LEARN As more and more research, studies, and clinical trials into cannabis and its derivatives are being published and peer-reviewed, its medicinal benefits are quickly becoming undeniable. While clinical trials continue to be a bit of an obstacle here on US soil, they're still being done, and the results are extremely promising. In particular, CBD has been shown time and time again to be highly effective in treating pain, and more and more people are using CBD products to alleviate their pain caused by any number of underlying issues.
As more and more research, studies, and clinical trials into cannabis and its derivatives are being published and peer-reviewed, its medicinal benefits are quickly becoming undeniable.
What enhances their appeal is that they are naturally occurring and are not addictive when compared to their synthetic counterparts like Opioids, Narcotics, and NSAIDs based pain management drugs. There is also no shortage of innovative and new CBD derivatives, such as injectable cannabinoids, which represent the next wave of the cannabis revolution.
CBD oils and creams have become the new standard of pain management and relief as a lot of medical research confirms their efficacy. So, which CBD product is right for you?
What health benefits CBD-based products provide?
CBD provides an array of health benefits. Medical research has proven that CBD is a powerful anti-bacterial substitute and has antioxidant properties. CBD is also used widely for the treatment of the following health ailments:
Anxiety: Medical research study into the use of CBD for treatment of anxiety disorders has proven that CBD is an effective medicine to treat various anxiety disorders, like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Sleep disorders: CBD can be used in the treatment of sleep disorders, like Sleep Apnea and Insomnia.
Pain relief: Medical studies have shown that CBD can be used in the treatment of Neuropathic pain. CBD is also effective in the treatment of Arthritis, as indicated in this research paper.
Inflammation: Scientific research studies categorize CBD as a novel anti-inflammatory drug. It also shows significant improvement in patients suffering from fibromyalgia and psoriasis.
Depression: Research conducted by scientists has shown that CBD is an effective antidepressant drug.
Seizure: Medical research acknowledges the efficacy of CBD as an anti-seizure medication.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is the active pain-relieving ingredient present in various topical pain relievers. These CBD products are derived from hemp or marijuana plants that are further processed to get oils, creams, lotions, tinctures, salves, and sprays. CBD Products made from marijuana plants are likely to have some trace amount of THC in it.
How is CBD different from THC?
CBD and THC both are derived from Marijuana plants and Industrial hemp. On the one hand, there is THC that possesses mind-altering properties, whereas, on the other hand, CBD has no such psychoactive properties. In simplest terms, you don’t get high or euphoric when you use CBD products.
How consuming CBD helps with pain relief?
There is conclusive evidence in the form of scientific studies that validate the use of CBD in pain management.
CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the body. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating various functions like hunger, emotion, and pain.
The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors that are present on the surface of cells throughout the body, which are activated by naturally occurring endocannabinoids. These ECS receptors help transmit internal cellular activity to initiate a cellular response to deal with pain. CBD replicates this effect of naturally occurring endocannabinoid to produce similar effects for relieving pain.
Specifically, CBD binds to CB2 receptors in the immune system that is responsible for pain management.
The consumption of CBD signals the body to use CBD instead of the limited supply of naturally occurring endocannabinoids to deal with the pain. Thus the body learns to use both naturally occurring endocannabinoid and its counterpart CBD to deal with pain effectively.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is produced from both marijuana and hemp plants. CBD produced from marijuana-based plants tend to have a trace amount of THC, while hemp-based CBD is free from any THC content. Marijuana-based CBD oils are required to have less than 0.3% of THC content.
Preparation and usage
The purest form of CBD oil is obtained by the carbon dioxide extraction method. This involves the treatment of raw extracts of marijuana or hemp plants with carbon dioxide gas in a very high-pressure environment at extremely low temperatures. This is the most popular method of CBD oil extraction as it uses the least amount of solvents and also leaves very little residue.
CBD oil is administered orally below the tongue, from where it enters the bloodstream directly, passing via the mucous membrane. This way, its effect is felt almost instantaneously as it completely bypasses the digestive tract.
