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Biology lesson aside, all of this has yet to be proven in scientific studies on humans.
"When it comes to cannabis-based topicals for muscle soreness or other pain relief, there's absolutely no reason why it should be a big deal to try," he says.
But there is an argument to be made for simply believing the CBD adds that special something. "Scientific literature says there's a 33 percent chance of the placebo effect helping people, so for some, just using a cream they believe can help will provide some relief," adds Dr. Colberg.
How CBD and Cannabis Might Help Pain Relief
The second method of pain relief centers around the damage you do when you work out. When you strength train, you create micro-tears in your muscles, which is why you feel sore as you heal. Once your immune cells detect damage, they release inflammatory mediators in order to repair the tissue. CBD, though has the ability to limit the release of some proinflammatory signals, thereby helping with pain without thwarting the healing entirely, explains Gerdeman. (Related: Is Working Out When You're Sore a Bad Idea?)
The other issue? Topical hemp pain relief products and cannabis creams will treat anatomical structures within 1 centimeter of the skin—and the muscle where your actual soreness is located is going to be deeper than that, explains Ricardo Colberg, M.D., a physician at Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham, AL. (The good news: Since it doesn't need to be absorbed deeply, CBD and cannabis could do amazing things as a skincare ingredient.)
Science has shown that cannabis is an effective pain reliever, reinforced in a massive new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. But there's a big difference between ingesting cannabis or its individual chemicals orally and absorbing it topically through your skin.
Chances are if you're on this website and reading this story you currently have an achy muscle or seven somewhere on your body. You might be familiar with foam rolling, warm compresses, or even ice baths as a means of easing muscle soreness, but what about hemp cream for pain relief?
The hemp plant naturally contains at least trace amounts of THC as well as various other cannabinoids and terpenes. These natural plant components, including CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC, both loan THC some of its efficacy and take away some of its worst side effects. They work together well with CBD, too.
Medterra is also among the safest CBD topical options on the market for any user because each roll-on or pump bottle is made with 99.6 percent pure CBD isolate—meaning it is entirely THC-free. Even the “weaker” strength of this cooling cream offers a quick sense of relief that soothes joint and muscle pain away.
Each bottle also contains plenty of natural ingredients to nourish and soothe the skin, such as organic Shea butter and beeswax. The CBD lotion penetrates the skin easily, allowing the CBD to work. We loved CBDfx hemp-based CBD pain cream for pain and swelling in the knees especially, and for achy neck and shoulders.
Shop Aspen Green Pain Relief Body Balm
Plus, you get the calming, skin-soothing benefits of bergamot, camphor, and peppermint essential oils thrown in there. Taken together, that’s a refreshing yet relieving blend for the skin and mood.
Aspen Green farms and processes its 100% USDA certified organic hemp in the same location—all in the company’s careful hands. Each 2 oz (60mL) container of Pain Relief Body Balm has about 600 mg of CBD, along with other phytocannabinoids such as CBDA, CBC, CBN, CBG, and just a small amount of THC—less than the .3 percent federally legal maximum for hemp.
Since 2015, Koi CBD has become a major player on the CBD market. The goal of the founders was to bring CBD to more people by bringing true traceability to their products.
The biggest disadvantage to CBD topicals is that when you add up cost and lower bioavailability—and compared to both edibles/tinctures and vaping CBD, topicals have lower bioavailability—you end up with less CBD for more money. This is almost always true, unless you are specifically treating your skin, or a spot on a muscle or joint that is simply more amenable to that sort of treatment.