You know, there is actual science behind CBD to ease muscle pain. In fact, the book by renowned CBD scientists, CBD: what does the science say, offers plenty of evidence-based information about how and why CBD works to relieve pain.
But before we get into why and how, let’s talk about what. What are CBD topicals? As you might guess, CBD topicals come in the form of creams, salves, balms and lotions that you apply topically. CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of many components of hemp. However, the concentration of CBD is higher than the other components. Unlike it’s cousin THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD will not get you high.
CBD has been shown to be:
- Anti-inflammatory, meaning it has potential to reduce joint pain associated with arthritis
- Anti-oxidative, so it may reduce systematic inflammation by fighting oxidative stress and decrease symptoms of autoimmune conditions like lupus
- Anti-emetic, meaning it can decrease vomiting and nausea associated with cancer treatments
- Anti-psychotic, so it can ease symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Neuroprotective, meaning it may help to slow the progression of neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia
CBD for muscle pain
What causes joint and muscle pain? It’s a long list, but I’ll just give you the short version. Pain, and inflammation, can be the result of overexertion, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains and other injuries. The most common areas that experience joint pain are knees, shoulders and hips, in that order. But pain can affect almost any joint or muscle from your feet right to the hands and neck. Aging is often another culprit in increasing joint and muscle pain.
So when your knees ache, your back hurts or your feet throb, CBD topicals may help ease pain. Whether the pain is chronic or acute, researchers found that applying it directly to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation.
It does so by absorbing into the skin, providing localized relief quickly. CBD topicals can be used as often as necessary without side effects that other pain relievers can have. The topical is absorbed directly into the affected area, never reaching the bloodstream. As a result, it can reach and release its analgesic component to relieve the pain within minutes, not hours.
“Reliable topical CBD products don’t just mask pain or inflammation as some over-the-counter topical pain relief creams do. They actually can make the pain go away for a certain time period,” says Matthew Halpert, an instructor of immunology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “This is because of the high concentration of cannabinoid receptors on the skin.”
How does CBD ease muscle pain?
It interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) every mammal has. The ECS has three main parts: CB1 and CB2 receptors, endogenous cannabinoids produced by your body and enzymes that help your body break down and use cannabinoids. The ECS is what maintains homeostasis, or balance. CB1 is found mostly in the nervous system and brain. CB2 is found outside the brain and tends to monitor and regulate the immune system. Both are found throughout the skin. Once enzymes break down cannabinoids, the resulting endocannabinoids search for receptors to bind to.
Clinical studies have shown that CBD topicals can alleviate pain for conditions such as arthritis, neuropathy, nerve pain, joint and muscle aches, migraines and TMJ. CBD applied topically, interacts with the CB receptors in the ECS.
Are CBD topicals safe?
According to this article in the National Library of Medicine, An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies, “In general, the often-described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research. The majority of studies were performed for treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders. Here, the most commonly reported side effects were tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite/weight. In comparison with other drugs… CBD has a better side-effect profile.” So, you can use CBD topicals frequently without fear of harmful side effects, which makes it easier to continue a form of treatment. Not many other medications can make that claim.