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?)
The other issue? Topical hemp pain relief products and cannabis creams will treat anatomical structures within 1 centimeter of the skin—and the muscle where your actual soreness is located is going to be deeper than that, explains Ricardo Colberg, M.D., a physician at Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham, AL. (The good news: Since it doesn't need to be absorbed deeply, CBD and cannabis could do amazing things as a skincare ingredient.)
Even still, cannabis creams could still reduce your acute pain or muscle soreness. That's because pretty much all of these hemp pain relief creams on the market right now have other scientifically-proven analgesic compounds, such as menthol, camphor, and capsaicin which are also found in other, non-CBD topical pain relievers. "Any cream with a heating or cooling sensation desensitizes the nerves to pain by distracting them with stimuli on top," explains Dr. Colberg. Plus you're often massaging the area as you apply, which improves circulation and reduces muscle spasms, he adds. (Get the best of both worlds by trying a CBD massage.)
How CBD and Cannabis Might Help Pain Relief
"When it comes to cannabis-based topicals for muscle soreness or other pain relief, there's absolutely no reason why it should be a big deal to try," he says.
Hemp creams for pain relief are typically is made from infusing high-quality cannabis flowers in some kind of quality oil-coconut or olive typically-which extracts the active compounds, either CBD, THC, or both depending on the type of hemp used. (Here's a guide to the difference between THC, CBD, cannabis, and hemp.) This oil is then blended with other therapeutic herbs, such as arnica or lemongrass essential oils, that are thought to also ease pain.
Interest piqued? Learn more about hemp cream for pain relief and all its variations.
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.)
CBD and other cannabinoids are beneficial antioxidants for skin. Healthy skin also need B-complex vitamins and essential amino acids, many of which are found in CBD.
Both marijuana and hemp plants are part of the cannabis family. However, according to United States federal law, hemp contains 0.3 percent THC or less, in contrast to marijuana. This and other reasons mean that hemp is typically used for CBD cultivation and extraction.
CBD Skin Care Benefits
The skin also has its own endocannabinoid system, which works to keep the skin balanced and healthy. The goal is stasis, just like it is for the endocannabinoid system throughout the human body: EC system keeps everything on an even keel, including the skin.
Research proves that CBD has various therapeutic properties, but what about the skin? And doesn’t putting CBD in something oily make it worse?
There are several important criteria when it comes to choosing high-quality CBD products, including topicals: