Pain is an unfortunate reality of the human body and we do all possible things to manage and control it using nutrition and medication. We apply ointments to de-stress muscles to get rid of the unpleasant sensory and emotional experience of pain. The increasing popularity of CBD creams for pain management indicates that people must be getting desired relief. The cannabidiol-infused topical ointment, as manufacturers claim, can help people struggling with chronic pain.
The effectiveness of CBD (cannabidiol) in treating anxiety, depression, and stress is proven beyond doubt. Some of the recent scientific studies suggest that CBD could be highly effective in pain management, as well. If you face difficulty in ingesting CBD tincture or other products and are concerned about getting high because of the THC component, then non-psychoactive CBD-infused topical cream is for you to get rid of the pain. Let’s find out what exactly CBD cream is and how it works in the human body.
What is CBD Topical Cream?
Before we go into the details of CBD cream let’s first understand what CBD is and how it works. The miracle component of cannabidiol (CBD)–a cannabinoid– comes from hemp and cannabis plants.
Out of 480 compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant, 66 fall in the cannabinoid group and cannabidiol is the most abundant of all with non-psychoactive properties unlike the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The industrial-grade CBD mostly comes from the hemp plant and under federal regulation, the THC component is kept below 0.3% in most of the CBD products.
The market is flooded with several CBD products like tinctures, gummies, and of course, topical creams. CBD products are a rage in the US market, thanks to the benefits people are getting and the federal approval for hemp-derived CBD products. As far as topical CBD ointment is concerned it is made by blending the core ingredient of high-quality hemp-derived CBD oil with natural oils like coconut or olive and therapeutic herbs like lemongrass extract and arnica. To make it a more potent pain reliever for topical use, some CBD cream manufacturers create a nice blend of both CBD and THC.
Since almost all ingredients come from natural sources it is perfectly safe for topical application. The topical formulation, meaning absorption in top skin only, keeps you safe from the risk of high.
Although there isn’t much specific research on the effectiveness of CBD-infused topical creams in pain relief, broader CBD studies indicate that it helps in relaxing muscles.
Should I Try It?
It is pretty natural to try anything possible when you are in acute pain and CBD creams definitely rank better as compared to other similar pain relief ointments. However, It is also important to practice safety and go for only trusted brands, which are well tested like these CBD Creams reviewed by The Cannabis Radar.
After taking all these precautions, it is all about your realistic expectation from your CBD cream as it won’t reduce your deep-seated muscular soreness and acute pain. So, if you want to try CBD pain relief cream, then be sure about dose and application frequency, because you might have to apply a heavy dose to get relief.
Since there is no clarity on the dose to get results, it is a bit tricky to decide whether one should buy CBD cream or not, especially when the cost is exorbitantly high. If you go by scientific evidence, there are positive results but in animals. So, all the hype you see is just based on anecdotal, not human trials. You can also do some experiments and continue using it, as studies suggest that it shows a placebo effect on users. If you are worried about safety and high, then rest assured, there isn’t any side-effect of using topical CBD creams.
How CBD Cream Helps in Controlling Pain?
Interestingly, our body has the in-built endocannabinoid system (ECS) that produces certain cannabinoids and within ECS there are two main receptors namely CB1 and CB2. The CBD and THC present in CBD products interact with these receptors, found throughout the body. CB1, found mainly in the central nervous system, plays an important role in emotion, memory, appetite, movement, and of course pain. Whereas CB2 found mainly in immune system tissues, plays a crucial role in inflammation and pain.
Also, both CB1 and CB2 are found in the skin. Research indicates that THC binds to and activates these receptors, whereas CBD acts more like a modulator to block the effects of these receptors. So, if your CBD product doesn’t have THC then it won’t have a significant effect on the nervous system, meaning you won’t feel high. But user experience says that CBD products do affect the central nervous system.
It is not just CB receptors as recent research shows that CBD affects serotonin receptors as well, thereby playing a role in depression and anxiety. The research shows that CBD interacts with adenosine receptors and even TRPV-1 receptors, known for temperature control and taste.
The complexity of the human brain and the way hormones trigger behavioral responses make it difficult to study the specific effects of CBD.
When you apply CBD cream on your skin, it interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors and decreases inflammatory response and desensitizing pain receptors. The effectiveness of topical application in managing pain as compared to oral intake is hotly debated in the user community.
If you are really interested in knowing how CBD cream works then you have to understand the nervous system and how the chemical interacts with our neural network.
What Research Says About CBD Creams
Frankly, there aren’t many researches done specifically to know about the effectiveness of CBD cream in pain relief. According to a Journal of Pain Research study, the application of CBD topical can reduce the pain in animals. Another study suggests that cream with CBD and THC helps in relieving pain for conditions like multiple sclerosis.
The scientific community believes that post-workout or overexertion induced pain has a pro-inflammatory component, so CBD could help in managing it, but more research is required to make it official. Since the formulation of CBD cream is topical it might not show desired results in soreness located deeper. To get the desired effect, you might have to apply a heavy dose of the cream, which will be a big burden on your pocket.
In a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Pain, researchers found that the application of CBD topical on rats showed a significant reduction in inflammation and lower pain behavior. But, it was only in those cases where the dose was high.
Another major concern of the scientific community is the lack of regulatory clarity on CBD and THC composition in creams and how much of the compound would give desired relief. So, currently, it is more like a hit and trial mechanism to get desired relief from pain and inflammation.
Well, Think About These Factors Before You Buy CBD Cream
The use of CBD is beneficial for mental and physical health, but when it comes to CBD cream for pain relief, you have to be a little cautious about CBD concentration in the product. If you think the highest amount of CBD will give instant results, then rethink because there is no evidence to support such claims. It is all about systematic application rather than truly local and there is no prescribed dose limit for desired pain relief.
If you are under some medication then it is better to consult your physician first and start CBD cream treatment accordingly. Although it is topical, it might impact your appetite, body heat, and mood.
But, as compared to CBD tincture, it is perfectly safe with almost zero side effects. CBD is hydrophobic and lipophilic, so topical application won’t give you any sense of high. Since there is no FDA regulation, manufacturers might add enhancers to make it more potent.
Since the market is flooded with contaminated and adulterated CBD products, you have to be very careful about ingredients and composition. Before buying CBD cream, you should look for the source of CBD, THC level, and third-party lab test reports.
Although it is federally legal to carry and consume hemp-derived CBD products, including CBD cream, there are some restrictions regarding THC level and carrying limits. You should better check state laws on CBD and buy products that meet the standard. If legally permissible, you should buy cream with 1:1 CBD to THC composition. To get better results, look for other cannabinoid BCP (beta-caryophyllene) in the ingredients list.
Technically speaking, pain is a defensive response to keep you safe for bigger dangers. You know how CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors and works to reduce inflammation and pain. There might be a lack of evidence to show the effectiveness of CBD cream in humans, but real-life experience suggests that if high-quality CBD cream is applied systematically on a regular basis, one gets amazing results in just a few days, if not instantly. There is nothing wrong with trying CBD cream, but start small and make it regular to manage your pain effectively.