CBD has moved from relative obscurity to one of the most talked-about and heavily marketed compounds in recent years. You can now find CBD oils, tinctures, edibles and vapes, each promising to reduce anxiety, reduce pain or to help with insomnia. So what exactly is the truth behind CBD, and can it actually do what it says on the box?
What Is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid, which means a compound obtained from cannabis plants such as hemp and its more infamous cousin, marijuana. CBD is very similar in structure to THC, which is the compound that gives the classic marijuana high. Despite this similarity, CBD doesn’t cause the same psychoactive symptoms as THC, and CBD users report a feeling of relaxation and calm without the feeling of being high.
The current most popular ways to ingest CBD are through oils and edibles. Edibles are exactly what they say on the box—edible things like gummies or coffee that are infused with CBD. CBD oil is applied under the tongue. Using CBD in this manner is mostly used by people who want the anti-anxiety or anti-pain benefits of CBD.
Due to a lack of information about cannabinoids, many people are concerned that using CBD products will get them high. As we mentioned before, THC is the cannabinoid that gives you the high. CBD products contain minimal (if any) amounts of THC. CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, which already has very little THC. The product can be further purified by isolating the CBD before using it in the cream.
Is CBD Safe?
CBD as a compound is thought to be safe to use with minimal side-effects. There have been few long-term studies that have looked at the effects of long-term chronic use of CBD, so we still don’t know if there are any long-term side effects that may crop up if you use CBD daily over the course of years.
The main concern you should have when considering CBD creams or other products is that due to the novelty of CBD and the fact that human trials are still ongoing, the creams and products you’re buying are not FDA approved. In fact, the only CBD-containing drug that has FDA approval is for a rare and severe form of epilepsy.
What does this mean, practically, for you? FDA regulations ensure that all products do what they’re advertised to do and that they’re manufactured to a high standard of quality. Products that aren’t FDA approved aren’t tested in the same way. Plenty of disreputable companies produce CBD creams that are full of contaminants or don’t even contain CBD in the product.
So, before you decide to buy a CBD cream or any other CBD product, do your research. Make sure you’re buying from a reputable brand that does third-party verification. If the manufacturer is making all sorts of miracle claims, steer well away. CBD will not cure cancer and it isn’t a miracle drug. It’s useful for a number of things, but it should be viewed as a supplement to, not a replacement for, traditional pharmaceutical drugs.
What Exactly Is a CBD Cream?
A CBD cream, or salve, is simply a way to apply CBD topically to your skin in a way that’s effective and safe. Creams usually have three components: a waxy base, a fatty oil compound that’s used to deliver the therapeutic compound, and the therapeutic compound itself. The proportions and types of bases and oils used can vary between manufacturers, but they all work on the same principle.
Oils are recognized as the best way to carry CBD into the body to promote absorption. That’s because the fatty acids in the oils bind to the CBD molecule during the extraction process and then are absorbed by your body where the CBD can get to work.
Types of CBD Extraction
When you start shopping around for CBD creams, you may encounter the terms ‘full-spectrum CBD’ and ‘CBD isolate.’ These terms refer to the way the CBD was extracted from the hemp plant.
With full-spectrum CBD, once the extract has been obtained, there’s no further work done to purify the CBD. This means that all the other cannabinoids found in the plant will still be in the extract. The main benefit of this is that it’s likely that the other cannabinoids may also have positive properties and may even enhance the activity of CBD. The downside? There may be trace amounts of THC found in the extract as well, but nowhere near enough to produce any sort of psychological effect. If your state is particularly strict about THC percentages, it may not allow for full-spectrum CBD.
CBD isolate is exactly that, an isolated form of CBD. This is the purest form of CBD, and while a single study suggests that it might not be as effective as full-spectrum CBD, it’s the safer option if you’re concerned about THC or other unknown compounds in your CBD cream.
Different brands will use different extracts, but reputable brands will explain which one they use so that you can decide which one works best for you.
How Does a CBD Skin Cream Treatment Work?
A CBD cream will work because it targets the endocannabinoid system in both the brain and the skin. CBD interacts with various molecules in this system and affects the system which then leads to a variety of changes in the body.
