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.)
There is an argument to be made for the simple fact that science hasn't caught up to the trend (and laws) of cannabis yet. (Here's what research has to say about the potential benefits of CBD and cannabis so far.) And there are doubtlessly researchers testing the efficacy of CBD creams for pain relief as we speak.
How CBD and Cannabis Might Help Pain Relief
Finally, you have receptors called TrpV1 that detect and regulate your body temperature. When activated, they put out heat, soothing your pain receptors. Using this channel, CBD makes these pain receptors hyperactive for a period of time, causing them to get hot, desensitizing them and downregulating those pain-sensing nerve endings.
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.
"The pain and stiffness that comes post-workout or from overexertion certainly has a pro-inflammatory component to it, so it's reasonable to think CBD or other cannabinoids might have benefits, but we have no research to support this yet," adds Gerdeman.
If you read the ingredient list, often everything in the jar is straight from mother earth. As long as that's indeed the case with the cannabis cream you have your eye on, the formula is immensely safe, chemically, says Gregory Gerdeman, Ph.D., neurophysiologist who researches cannabinoid biology and pharmacology at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL. And since hemp pain relief creams are formulated to be topical (absorbing into the top layer of skin) and not transdermal (which would pass through the skin and into your bloodstream) there's no risk of getting high, explains Gerdeman. (P.S. Here's How Marijuana Affects Athletic Performance.)
Brand reputation. This isn’t always easy to suss out, and it’s not just about size or longevity. Check real reviews and consumer ratings where they exist.
Itching. CBD can block itching in the nerve endings and has been shown to help chronic, treatment-resistant itching.
Anything called CBD cream is just a cream-based topical infused with CBD. Most high-quality health and beauty creams are about half oil and half water to preserve moisture in the skin. Some CBD topicals might also include other minor cannabinoids, other terpenes, or even other ingredients to help the skin such as vitamin E or aloe.
How to Use CBD Cream
CBD oil contains essential fatty acids, but the right topical can bolster that hydrating nutritional value with more of the right moisturizers and other compounds. Look for additional nourishing and pain relieving ingredients like aloe vera, apricot oil, arnica, avocado oil, cocoa butter, cocoa oil, coconut oil/MCT oil, grape seed oil, lavender oil, menthol, peppermint oil, shea butter, shea oil, sweet almond oil, and vitamins A, D, and E.
Inflammation. Transdermal CBD reduces pain and inflammation in rats, making it treatment for skin issues such as rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
CBD-infused topicals include creams, balms, salves, lotions, and transdermal patches. They are designed to be applied directly to the skin for surface level relief, or in some cases for deeper muscle level pain relief, or even for things like relaxation or sleep.
Scarring. CBD may improve scarring according to one study of scar tissue patients.
While CBD and THC are closely related – they are found in the same plants and they influence each other in the body – they do not always coexist. Each cannabinoid can be isolated from the others, creating CBD isolate products devoid of THC and vice versa.
The hemp industry is highly innovative and new products are emerging all the time. However, there are a few staples you'll likely encounter when looking almost anywhere. When selecting hemp products, you might come across some of the following types:
Phyotocannabinoids and endocannabinoids are similar compounds, the main difference between them being their source. So far, researchers have discovered two endocannabinoids: 2-arachidonoylglycerol, which is commonly abbreviated as 2-AG, and anandamide. Dozens of phytocannabinoids are known to scientists.
Types of CBD Products
Like CBD, THC is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. THC is found in elevated levels in marijuana. Cannabis plants which contain 0.3% THC or less are considered hemp.
A note on a name: The terms cannabis and marijuana are often used interchangeably. Cannabis covers the same category of flowering plants that includes cannabis with THC levels that exceed 0.3%, also referred to as “marijuana,“ and cannabis with 0.3% THC or less, also referred to as “hemp.” At Prima, we use the term “marijuana” to distinguish between cannabis with THC levels that exceed 0.3% and “hemp”.
There are many different types of cannabis products available on the market. Some contain significant amounts of THC, some contain trace amounts, and others contain none at all. When choosing a product, it is key to understand whether other cannabinoids, including THC, are present.
Cannabinoids like CBD and THC interact with a series of receptors in the human brain and body known collectively as the endogenous cannabinoid system, or the endocannabinoid system for short.* The ECS contains endocannabinoids produced by your body, cannabinoid receptors with which the endocannabinoids interact, and enzymes which help your body break down and recycle endocannabinoids*. This system’s main role is to promote homeostasis, or your body’s natural and balanced way of being, and to keep your immune system and cells healthy*.