CBD in oil form is available in various concentrations. Thus, it is advisable to use CBD in proper dosage depending upon the level of pain. CBD oils have a unique taste, and, as such, it is available in various flavors if the patient cannot withstand its smell and taste.
What is CBD cream?
CBD cream is useful in targeted treatment of pain-affected areas on the body. This is because creams can be applied directly to the affected areas for relief. Creams provide somewhat slow relief compared to oils as it is not directly absorbed into the bloodstream, rather seeps through the skin before reaching the affected area. CBD creams are also helpful in relieving tension build-up in overworked muscles.
For the treatment of bodily pains, CBD derivatives are available as pain relief cream, pain relief roll-on, and pain relief sprays. CBD cream is also used as a beauty product in the form of facial cream, sleeping mask, body and glow oil, and anti-aging facial serum.
There are some minor differences between CBD creams, lotions, sprays, and salves, mainly due to the method of their preparation, which is explained in the next section.
Medical studies have validated the efficacy of CBD creams for the treatment of diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Preparation and usage
The common denominator among all CBD-based derivatives is their use of CBD oil extracted from hemp and marijuana plants. It is then mixed in varying ratios with their topical bases to obtain creams, lotions, sprays, and salves. Some derivatives may also contain additional ingredients to customize CBD efficacy for particular applications. For instance:
- CBD pain relief lotions, creams, and roll-ons use more water and moisturizing agents in their tropical base, whereas sprays are mixed with aerosol bases.
- CBD beauty products like face cream, recovery lotion, and eye serum contain additional ingredients, such as aloe vera, mint, and other oils, in addition to their topical base.
- Salves and lotions have more fat containing oil and very little water content in their topical base. They almost always contain beeswax as an additional ingredient besides CBD.
- CBD creams produce the best results when applied after taking a shower when the pores of the skin are free from any dirt. It can be directly applied to the affected area to relieve pain.
- Gentle massage of the affected area with CBD products is the recommended method of applying creams, lotions, and salves.
What is CBD tincture?
Tinctures are one of the most popular CBD products currently available on the market due to the availability of a wide variety of dose options. They are available in mild to ultra-high concentrations for use in highly painful diseases such as cancers.
Preparation and usage
The tincture contains pure CBD oils prepared from carbon dioxide extraction, along with supplementary oils and flavoring agents such as mints. Tincture extract also undergoes additional treatment to remove almost all THC content.
Tinctures come in pre-labeled dosage, which makes it the most accurate way to intake CBD. CBD tinctures can also be consumed by adding to food preparation instead of taking it in the raw form.
Is CBD really free from any side effects?
One of the best advantages of using naturally occurring CBD pain management and relief drugs is that there is no risk of overdose when compared to their synthetic counterparts. They are also addiction-free when compared to other narcotics-based solutions.
There are certain small effects that do take place due to the use of CBD derivatives, such as drying of the mouth. So, make sure to drink plenty of water to counteract its effects.
Besides these small effects, there are no major side effects in using CBD products.
CBD interacts with certain prescription drugs that are absorbed by the liver; thus, it is always recommended to confirm with your physician that there is no interaction among combinations of drugs that you are taking.
How to use CBD products for the treatment of arthritis?
CBD is considered to have very good anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties.
When CBD is used for the treatment of arthritis, it helps with the release of cytokines in the body, which is the response of the immune system in attacking inflammation. CBD helps in relieving arthritic pain and inflammation of joints. CBD is proven to be helpful in knee arthritis, a very painful condition, by reducing pain and inflammation due to bone-to-bone contact.
Creams can be used directly on the sites of inflammation, and oils can be used according to the pain levels that the patient is experiencing.
Results of clinical trials for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis with CBD
Phase 2 Clinical trials conducted on humans for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis revealed that some participants who received proprietary CBD formulation did indeed experience pain relief. This study had 320 patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis who received medication for twelve weeks.
