CBD is becoming big business – this much is obvious. Products like cannabidiol-infused creams, lotions, gummies, and capsules have made companies tens of millions of dollars. Some companies are even going so far as to say CBD cream for pain is “nature’s best pain reliever.”
From a healthcare perspective, these claims lack the clinical data — and the requisite FDA approval — needed to be considered reliable from a healthcare perspective. However, there has been no shortage of scientific studies suggesting that CBD may indeed provide excellent natural pain relief.
NASEM: ‘Substantial evidence exists that cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults.’
One of the most recent examples was a report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The report, which discussed the general health effects of cannabis, suggested there is “conclusive evidence” that cannabinoids are “effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults.”
Of course, CBD is just one of hundreds of known cannabinoids in cannabis. Also, there can be great disparities between products like high-THC cannabis oil, and hemp-based CBD oils. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some popular CBD creams for pain and see if any of the claims being made are substantial.
What Is CBD Cream?
In answering the question ‘what is CBD cream,’ you won’t be shocked to learn that it is simply moisturizing cream infused with cannabidiol extract. The end product can be blended with a variety of natural ingredients, some of which are purported to boost the “pain-relieving effects” of the CBD cream.
If you take a look at the CBD cream ingredients label from a prominent supplier like PureKana, for instance, you’ll notice the product has a host of additional compounds along with the cannabidiol. For example, you’ll see ingredients like cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, distilled water, citric acid, vitamin E, and more.
The majority of these ingredients are simply requisite material for producing the lotion. In terms of “active” ingredients that actually allow the CBD pain cream to… well… lower pain levels, the cannabidiol content (and its anti-inflammatory properties) is going to be the primary culprit.
But why would you use a CBD lotion for pain instead of a regular old CBD oil? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages.
How CBD Pain Cream Differs from CBD Oil
The most obvious difference between CBD pain cream and CBD oil is the way you administer them. CBD oil is taken sublingually (below the tongue), while CBD cream is applied topically to the skin.
As a result, using a CBD cream for pain will work a little differently physiologically than using a standard CBD oil tincture. There are different schools of thought in regard to how long it takes for CBD to take effect, particularly when discussing methods of consumption.
CBD pain creams have slightly different physiological applications than ‘standard’ CBD oil tinctures.
Most people believe that sublingual consumption results in faster effects. Applying a topical CBD lotion to the skin might take longer, but in some instances, its effects are also known to last longer.
However, you will find users who swear that CBD cream applied to the skin absorbs faster and offers more targeted pain relief than oral CBD tinctures. It is important to note that most CBD creams don’t act transdermally – meaning they don’t pass through the skin and into the bloodstream. Rather, CBD topicals are absorbed into the top layer of the skin and used for localized relief. (This is why they are classified as ‘topicals’).
General Advantages of CBD and Other Cannabinoids
When you take CBD cream for pain, you’re taking advantage of the compound’s anti-inflammatory properties. One study compared the levels of inflammation in cannabis users to those who had never consumed. The study, which involved 9,000 people, analyzed the influence of marijuana on C-reactive protein (CRP) – a significant marker of inflammation. (CRP is also often linked with an increased risk of heart disease).
Researchers found that marijuana smokers who had smoked in the previous 30 days had lower levels of CRP than people who didn’t smoke. In other words, it appeared that the presence of cannabinoids decreased the influence of CRP, and thereby decreased inflammation and pain levels. Other research studies over the past several years have suggested similar results.
What Are the Benefits of Using CBD Cream for Pain?
Folks who prefer CBD cream for pain appreciate the fact that it can be applied directly to the source of a specific problem area (i.e. joint areas, lower back, sore muscles, etc). CBD oil, on the other hand, is more general in terms of its application.
Simply put, while CBD oils are commonly taken for things like stress, anxiety, and generalized chronic pain, they don’t have the same localized effect as topical CBD creams and lotions. Arthritis is a perfect example, and many have found adequate day-to-day relief through quality cannabidiol topicals.
Many have found adequate day-to-day pain relief through topical CBD creams, lotions, and ointments.
In terms of physiology, the CBD component in topical creams, gels, and lotions interact with cannabinoid receptors in our skin. These receptors (namely CB1 and CB2 receptors) are believed to influence a wide range of pain response mechanisms – including the inflammation response that is responsible for nearly all sensations of pain.
Furthermore, many quality CBD pain creams incorporate additional ingredients that provide a soothing sensation on swollen joints, sore muscles, etc. This could lead to improved mobility and improved general health and well-being. Also, CBD lotions have been known to provide beneficial results on several skin conditions, including conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
3 of the Best CBD Creams for Pain
The majority of CBD creams from popular companies like CWhemp and GreenRoads contain essential oils that soothe the skin. As discussed, however, it is the cannabidiol component and its anti-inflammatory effects that actually provide the pain-relieving qualities. With that in mind, be sure to check lab reports for verified CBD content before buying any one particular brand.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that CBD is not an FDA-approved pain medication. In fact, none of the products below have been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition.
1 – PureKana’s CBD Ointment
This 3.4-ounce tub contains 600mg of CBD and costs $80. It contains a wide range of natural ingredients and is infused with premium CBD-rich hemp oil grown in Kentucky. Certainly one of our favorite products on the market. PureKana also recently introduced a CBD Menthol Roll-On Gel for muscle relief, which is also $80.
- Official Website: www.purekana.com
- 5% CBD coupon: 5OFFCBD1
2 – Elixinol’s CBD Topical Balm Range
Elixinol’s CBD Hemp Balm costs $29.99 and contains 125mg of CBD. This classic formula offers outstanding skin protection and incorporates the synergistic effects of full-spectrum hemp extract. (Full-spectrum hemp extract contains additional terpenes and phytocannabinoids along with the CBD compound).
- Official Website: www.elixinol.com
- 10% CBD coupon: 10OFF591
3 – GreenRoads’ Muscle and Joint CBD Relief Cream
This paraben-free, pharmaceutical-based product from GreenRoads contains 150mg of CBD and costs $39.99. It is infused with menthol and is designed to use every 4-6 hours. The ointment also contains chamomile and lavender extract for a soothing, therapeutic aroma.
- Official Website: www.greenroadsworld.com
Final Thoughts on CBD Cream for Pain
All in all, too many Americans are taking prescription painkillers – this is evident simply by looking at data on the ongoing opioid epidemic. Many times, prescription drugs cause more problems than they solve. We are certainly not making the claim that painkillers are ineffective, or that CBD cream for pain can (or should) act as a replacement.
However, there are likely millions of people out there who could benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of a good CBD cream. They might even be able to reduce their dependence on prescription-strength medication. Quality CBD creams and lotions are safe for use, and unlike harsh painkillers, are largely free of adverse side effects.