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.)
This brings up an underlying issue with all CBD and hemp products: There is no regulation around how much active CBD or THC is in each cream or how much of the compound is needed to see relief. Read: "If you have three products that say 1 percent CBD infused in coconut oil, one could be great and the other two could be crap—that's the reality of cannabis medicine right now," says Gerdeman. (See: How to Buy Safe and Effective CBD Products)
What Is Hemp Pain Relief Cream?
The fatty tissue can only hold so much oil, so, theoretically, if you apply enough of a cannabis cream to your skin, it might leak down into your skeletal muscle just out of diffusion, adds Sexton. But there's no study to show this, and that means you're going to be rubbing on a whole lot of the stuff.
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.
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?)
Today, CBD cream and hemp oil cream are sold almost everywhere, which can hinder a consumer’s ability to find trusted, reliable, evidence-based information on the differences between topicals and creams derived from hemp.
Evidence from studies and research suggests that CBD creams may reduce inflammation and joint pain. The Arthritis Foundation has even released CBD guidelines helping the 54 million people in the US that deal with the pain of arthritis daily.
The Truth About Hemp Creams
The quick and simple answer is that hemp creams made from hemp seeds generally contain zero CBD. Even large retailers like Amazon.com are known for promoting products made with hemp seed oil, which is simply labeled “hemp oil” to confuse people with hemp oil products containing CBD. That means your best bet is to do your research on brands and really read the ingredients. True CBD cream will mention terms like CBD Oil, CBD Isolate, Full Spectrum Hemp Oil, Broad Spectrum Hemp Oil, etc on the ingredients list, rather than Hemp Seed Oil, Hemp Seed, and other similar terms alluding to the fact that it’s made from CBD inert seeds, rather than the CBD, terpene, and flavonoid rich areola (flower) part of the hemp plant. With many retailers and brands intentionally misusing the phrase Hemp Oil to mean Hemp Seed Oil, it’s a good idea to clarify with the retailer, or find one that mentions some of the above terms or is clearly a trusted CBD company like Design Wellness or others.
Design Wellness always recommends consumers research products, ingredients, and companies before making purchases. First, use products on small patches of skin to test for any allergenic reactions and keep track of the products that work for you. We offer the best in CBD topical creams and balms, as well as tinctures, gummies, and more!
This article has been medically reviewed by Ashley Jordan Ferira, PhD, RDN, the Senior Editor of Health & Wellness Strategy at Remedy Review, an independent CBD reviews site. Dr. Ferira completed her PhD in Foods & Nutrition at The University of Georgia, where she researched the role of vitamin D in pediatric cardiometabolic disease. The products featured in this article were tested at ProVerde Laboratories in Milford, MA and Avazyme, Inc. in Durham, NC.
These are some of the most important considerations when selecting most CBD oil products, including topicals like a CBD pain cream.
Now that we've explored the background on CBD topicals and how they might aid in pain management, let's dive into our top five product recommendations for the best CBD cream for pain. Continue on to learn more about CBD cream usage and selecting the product right for you.
Do topical CBD products have side effects?
Available in 17 oz. pump bottle
In this article, we'll look at the best CBD creams for pain, which have been medically reviewed by Ashley Jordan Ferira, PhD, RDN.
Available in 2 oz tub
Plant People prides itself in selling high-quality hemp products, which are organic, lab-tested, non-GMO, and gluten free. The brand's Soothe+ Balm topical is made with full spectrum hemp extract that includes minor cannabinoids, including cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG). Plant People is also a certified B Corp, making this a pain cream from a top-notch organization.