Scientists conducting the study concluded that due to the topical nature of the CBD formulation, it is difficult to ascertain whether the medicine is reaching the pain-affected sites as there was no control in the experiment that could verify this for them. They expect the next phase of trials to shed more light on the efficacy of their formulations.
Ongoing CBD clinical trials and studies and their results
There are a few proposals for clinical trials to test for the efficacy of CBD topicals. Some of them are as follows:
- Rush University Medical Center, in collaboration with the Mid America Orthopaedic Association, is conducting clinical trials on the effects of topical CBD cream for degenerative hallux disorders. This trial aims to measure the effects of Cannabidiol cream on patients suffering from various Hallux disorders by medicating them for eight weeks and measuring their pain levels and severity. More information on this trial is available here.
- Avicanna Inc in conducting clinical trials on the efficacy of CBD topicals in Hydration and Erythema of the Skin (Celosia). This trial intends to find out the efficacy of CBD topical in the short and long-term for the treatment of Eczema. More information on this trial is available here.
This paper explores the results of various clinical trials and studies. It has concluded the following:
- Nabiximols, a CBD drug for the treatment of cancer pain, has passed European trials and is being evaluated by the FDA as a new drug under investigation.
- Sativex clinical trials for the treatment of pain in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis have been successful.
- A chewing gum-based CBD derivative is undergoing trials for the treatment of various pains associated with Parkinson’s, Dementia, and so on.
- Finally, this paper concludes that although there is strong evidence in the efficacy of CBD topicals, more large-scale trials are required to weed out outlier cases from statistics.
Which CBD product is right for you – Oil or Creams/Tinctures/Sprays?
Choosing the right CBD derivatives depends highly on the type of pain. It is also dependent on a person’s physical characteristics, tolerance, and preferences.
CBD oil and tinctures are most fast-acting in providing relief. They do, however, may have characteristic smell and taste, which may not be liked by everyone.
Creams, lotions, and sprays are slow in providing relief but they can be used at specific sites of pain.
There is also the case of convenience as oils are messy to handle and may not be suitable for use when outside, whereas creams and sprays are more easily accessible and can be used in any setting.
If a specific dose of CBD is needed, then tinctures can be used as they are available in a wide variety of dosage.
In conclusion, you should use CBD oil or tincture for immediate relief and extreme pain. And you should prefer creams, lotions, salves, and sprays for mild and localized pain.
Best CBD for Pain: CBD Oil vs CBD Cream
* DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.
It has become very difficult to ignore the medicinal properties that Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and topicals has to offer. It has become very evident through preliminary trials, case studies and testimonials that the therapeutic benefits of CBD are no joke!
While clinical trials continue to be a bit of an obstacle here on US soil, they’re still being done, and the results are extremely promising. In particular, CBD has been shown time and time again to be highly effective in treating pain, and more people are using CBD products to alleviate their pain caused by any number of underlying issues.
CBD can be consumed in any number of formats from CBD tinctures, oils, capsules, and edibles to CBD topical creams, vapes, and even CBD water. But which format is more effective at treating pain? More specifically, is CBD oil or cream better for pain alleviation?
How Does CBD Work to Reduce Pain?
CBD – or cannabidiol – is found in great abundance in the cannabis varieties. Both CBD and THC – another cannabinoid found in high levels in the cannabis plant – have miraculous effects on the body that rival even the most powerful and well-recognized pharmaceuticals.
But while THC induces feelings of euphoria and alters the mind, CBD does not possess such psychoactive properties. Both of these cannabinoids take effect in the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of cannabinoid receptors and their associated metabolic enzymes.
The ECS plays an integral role in maintaining homeostasis in the body. When certain processes are out of balance, a disease can ensue. That’s precisely why pain is experienced. But by putting the body back into balance, symptoms such as pain can be effectively alleviated.
Cannabinoid receptors of the ECS are found all throughout the body on the surface of cells, while endocannabinoids interact with and activate these receptors. CBD can mimic the activity of these endocannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body to induce similar effects, such as pain alleviation.
