For hundreds of years, people across the world have reached for cannabis to treat pain. In 2018, this hasn’t changed; in fact, now more than ever before do we have such a vast range of cannabis products to choose from!
When it comes to chronic back pain, which affects one half of all Americans, knowing which cannabis product could be the best fit can be a tricky endeavor. When faced with such a plethora of choices (and conflicting anecdotal reviews at the click of a button), the search can certainly be overwhelming!
Probably two of the most popular options for those suffering from chronic back pain is CBD oil and topicals, both of which are high in CBD, and neither of which will leave you feeling high.
So which is best? In this article, we take a look at CBD oils vs. CBD topicals as the best treatment for back pain – check it out below!
Back Pain 101
Unlike many conditions that cannabis is used to treat, back pain has no prejudice and can affect anyone at any age! It can also occur for a range of reasons, from injury to bad posture or other underlying conditions; there are so many occurrences that could lead to back pain, some of which are listed below:
- Sprained ligaments
- Strained muscles
- Ruptured discs
- Irritated joints
- Blood clots
- Kidney infections
- Kidney stones
While many cases of back pain are short-lived, there are plenty of cases where back pain gets progressively worse, and this can be incredibly debilitating.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, which is a massive indicator of just how severe back pain can be!
Cannabis for Back Pain
With people reaching for a joint to ease symptoms of pain all over the world, it seems no wonder that more and more of us are opting for the fast-acting results associated with cannabis. However, with such a large number of people suffering from back pain, there has been a shift over to non-psychoactive variants of the treatment, which is where CBD oil and CBD topicals come in.
For those suffering from chronic back pain, cannabis may not be a viable option – especially if you are still working or have other responsibilities that require you NOT to be high as a kite!
So what are the medicinal alternatives? Well, luckily there are a number to choose from – and up there among the most popular are CBD oil and CBD topicals – but what are they, and how do they differ from each other?
CBD Oil vs CBD Topicals for Back Pain: What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychoactive compound found in the marijuana plant that over the years has grown in popularity. Arguably more sought after now than THC, CBD has been shown to have some potential in treating a range of medical ailments.
CBD oil is any carrier oil that contains a concentrate of cannabidiol extract. Different oils vary in strength, and can be used in many ways. But what makes the product so popular – and more importantly, can it actually provide relief for back pain?
Studies have revealed that CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is vital for regulating many of our bodily functions – from core temperature to the way we feel pain, emotion, hunger, and more.
When consumed, CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors found throughout this system to help combat anything that may be going on that shouldn’t be. So in the case of back pain, taking CBD might be able to help our bodies fight off the symptoms of pain (including inflammation) much more effectively.
How to Use CBD Oil for Back Pain
CBD oil can be consumed in many ways, so this is down to personal preference. Many patients do not like the taste of CBD oil (let’s face it, it does the job but it doesn’t taste too great), so they may opt to put a few drops into their food to mask the flavor.
For those seeking a quick hit of relief, applying a couple of drops underneath the tongue seems to be the fastest way of benefiting from the cannabinoid. There are beds of tiny blood vessels called capillaries under the tongue, so this allows for almost immediate absorption directly into the bloodstream, without having to go through any of the metabolic breakdown processes of the digestive system.
CBD Topicals vs CBD Oil for Back Pain: What are CBD Topicals?
CBD topicals have become more popular over recent years as we have moved further away from the traditional ways of using cannabis to treat our ailments. But what exactly are cannabis topicals, and how are they used for back pain?
Not surprisingly, a CBD topical is a cannabis-infused ointment, cream, balm, or lotion that is used externally on the skin for localized relief. Over recent years we have seen topicals being used to help with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis; however, this is not their only application.
So, can a topical cause you to get high? The short answer is no. Topicals absorb through the skin, potentially offering the anti-inflammatory benefits associated with cannabis; however, they do not reach the bloodstream, but merely penetrate the CB2 receptors in the affected area, so no high! (And of course, CBD topicals extracted from hemp don’t have any THC at all, so they wouldn’t get you high even if they did reach the bloodstream).
However, it is important to note here that while topicals TYPICALLY won’t penetrate through to the bloodstream, these aren’t the same as transdermal patches, which do pass cannabinoids through to the bloodstream and can cause a high (if they have high amounts of THC).
For those suffering from back pain, topicals provide a more “luxurious” method of treatment (as most topicals combine cannabis with other essential oils to provide extra relief) that can be delivered directly to the affected and inflamed area.
How to Use CBD Topicals for Back Pain
If you are among those who dislike the taste of CBD oil, topicals can offer another alternative. Whether oil, ointment or balm, topicals can be applied the same way, directly to the skin of the affected area.
There are many types of topicals with other ingredients to target particular issues, so shop around to find the best product for you.
CBD Oil vs. CBD Topicals for Back Pain – Which is Best?
While it is possible that both CBD oil and CBD topicals could be used to help treat back pain and discomfort, is there one that rules over the other regarding efficacy?
Well, when we consider the way both topicals and CBD oil are absorbed into the body, it will stand to reason that for overall benefits, CBD oil may come out on top. Rather than targeting one specific problem area, CBD oil can provide its purported benefits across the entire body, not only potentially treating the pain, but also possibly offering other general benefits.
However, as we have mentioned – plenty of people prefer to treat the affected area as and when necessary, in which case CBD topicals would seem like the obvious solution.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil vs CBD Cream for Back Pain
Regarding variety, it is clear that CBD topicals offer the broadest range of choice for long-suffering patients of back pain. You can opt for CBD-rich products that contain everything you need to help ease the pain, plus added extras!
That being said, however, CBD oil is the most popular cannabis product for a reason – it can be super effective, and takes effect very quickly given the fact that your are administering it directly into the bloodstream. Ultimately, of course, the choice is yours.