Are Topical CBD Products for Pain Really Effective?

Cannabidiol has been a topic of interest in healthcare for quite a while now. The passing of the Farm Bill in 2018 further increased the compound’s popularity as it became legal on the federal level. 

While CBD has a ton of other benefits, too, its analgesic potential brought it to the limelight. CBD products for pain are commonly sold online and in stores, ranging in type from gummies and oils to topicals

Topical CBD products for pain, such as CBD creams and balms, are useful against different conditions, like migraines, tension headaches, back pain, etc. Moreover, manufacturers also advertise CBD topicals for severe pains, like those due to arthritis or fibromyalgia. 

However, some people are skeptical about the effects of topical CBD products for pain. Do topical CBD products for pain really do anything? Read on to get your answer. 

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How Topical CBD Products For Pain Are Used?

Nowadays, a considerable number of CBD consumers are using CBD topicals for their pain-relieving potential. While some topicals are suited for skincare, others help in alleviating muscle pain. 

According to a 2019 report, 79% of arthritis patients had either used CBD products for pain or intended to do so. Of the 2600 patients, 29% said that they were currently using CBD products for pain. Of these, 29% of individuals, 55% reported using topical CBD products for pain. 

Eileen Donovan, a CBD user from Massachusetts, says that she uses the cannabinoid for regular pains and aches. After using different pain-relieving patches, she switched to CBD and found it to be useful. 

She further said that she is allergic to NSAIDs, so there aren’t many pain management options for her. However, the CBD lotion she uses has made it possible for her to manage her daily pain.

79% of arthritis patients had either used CBD products for pain or intended to do so. Of the 2600 patients, 29% said that they were currently using CBD products for pain.

Samantha Morrison, a New York cannabis researcher, says that topical CBD products for pain are also helpful in psoriasis and eczema. That’s why you’ll find CBD in many skincare products now. 

Along with lowering pain, these CBD products are also effective against inflammation, which is a symptom of skin conditions. 

Do Topical CBD Products For Pain Really Do Anything?

Unlike CBD tinctures or oils that pass through the liver, CBD topicals are absorbed into the body through the skin. 

You have to apply them to the site of pain or inflammation, and they slowly make their way through the dermal layers into the underlying tissues. 

Matthew Halpert, a teacher at Baylor College of Medicine, says that topical CBD products for pain do not mask the pain as opposed to over-the-counter pain relief creams. Rather, these products actually make the pain go away temporarily. 

The effect can be attributed to the excess of cannabinoid receptors on the skin. Since CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors, it can show a significant effect on the skin. 

Halpert’s research shows that CBD inhibits or lowers the production of inflammatory markers that are abundant in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. 

A 2017 study also showed that topical CBD application alleviates pain in rats with osteoarthritis. When a CBD gel was applied to the skin of these rats, they exhibited lower symptoms of pain. 

CBD’s Effects May Differ 

Although topical CBD products for pain are effective, it’s important to note that they do not affect everyone the same way. Since our bodies are different and have varying metabolic rates, it’s not possible for CBD to show similar results in everyone. 

Furthermore, the effect of CBD also differs depending on the THC content of a CBD product. A 2019 study showed that CBD products with a higher THC content are associated with significant pain relief. 

On the other hand, products with low or no THC content did not have the same level of pain relief. 

Do CBD Products for Pain Have Side Effects?

It’s true that topical CBD products for pain are helpful. However, this doesn’t mean they’re risk-free. Before hailing CBD as totally side effect-free, we have to consider the lack of comprehensive research on the compound. 

Right now, there aren’t many clinical studies elucidating the side effects of CBD. However, some risks have been seen in different trials. These include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Drowsiness 

Moreover, you should not use CBD if you’re advised against using medicines that come with a grapefruit warning. Speaking of medicines, CBD interacts with medicinal drugs. Therefore, if you’re using meds, you should consult a healthcare provider before using CBD alongside them. 

Why CBD Products For Pain Might Not Work?

In some cases, topical CBD products for pain might not work, and this has more to do with other aspects rather than the innate potential of CBD against pain. First of all, there’s no clear indication of the right dose of CBD. 

It’s likely that you’re taking a lower dose than what you need to experience pain relief. 

Another thing to note is that CBD topicals are not as bioavailable as CBD drops or vape oils. That’s because most of the CBD is lost from the topical during absorption.

For instance, if you’re using a CBD product with 20mg of CBD per serving, only 30% to 50% of this dose will be bioavailable for the body. 

Most importantly, not all topical CBD products for pain are created equal. Some companies make false claims about their CBD products for pain. 

In fact, some formulations have 0% CBD, and manufacturers attempt to mask this information by mentioning vague words like ‘hemp oil’ and ‘organic CBD’ on the ingredient list.

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As a consumer, you must know that any claim made about CBD, regardless of its source, is not 100% certain. Research is still underway, and we’ll likely find new information about this cannabinoid in the future.

Until then, you should choose CBD products for pain carefully. 

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