The receptors of the ECS essentially sit on the surface of cells and are in tune with conditions occurring outside of the cell. They can transmit information about any changes in conditions to the inside of the cell, which initiates a cellular response to deal with these stressors.
When THC is consumed, it binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, which is what causes users to get high, while still providing certain health benefits. But CBD does not directly bind to these receptors and instead indirectly interacts with the CB2 receptors that are found mainly in the immune system, though they (along with CB1 receptors) are also found throughout the body.
The ECS is directly responsible for regulating specific responses in the body, including pain control, among many others. When CBD is consumed, it takes on the role of endocannabinoids to reduce pain resulting from an imbalance in the body.
The body is encouraged to use both CBD and its naturally-occurring endocannabinoids more efficiently to regulate pain. That’s why so many people have already been able to effectively treat their pain without the need for potentially-addictive NSAIDs and opioids.
CBD has the amazing capability of alleviating various levels and types of pain , including arthritis and joint pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, muscle soreness, cramps, tendonitis, and even headaches.
The question is, what’s better for pain: CBD oil or topical creams?
What is CBD Oil?
As already mentioned, CBD products come in a variety of formats, including CBD oil. This specific product varies in potency, though it is said that oil formats tend to be more potent than most types of CBD products.
CBD oil can be extracted from both the hemp or marijuana plant, though the latter will typically come with a level of THC that will likely produce some sort of mind-altering effect. Further, marijuana-derived CBD with THC levels over 0.3% is considered illegal on a federal level as well as in many states where marijuana has yet to be legalized.
There are a few different ways to extract CBD oil, though the CO2 extraction method tends to result in the purest CBD oil. This extraction method involves the use of carbon dioxide in an environment of very cold temperatures and high pressure. Such an extraction method not only result in a pure form of CBD oil, but it also tends to come with far fewer solvents and residue that may be left behind with other methods of extraction.
CBD oil is usually taken orally under the tongue using a dropper, after which it is absorbed through the mucous membranes and directly enters the bloodstream without having to go through the digestive system.
What is CBD Cream For Pain?
A few different topical formats can be made with CBD, including creams. These are produced with the extracted oils from the hemp or cannabis plant that is then infused into a topical base. Like CBD oil formats, the CBD from creams interacts with the CB2 receptors of the ECS to provide pain-relieving effects.
CBD creams differ somewhat from ointments and salves in terms of their consistency, texture, and sometimes even their potency. For instance, ointments tend to be thicker in consistency and may even be considered to be more potent in terms of CBD content. Creams, on the other hand, have a looser consistency and are usually water-based.
Rather than being consumed orally like CBD oil, creams are applied directly to the site of pain. The cream is rubbed onto the skin, after which the CBD infused in the product is absorbed into the skin to take effect.
Best Way to Use CBD Oil Cream For Back Pain And Other Types of Pain
There are many forms of oils, salves and lotions emerging onto the market place as the CBD industry continues to thrive. Oils, Salves and Lotions could all potentially contain the same kind of hemp derived CBD, but the consistency and the carriers could all impact the effectiveness of transdermal cannabidiol application.
CBD Topical Lotions
Lotions can be a great way to alleviate dry skin and utilized for massages with a CBD application. However, lotions can often leave your skin feeling slick and oily and will could rub off on a shirt or article of clothing if applied immediately before. This would potentially be an issue when you consider the added cost of CBD and how much of it is being wasted do to the adhesiveness of the product.
CBD Topical Salves
CBD pain stick salves are an excellent way to apply CBD for injury and recovery purposes. The base will usually consist of bees wax that can stay in place and allow for maximum absorption through the skin and is typically applied like a deodorant stick. The only downfall for this sort of application is knowing how much CBD is actually delivered per swipe. It is nearly impossible to know exactly how much or if it would even be feasible to measure.
How Much Oil And Cream Should You Take Or Apply For Back Pain?
This is another question that comes up very often within the industry. To date there has not been a toxicology report that has established a dangerous threshold within the body for CBD consumption. This is even more so when it comes to topical application. It seems as if it would be pretty difficult to apply enough topical CBD to your skin and promote any adverse effects.
