That said, we don’t always know exactly what’s in the CBD products out there due to a lack of regulation. Until recently, CBD was regulated as a Schedule 1 substance, meaning that the federal government believed it had a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical value. But the FDA approval of Epidiolex last year and the passage of the Farm Bill in December 2018 changed things by lifting the federal ban on commercial hemp production (hemp also contains CBD in lower amounts than cannabis). But it also made things more confusing because we’re still waiting on actual CBD regulations from the FDA. In the meantime, companies are treating hemp-derived CBD as if it’s perfectly legal, Dr. Tishler says.
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a cannabinoid, a type of compound found in cannabis (marijuana). Unlike the more well-known cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not produce a high.
The first thing to be aware of is the amount of CBD that a product claims to contain. Because the studies we have about CBD and pain all looked at systemic administration rather than truly local, we don’t really know what the correct dose would be when applied locally. It’s tempting to go for the highest amount you can find, but it’s really up to you since we don’t even know where to start.
So…is CBD cream just an expensive placebo?
First off, we don’t know much about the correct dose of CBD needed for a pain-relieving effect. The doses in the rat studies that were effective were pretty large (for a rat, obviously). And the human participants in the Phase 2 clinical trial we mentioned received 250 mg of synthetic CBD topically per day—as much as many consumer topical CBD products contain in a single jar.
When the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering evaluated decades of cannabis research, they concluded that "in adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms."
But some studies have found essentially zero side effects of high-dose CBD (900mg) and those that researchers do see—like drug interactions—aren’t considered to be issues when CBD is used topically.
Nevertheless, how do we account for all the people out there (like me) who use these products and feel like they’re doing something? Beyond the placebo effect, it’s possible that something else in the cream could be doing the heavy lifting here. These products don’t just contain CBD, Dr. Tishler points out. In fact, many of them also come with ingredients like arnica, menthol, or camphor, which may all provide a more immediate sensation of soothing or pain relief. So it could be those ingredients (or just the act of massaging the balm into your skin) that makes you feel better.
If you are new to cannabis, fret not! Using a topical CBD oil is easy. There are two key ways that topical CBD oil works to reduce discomfort and normal inflammation. First, the oil contains what are called phytocannabinoids, also known as cannabinoids, which interact directly with our endogenous endocannabinoid system (ECS). When you use topical cbd, the cannabinoid penetrates deep into the tissue where applied, saturating the ECS so that the precursors for discomfort and normal inflammation are reduced. The ECS is a system of receptors (CB1 & CB2) throughout our body that manages various biological functions. CBD naturally raises the endocannabinoids in your body, helping to relieve discomfort. CBD helps limit your body’s normal inflammatory response when you have muscle soreness due to exercising or lifting weights. By working with the natural functions in your body, CBD provides a calming effect for both your mind and body. When taken regularly topical cbd oils can help make you more comfortable, whether you have aches and soreness or need to unwind after a long day.
Topical CBD can come in several forms – like a body oil, balm, lotion, or even a patch. There are even CBD-infused bath salts and soaks to give you full-body comfort. When you have an area of the body where you are feeling discomfort, you can use topical CBD the way you would a lotion to help reduce stress, discomfort, and normal inflammation. The great thing about topical CBD oil is that it doesn’t enter the bloodstream when you apply it, meaning it just targets the specific area you apply it to. To ensure a body oil works to the best of its abilities, you need to apply it liberally. Our skin is designed to all topicals from entering the body, so if you choose a product with a high concentration of CBD, make sure you apply enough to sink into your skin’s and provide the best results. Side note: if you’re using it in the bath, follow the product instructions for how long you should soak to really reap the benefits.
How to Use a CBD Topical
The entourage effect—the idea that molecules that occur together in nature interact in useful ways — applies to cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are molecular compounds that are naturally found in plants and insects, manifesting most often in the forms of natural oils, and are accompanied by a distinct aroma and viscosity. Terpenes and cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) work together to maximize benefits in the body. Lab and patient-based studies reveal that while CBD or THC can work alone for some symptoms, they can often create better outcomes in combination. Specific ratios, especially with naturally occurring terpenes, have the potential to cause even better effects. The entourage effect is one of the leading theories influencing cannabis research worldwide.
In the case of a cbd topical, they are designed to provide targeted comfort by letting cannabinoids penetrate the skin and interact with our endocannabinoid receptors. A CBD topical can help with flexibility and mobility to the joints, soothe sore muscles or muscle tension, or help with other areas of the body. Because the cannabinoids do not enter the blood stream directly, effects are localized and intoxication doesn’t occur. Results can sometimes be felt within minutes and can last anywhere from two to four hours. Most people don’t experience any intoxicating effects from taking Papa & Barkley’s Hemp CBD products, however, every person’s body responds differently to cannabinoids. As always, it is better to start low and go slow as well as seeking the advice of a medical professional before starting a new health regimen.
There’s a CBD topical product for everyone. Are your knees sore from that 10-mile run? Rub on some CBD Releaf Balm to soothe aching joints. Got tight muscles from sitting or standing all day long at your desk? You deserve a massage! Liberally apply CBD Releaf Body Oil to the places you need it most. And if you’re dealing with dry, irritated skin? Moisturize with our CBD Releaf Body Lotion! CBD topicals are the perfect way to embrace the world of cannabis wellness without the intoxicating effects of THC!
CBD skin products come in ointments, salves, and lotions.
Other important functions of the endocannabinoid system in the skin include regulation of cell growth and wound healing. A study published in November 2020 explained how CBD improves wound healing by modulating key molecular pathways. While wound healing is normally referred to as the wound closure. The healing process has two steps which are the closure as well as the maturation and remodeling of the wound. This is where CBD came in handy: it was linked to the modulation of keratinocyte phenotype and several components of the inflammatory microenvironment. By this, CBD is highly effective in the wound management and healing 2 . Both CB1 and CB2 receptors have been found throughout the skin.
topical benefits of CBD Cream & CBD lotion
Topical CBD seems to be one of the most versatile applications for this already very versatile compound.
The endocannabinoid system is thought to play an important role in the immune response of our skin.
A study published in 2019 by the Journal of Antioxidants explained how CBD is considered to be as the pioneer active phytocannabinoids of the Cannabis plant. The study showed the superior biological effects of CBD at a cellular level, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties 1 .