Cannabidiol (CBD) has been flooding the health and wellness industries for the past couple of years, and now the natural compound is taking on the cosmetics and skin care industry. One new product which is causing a stir is CBD pain relieving skin cream; people want to know how this product works and if it really is effective for managing pain.
CBD is a cannabinoid taken from the cannabis plant (or more specifically, hemp). The other well known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which gives the high effect in marijuana. However, CBD products have almost untraceable amounts of THC in, so there is no psychoactive effect.
Cannabinoids take effect in the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system which is comprised of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes which breakdown and synthesize cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are produced within the human body, whereas phytocannabinoids (like CBD and THC) are produced naturally by plants. The endocannabinoid system can impact a great number of our daily experiences, from how we experience pain, to our moods.
When it comes to pain, CBD solutions have been a promising new avenue for several reasons. Primarily, CBD has been found to be a natural anti-inflammatory.1 Inflammatory issues and diseases can range from muscle damage due to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). CBD demonstrates immunomodulatory effects which can aid pain and inflammation, along with endocannabinoids. Additionally, CBD can improve sleep and promote relaxation2 which aid the healing process.
Initially, CBD was only available in the form of an oil which was taken orally and then absorbed into the bloodstream. However, CBD creams are absorbed transdermally which allow the drug to be delivered directly to the pain. Researchers have also found that endocannabinoid receptors exist in the skin and in nerve fibres,3 promoting the case for transdermal application of CBD further.
As this product is relatively new on the market, there are limited studies into the proven effectiveness of CBD creams, salves, gels, and balms for managing pain. Most of the studies which have been carried out thus far either involve animal models or were preclinical. Nevertheless, a study of transdermal CBD application on rats with arthritis showed promising results.4 Self-reported success stories are the basis for public knowledge on the effectiveness of CBD cream for pain relief, one which received wide attention was the New York Times article on using CBD cream to relieve foot pain after wearing high heels.5
To find out if CBD cream for pain relief might work for you, trying and testing is the best way to learn - and this is a reliable option due to its safety profile and lack of psychoactive effects. Look for a high quality product from a trusted CBD manufacturer and supplier, rather than a gimmick item. You’ll be able to glean a company's safety, quality and reliability from third-party laboratory test certificates which should be displayed on their website or in store.