How to Use Topical CBD Cream For Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
Research has explained that CBD plays a role in the modulation of cytokine release, a primary step in the inflammatory-immune response to injury and illness. Studies have suggested that administration of CBD blocked osteoarthritic pain and significantly reduced joint inflammation. CBD treatment seems to impede the later development of pain and nerve damage in the osteoarthritic joints.
This can be a very simple, yet effective way to alleviate pain naturally through a simple CBD roller stick that can both moisturize the skin and reduce pain/swelling.
How much should you take for Arthritis Relief
Arthritis pain is extremely subjective, which makes it very difficult to know the level of application to achieve desired results. With a topical stick people tend to be less skeptical to really explore how much they can apply to achieve the desired results. The amount of application will almost always vary person-to-person. However, CBD topical are often formulated with good lotions and salves that can actually be good for your skin… So with that said, apply generously until desired results are achieved.
Knee arthritis can be painful and debilitating. Chronic inflammation causes a break down of the bone lining within the joint capsule, causing bone on bone contact, which ultimately exacerbates the disease process and creates a feedback loop that continues to signal inflammation.
CBD Oil Vs CBD Topical Cream For Arthritis, What is more effective?
Historically Cannabis has been used in oil form, but as technology has evolved formulations have been created utilizing not only cannabis derived CBD, but other terpenes and natural essential oils that have a positive impact on the skin along with the CBD application to help improve arthritis pain. Today, creams seem to be making a huge push to be an arthritis specific application, along with other acute aches and pains.
Benefits of Cannabidiol CBD Hemp Oil For Inflammation
One of the most interesting physiological applications of CBD is found in the immune system. Cannabinoid receptors are extremely abundant throughout the immune system and are said to play a role in modulating cytokine release, a unique cell that is in part responsible for the inflammatory process.
How Much Oil to Use For Inflammation
When applying CBD oil on the skin, you must understand the skin is composed of multiple layers and often times make take a few days to allow the CBD to cross the transdermal layers. With that said, apply generously until relief is achieved.
Best Type of Hemp CBD Oil to Reduce Inflammation For The Body and Skin
Full-spectrum and phytocannabinoid rich. This means that the Oil you consume will not be composed of only CBD. It will in fact it will also contain other natural cannabinoids and terpenes that are said to facilitate with the therapeutic properties of Cannabidiol.
Which Application is Best For Pain: CBD Oil or Topical Cream?
Both CBD oil and cream work quite well for pain relief. Creams can be applied directly to the area where the pain is felt for more targeted pain relief. However, it may take a while longer for the effects to be experienced as the CBD is absorbed into the skin.
CBD oil, on the other hand, may provide slightly faster effects because of its ability to bypass the digestive system and go straight to the cells of the body to take effect. In the meantime, CBD oil may also alleviate any other symptoms that the user may be experiencing, including anxiety, sleep disorders, or poor appetite.
That said, there are proponents for both types of CBD formats who claim that either product is highly effective at alleviating pain. And when taken together, both CBD oil and cream can have a synergistic effect on the body. Now these are not the only two ways to get CBD in your body. There are also CBD pills and CBD powders as well!
Both CBD oil and cream have shown to have powerful effects on alleviating pain. They each have their own unique benefits and can both be used to relieve pain, regardless of what the source of the pain may be. Ultimately, the choice between which format to use will depend on the users’ specific preferences, as they are both highly effective in reducing pain and many other discomforts.
Kai Pattison, M.S
Athlete Relations x Physiologist
Kai Pattison was born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Kai graduated with a Master’s degree in clinical physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University. He is very passionate about human physiology and the applications in sport performance, recovery and clinical diagnostics. Kai has specialized in cardiopulmonary diagnostics, exercise induced energy expenditure and metabolism. Kai has also gained extensive research experience at UCSD on Parkinson’s disease. He enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of exercise to reduce risk of multiple inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. His passion for alternative medicine enables him to strive when promoting health and wellness.