Recently, I had a hip replacement and wondered when I returned home if I should use CBD topicals for post-surgery pain. The kind of hip replacement I had is a noninvasive anterior surgery. Unlike the more common posterior surgery, this one doesn’t cut through a bunch of big butt muscles. Rather muscles are moved to the side and the tendons stay intact. You recover faster and you don’t need physical therapy.
That said, it’s still surgery and it’s still painful. The first night at home my knee and the front of my thigh ached so much I had a hard time sleeping. I thought, what the heck, and slathered on a CBD topical specifically for joint and muscle pain. Within about 10 minutes, the pain eased enough so that I could fall asleep.
I was intrigued by how quickly the pain subsided and thought I’d see why CBD topicals for post-surgery pain seemed to help reduce pain.
What are CBD topicals?
CBD oil derived from hemp is combined with essential and carrier oils and other natural ingredients to create creams, salves, balms and lotions. These are obviously applied to the skin directly over the affected area. CBD, one of many compounds that can be extracted from hemp, is a nonpsychoactive form of cannabis. When applied to the skin, the CBD gets to work doing what it does best, create homeostasis, or balance in the body.
When you apply CBD to your skin it penetrates, stopping short of the blood stream. Deep in the tissue, it binds with the receptors and works to alleviate pain or other skin conditions.
While it’s true that other ways of using CBD can help certain conditions, in cases of pain or a skin condition, topicals act the most quickly. One of the most notable reasons it’s effective is that CBD has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that work to ease pain. Plus, using CBD topicals to manage pain is safe, with few if any side effects.
How do CBD topicals work?
We’re all equipped with an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for homeostasis in our bodies. In conjunction with receptors CB1 and CB2, the ECS is alert to abnormalities. When an imbalance is detected, the ECS kicks into gear. Understanding the effects of CBD involves examining the relationship between the receptors and ECS
Within the ECS, the CB1 and CB2 receptors, help maintain balance by regulating appetite, mood, pain and other body processes.
- CB1 is found primarily in the central nervous system, including parts of the brain and spinal cord.
- CB2 is found mainly in immune system tissues.
- Interestingly, both have been found in skin.
Our ECS is always at work. When an imbalance occurs, the ECS produces cannabinoids that interact with receptors. The chemical process that occurs targets and resolves the imbalance to restore perfect balance.
Sometimes, however, the receptors need a little help. CBD topicals to the rescue. Your body absorbs all of the hemp-derived nutrients almost instantly, allowing a quicker, more focused relief. Researchers believe that CBD doesn’t attach directly to the receptors. Instead, it activates them, which allows for many of the health benefits that people associate with the CBD.
Are CBD topicals safe to use post-surgery?
First, be sure to discuss using CBD topicals with your doctor. Applying a topical to your incision is not a good idea. Your doctor may tell you to keep the area clean, but to not apply lotions or other skin products.
CBD and hemp products are relatively new players on the therapeutic stage. As I’ve noted, there are few if any side effects when using topicals. They’re easy to use and reapply without concern about becoming addicted or dependent on them.
However, if you have an underlying condition that requires you to take prescription medicine, talk to your doctor. CBD has the potential to affect how your medication works. Learn all you can about the product you want to use and the ingredients in it and discuss with your doctor how it may affect medications you’re taking. Usually, a bigger concern for affecting your medications is when CBD is ingested, but it’s better to be safe.