Most people suffer muscle aches at some time or another. The common way of easing the pain is to use a topical ointment, like Icy Hot. But recently, cannabis creams are getting the hype on the market.
This new type of topical ointment contains cannabidiol (CBD) from the cannabis plant. It promises to help reduce acute pain and muscle aches. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive which means that it won’t get you high.
According to science, cannabis is a good pain reliever. However, results may vary depending on how you use it. Here are the facts about this new pain relief medication and how it compares with Icy Hot.
What Is A CBD-Based Topical Cream?
This new topical cream is made from steeping cannabis flowers in some type of oil- coconut or olive. Active compounds (THC, CBD, or both), are then extracted and then combined with other therapeutic ingredients, like arnica or other essential oils.
If you check the ingredients list, almost everything is natural. This means that formula is safe to use. And since they’re made to be absorbed on the top layer of the skin and not your bloodstream, there’s no chance of getting high.
Although this type of topical is safe, there’s one big issue: There’s no scientific evidence to prove that cannabis-based creams are more effective than normal topical creams, like Icy Hot. At this moment, this cannabis-infused topical cream is all marketing.
How A CBD-Infused Cream Works
Although science and laws haven’t caught up with the fad yet, many researchers are testing the effectiveness of the cream to relieve pain. CBD could help control the pain in a couple of ways, such as:
- Raising the natural endocannabinoids
- Reducing inflammatory response
- Desensitizing pain receptors
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that help maintain the internal balance of the body. They can recognize and control your hunger, pain, and memory. CBD blocks metabolism to increase your pain-relieving endocannabinoid levels.
Another way of relieving pain focus on the damage you endure after working out. During strength training, the muscles are torn causing muscle sores. CBD has the ability to reduce the release of certain proinflammatory signals, hence lessening the pain.
Finally, CBD has the ability to activate the TrpV1 pain receptors. These receptors determine and control your body temperature. When activated, they get hot and desensitizes those nerve endings that sense the pain.
Scientific Evidence And Issues
The potential of CBD-based topical ointment to relieve pain is promising, but there are no scientific studies on humans to support this claim yet.
A study published in the Journal of Pain Research verifies that cannabinoid topicals can minimize inflammation-related pain in animals. Science also discovered that THC- and CBD-based topical cream can reduce the pain for certain medical conditions, like multiple sclerosis.
However, there’s little data to support the claim that CBD is effective in relieving chronic pain and acute pain, like post-workout. The pain that results after a workout has pro-inflammatory component so it’s logical to think that CBD gives relief, but no research has proven this claim yet.
Another concern about topical creams is their inability to treat soreness on the muscles that are located deep within. In general, topical creams only reaches within 1 centimeter of the skin.
You also need to rub a lot of the cream because the fatty tissue has a limit in holding the oil. Out of diffusion, some of the creams might perforate down to your skeletal muscle. Again, no study has confirmed this yet.
This takes us the next issue: There’s no rule around the exact amount of active CBD or THC is in every cream or the amount of the compound required to experience relief. So, you can’t be sure whether all CBD-infused topical creams are great.
Should You Try It?
Although there’s a lack of scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of CBD-infused creams, it’s still worth giving it a shot. Some of these creams have infused other scientifically-proven analgesic compounds to give pain relief.
Any cream that feels warm and cold desensitizes the nerves to pain. Plus, massaging the affected area enhances circulation and minimizes muscle spasms. There’s no health risk involved in using CBD-infused creams so you can give them a try.
How To Buy CBD-Infused Creams
Before buying any CBD-infused topical cream, check the laws of your state. If it has legalized the use of CBD and THC, look for a compound with a ratio of 1:1. Look for beta-caryophyllene in the ingredient list because they give better results.
Here is a completely legal one that uses CBD derived from Hemp Oil.
If you live in a state that bans the use of THC, choose creams that only use CBD. Look for additional ingredients, like camphor, lemongrass, or menthol. Since there’s no standardized testing on this product, buy from trusted brands.