CBD Cream for Pain Relief
CBD for pain is an increasingly popular option for relief. This plant-based, non-psychoactive compound is safe and uses the body’s natural endocannabinoid system to produce its beneficial effects.
In this research-backed article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about using CBD-infused creams for pain management.
How Can CBD Creams Help with Pain?
Unlike other forms of CBD, such as oils and capsules, CBD-based creams don’t reach the bloodstream. However, they still produce similar pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects by interacting with cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors are found throughout the human body, including the skin, which is the largest organ.
Discovered by researchers in the early 1990s, this important biological system consists of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by the body), and special enzymes.
The ECS regulates essential processes such as immunity, stress, metabolism, pain, appetite, and inflammation to help maintain homeostasis — a state of internal balance. As such, activation of this system has the potential to produce a wide range of beneficial effects.
Although CBD does not interact with this system directly, it has been shown to inhibit the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, a key endocannabinoid. In doing so, CBD can increase endocannabinoid levels and support the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects of the ECS.
Research on CBD and Pain
Research on CBD’s pain-relieving effects has only recently begun. However, the findings are promising, particularly for studies using whole-plant cannabis preparations containing CBD alongside other cannabinoids.
To begin with, multiple studies in animals have reported reductions of pain and inflammation. For example, in one 2007 study, CBD reduced inflammatory and neuropathic pain in rats.
In a similar 2016 study, researchers from the University of Kentucky examined the effects of a topical CBD gel in rats with arthritis. The gel reduced pain and inflammation in the affected joints without producing side effects, leading the researchers to conclude that “topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation.”
Meanwhile, a 2006 human study by Britisher researchers looked at the benefits of Sativex, a drug containing a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC. A total of 58 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were given a placebo or Sativex for 5 weeks. Only the Sativex group experienced significant improvements in pain. Similar results were reported in a 2018 study of Sativex in people with chronic pain from multiple sclerosis.
More importantly, a 2015 review paper examined the findings of 28 clinical studies on the pain-relieving effects of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. This paper concluded that “There was moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain.”
In sum, there’s a growing body of research evidence showing that CBD and other cannabinoids may be useful for various kinds of pain, including pain caused by arthritis and other chronic conditions. However, it’s important to stress that more human studies are needed.
CBD for Women’s Pain Concerns
CBD holds great potential to help with everyday female pain concerns that are not adequately addressed by standard solutions. The best example of this is menstrual pain, which often seems like something that’s completely out of a woman’s control. Both CBD creams and oil can help relieve this pain by activating cannabinoid receptors.
Besides, by engaging the endocannabinoid system, CBD promotes whole-body balance, helping ease related symptoms and underlying causes of menstrual cramps, such as hormonal imbalance and inflammation.
These systematic effects help explain why CBD creams and oil can help with virtually any kind of pain, including bikini shaving burns, waxing, and foot pain from wearing high heels. More importantly, CBD can help women ease pain in a natural and safe way.
How to Use CBD Creams for Pain
If you’re using a CBD cream for pain, be sure to apply a generous amount and massage it into the desired area.
Keep in mind that CBD cream dosage depends on many factors, such as individual body chemistry, body weight, and the severity of your symptoms. As such, there’s no universal dose that will work for everyone. However, you can always add more cream later.
When CBD is applied topically, it does not enter the bloodstream. Instead, its effects are felt in the specific area where it was applied.
This makes CBD creams and other topical CBD preparations ideal for dealing with localized muscle or joint pain or skin-related issues. For example, you can apply CBD cream to an arthritic knee, a cut, or use it to dull shoulder pain after a workout. The effects of CBD cream tend to last for many hours.
Having said that, CBD creams are not the best choice for pain that’s occurring deep inside or throughout the whole body. In this case, you would get better results from preparations that distribute CBD to all tissues, such as CBD oil.
How To Use CBD Oil for Pain
Unlike a cream, CBD oil is absorbed directly into the blood vessels under the tongue. As a result, CBD taken in this way reaches systemic circulation, making it ideal for pain that’s affecting the whole body, such as exercise-related soreness and inflammation. CBD oil can also help with headaches and other types of pain that a cream wouldn’t be effective for.
CBD oil is relatively fast-acting, lasts for upwards of six hours, and allows for effective absorption and dosage control, making it the most popular way to take CBD.
Pairing CBD Cream With Other Products
If you’re experiencing significant pain in a specific part of the body, you can experiment with combining CBD cream with products that reach the blood, such as CBD oil. This way, you can get significant relief from the topical application while supporting longer-term effects and overall wellness from CBD acting inside the body.
CBD: A Natural Option for Pain Relief
People have been using cannabis for pain relief for thousands of years. Today, many are continuing this practice in a safer, non-intoxicating way by using hemp-based CBD preparations.
These products provide a natural option for all kinds of pain, inflammation, and discomfort. Better yet, CBD preparations holistically support your health by working together with the endocannabinoid system, which means you can get other health benefits along the way.
Whether you end up using a CBD cream, oil, or other CBD product for pain, it’s best to go with a full-spectrum preparation. Full-spectrum CBD products contain all of the naturally-occurring compounds in hemp, including numerous cannabinoids and terpenes, a type of aromatic plant substances with beneficial effects.
All of these compounds work together with CBD to produce the “entourage effect” — the enhanced effectiveness of whole-plant cannabis in comparison to CBD or THC-only formulations. Since being discovered in 1998, this effect has been demonstrated by multiple studies.