The human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates appetite, mood, and pain and pleasure sensations. Cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD can activate our body’s ECS by binding to cell receptors in the skin, muscle tissues, and nerves. This interaction explains why the most common uses for CBD cream are chronic pain and inflammation.
CBD-infused topicals can be made at home using coconut oil or shea butter, your preferred CBD oil, and enough beeswax to reach your desired consistency. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What is CBD cream used for?
CBD-infused topicals include lotions, salves, creams, or transdermal patches that are applied on the skin for relief on the surface or even deeper in muscle tissue. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
When topicals are applied to the skin, they can potentially benefit not only the surface of the skin, but also below. When CBD is applied topically to the skin, it penetrates both the dermal and subdermal layers of the skin.
Some might consider CBD transdermal patches a topical application as well. But since patches have ingredients and technology designed to propel the CBD beyond the skin and into the bloodstream, we haven’t included them here.
Unlike Wildflower, Populum comes in gel form. Also: It’s artic. Kind of like a more aggressive Vick’s Vaporub—so much so that you will definitely need to wash your hands after application. (The last thing you need is to accidentally rub your eyes with that stuff still on your digits.) But it’s effective—despite its relatively low dose of CBD. And a little goes a long way. Use it for minor aches and inconveniences—like when you find yourself stiff because you’ve been sitting on your far-from-ergonomic work chair most of the day. And if you find yourself really hurting, I recommend using a topical that contains both THC and CBD. (More on that below.)
“I have treated many patients with chronic conditions with full spectrum CBD and attained great results,” Dr. Amin says. “I also believe the public needs to understand that CBD works in conjunction with THC. Usually this requires at least 3–5% THC to work for serious forms of pain and more chronic medical conditions. I have patients come in with chronic and severe pain expecting to have their pain alleviated with just CBD. Although CBD works well for pain, in many situations patients with severe pain need to have some THC. [The cannabinoids] work synergistically to help ease severe pain.”
“CBD is extremely anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. A normal person may use it to prevent conditions such as arthritis or even topically to prevent acne breakouts,” Dr. Shivani Amin, a physician and cannabis expert who is a member of the AMMPA (American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association), says. “I think CBD shows great promise for the future. It all boils down to educating the public about the correct usage and understanding the plant better.”
BASKIN BODY WELLNESS CBD CREAM (400MG; $60)
This is every woman’s dream come true. High heels are just not made the way they used to be—stilettos these days are narrower, higher, and pointier. Remember: Louboutin does not concern himself with the comfort of his designs. (He said so himself in the documentary and several other news outlets.) Gone are the days of the sensible heels our grandmothers wore. But alas, sky–high footwear is a necessary evil. So Lord Jones, the wildly–popular CBD company, collaborated with Tamara Mellon to help ease that discomfort. Just dab a little solution onto your feet and wait for your skin to absorb the formula before putting on your four–inch torture device.
Just know that topicals, unlike edibles, serve a different purpose: They’re primarily for targeted surface areas to address tension, spasms, and muscle pain because CBD applied to the skin doesn’t reach your bloodstream. Think of it as spot treating problematic areas. For instance, if your lower back is shot, apply your preferred product to that area only.
In my early thirties I dabbled in SoulCycle, swimming at the 14th Street Y, and three disastrous attempts at SLT. These days it’s running loops in Central Park, Y7 yoga, and contact combat. And let me tell you, hitting a weekly fitness goal isn’t always easy—especially when you’re rapidly approaching your 40s with a few minor injuries under your belt.
I’ve long been a fan of edibles and tinctures, but for those who are skeptical of ingesting it, I’m also a big believer in topicals. From lotions and creams to balms and bath bombs, I have experimented with many different kinds—and I’ve come to rely on them for localized pain and reducing inflammation.
From a lab technician’s perspective, however, determining CBD oil strength looks a little different. According to Myron Ronay, CEO of BelCosta Labs , manufacturers test for strength at every stage of the supply chain. They test the industrial hemp plants for CBD potency, then the initial “crude” oil and again at each stage of distillation. CBD oil manufacturers do this to ensure quality, consistency and legal compliance. But it’s a test of the final product that determines what gets printed on the label.
But potency (mg/mL) is only part of the larger strength equals efficacy equation. Research is still ongoing, but most experts agree that CBD on its own is going to be less effective overall than a full-spectrum oil containing roughly the same amount of CBD.
Does Strength Matter?
In the middle of isolate-based oils and full-spectrum oils, you’ll find CBD distillates . Less refined than isolates, distillates contain more of the source plants’ cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds. But they’re more refined than broad-spectrum oils. Distillates are more common in states with legal cannabis markets, since they usually contain more THC than the 0.3% limit set by federal law with the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill.
The unique extraction and distillation process produces a completely THC-free oil, however, so this is a case where strength may require a trade-off with the benefits of the entourage effect.
Price: $379 — Find it and other MyNaturalCBD products on Weedmaps