! The smell is a plus too!
- Age 50+ joint/muscle support. It’s a little hard to work with consistency wise but seems to work ok
- Really works, a little pine tree smelling but worth every penny.
- Very strange when I opened the jar. Was like a weird thickness and felt weird to touch. Threw it away.
How long does CBD cream take to work?
Once you apply your CBD cream it should take between 15-30 minutes to expect results.
How long does CBD cream last?
This will vary depending on many factors including the strength and quality of the CBD. Generally, most people experience the benefits for up to 6 hours.
3 Unique and Innovative CBD Products
- TheraBalm: An all-natural CBD balm infused with botanicals that speed wound healing, combat infection, and reduce the appearance of scars. Containing full-spectrum CBD and CBG to tackle any associated pain. Organic botanicals have an impressive list of benefits such as anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, skin regenerating, and natural skin lightening.
- Foria Relief Suppositories with CBD: Broad-spectrum CBD in Organic Cocoa Butter is formulated for relief during your period, and can be used vaginally or rectally. Each CBD suppository delivers 100mg of broad-spectrum CBD right where you need it.
- GoLove CBD Intimate Serum: a water-based, hypoallergenic personal lubricant packed with 200mg of CBD. Formulated to soothe and moisturize your most delicate skin so it feels hydrated, moist, and relaxed.
Our take on the results:
We now know that CBD may help to reduce pain by acting on a variety of biological processes in the body.
CBD has been shown to work as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic. CBD may also reduce the anxiety that people living with chronic pain often experience.
Most people trying CBD cream for pain were pleasantly surprised by the results. The main complaints we found when scouring online reviews fell into 3 buckets:
- Consistency. Some products are thick and pasty making them difficult or even painful to apply to the skin.
- Scent. Whether you like how a product smells or not is a personal decision. The scent should be subtle and not overwhelming, no matter what you choose.
- Effectiveness. Since CBD creams fall through the cracks of FDA regulations, you need to choose a reputable, transparent company.
While users tout the effectiveness of CBD for pain and inflammation, there has been limited human research on the actual effectiveness. However, a new study led by University researchers sheds light on the ability of CBD to reduce pain along with the impact that the so-called placebo effect may have on pain outcomes.
In these studies, Dr. De Vita and his team administered experimental heat pain and gave participants either CBD isolate or a placebo. In some cases, participants were told they were using CBD when they actually received a placebo and the other way around.
According to De Vita, “we found improvements in pain measures caused by the pharmacological effects of CBD and the psychological effects of just expecting that they had gotten CBD. It was pretty remarkable and surprising.”
CBD cream shows great potential for improving many conditions such as pain, scarring, eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
So, are there effective products that really work for pain and arthritis? Yes!… You just need to do a little homework and make sure you are getting what you pay for.
Want to learn more about an innovative CBD cream for pain that also incorporates CBG and powerful botanicals that reduce the appearance of scars? Take a look at this product.