Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, comes in a variety of forms, including topical creams, lotions, and salves. And if you are suffering from a skin condition or muscle pain and inflammation, applying CBD directly to the skin is a great alternative to ingesting it. So what is all the fuss about? Here is all you need to know about CBD creams for pain relief.
What is CBD
CBD is a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant, more commonly known as marijuana. Unlike its relative, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is also found in the plant, CBD does not change your mental state. This is because most CBD products contain less than 0.3% of THC to comply with legislation. Best of all, CBD has all the benefits of cannabis without its side effects.
How Do CBD Topicals Work
One of CBD’s numerous benefits is alleviating both skin conditions and muscle soreness. This is because CBD penetrates the dermal and subdermal skin layers, reaching further than just the surface of the skin. So how do CBD topicals actually work?
CBD works by activating the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for the sensations of pleasure and pain. It does this by binding to cell receptors in muscle tissue, skin and nerves. This, in turn, can alleviate both pain and inflammation.
“There is research to support that phytocannabinoids, like CBD, interact with receptors and other enzymatic factors within our skin that modulate pain and inflammation,” said Emma Chasen, the co-founder of Eminent Consulting, a cannabis consultancy firm. “Because the skin is actually quite thick, when you apply CBD cream, the CBD soaks into the skin but does not make it to the bloodstream. It interacts with CB1 receptors — if THC is also present — and other receptor families such as the TRPV receptors and factors such as PPAR-gamma and COX-½ and TNF-alpha. With these interactions, CBD can modulate the pain and inflammatory response.”
What are the Benefits
Applying a CBD topical to the skin can alleviate skin problems, as well as pain and inflammation in the area. While a lot more research needs to be done in the area, a number of studies have shown promising results. According to a 2017 study, topical CBD treatment reduced acute joint inflammation in rats. According to another study conducted the same year and later published in the “Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology,” CBD can help in the treatment of skin conditions such as contact dermatitis and psoriasis.