Endocannabinoids are molecules produced in our body that bind to specific receptors in the brain. The network of endocannabinoids helps control a number of functions in the body, including regulating mood, regulating sleep and managing pain. CBD doesn’t interact directly with these endocannabinoid receptors, but it does interact with our endocannabinoid molecules. That’s why CBD has an impact on depression and anxiety and can help with sleep and overall relaxation.
The skin then has its own endocannabinoid system, which controls all skin functions such as inflammation, skin sensitivity, and even oil production. When you apply a CBD cream onto your skin, the fatty acid that is carrying the CBD molecule is transported across the cell membranes of your skin cells into your skin. It can then start affecting the endocannabinoid system in your skin, leading to wanted therapeutic effects.
Should I use a CBD Cream for Arthritis?
CBD creams have been shown to be effective in rats for controlling arthritis and reducing pain without any of the side effects associated with traditional medicines. Note that these creams have only been tested in rats, so any claims for humans should be taken with a grain of salt.
If you have an existing arthritic condition, there is no harm in trying CBD creams. CBD does have proven pain-management properties and can be useful in managing inflammation. Some reputable brands that you can try include Green Roads and PureKana. Both are local, US-based companies that do third-party verification of their products, so you feel safe knowing that you’re buying a high-quality product.
Can I Use a CBD Cream for Allergies?
Most of us suffer from allergies of one sort or another, and they can be a pain to deal with and even potentially fatal. If you suffer from mild allergies like hayfever or are allergic to animals, you’ll be familiar with antihistamines and other drugs that help alleviate the symptoms. You’ll also be familiar with side effects that can knock you out cold.
Both THC and CBD have been found to lessen the effects of allergies. THC suppresses the immune system, resulting in less allergic reactions, while CBD can control the number of white blood cells that are produced as a reaction to an allergen.
If you have allergic reactions like sneezing, runny and itchy eyes, and congestion, consider CBD oil or an edible. It’s much easier to regulate the dosage than it is with a cream, so you can easily determine how much you need to control your symptoms.
If you have bad skin reactions in response to allergens, then a CBD cream might be ideal for you since you can apply it directly to the site where the reaction is. The CBD will get to work much more quickly than if you went the oral route.
Can I Use a CBD Cream for Pain?
CBD has been shown to be effective for pain management for the whole body by using edibles or cannabis oil. CBD cream should have a similar effect with the added benefit of you can use it to treat localized pain.
If you have a sprain or sore joint and you take a CBD edible, you’ll experience pain-relieving effects up to 30 minutes after eating the edible. With CBD cream, you can apply the cream directly onto the sore area and sense a soothing result within minutes.
Choosing the Right CBD Cream
When you start looking for a CBD cream for your particular symptoms, you’ll find tons of products. But it can be difficult to tell which one is legitimate and going to help you. When shopping around, look for which brands constantly get mentioned as high-quality and reputable. These brands will give you plenty of information about their product, ranging from what plant they get their extract from, to the dosage and extract type. Always look for CBD extracts that have been derived from hemp, as they’re legal in the whole country and you don’t need a medical marijuana license to buy them.
Secondly, consider whether you want a cream, an edible, or oil. Creams are great if you have lots of localized pain or allergies. If you have chronic body pain or want to use CBD for anxiety or depression, go for an edible or CBD oil instead.
Then you need to decide whether you’re comfortable with the idea of your product containing small amounts of THC or not. Some people want pure CBD, but there are some studies that show that, especially for pain management, THC has a synergistic effect and can enhance the effectiveness of CBD. Remember that the amount of THC in CBD products is really quite low and definitely nowhere near enough to produce any sort of high.
It’s also important to note that while CBD is being hailed as something of a miracle drug, most of the studies that have been done up to this date have been in rats or mice, with very few human studies already published. This means that the results may be promising, but they’re not guaranteed to work as well, or at all, in humans. This, combined with the lack of FDA-approved creams on the market, means that you need to be skeptical of claims that sound too good to be true. Use your judgment and common sense when looking for a cream, or any other CBD product. These products are meant to be supplements and shouldn’t replace any existing medication you may currently be taking.
CBD is rapidly becoming one of the most popular compounds on the market, with people selling all sorts of CBD-enhanced products, from coffee to beer to edible gummies. CBD does have interesting properties and may be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain. Many people worry about the fact that CBD comes from cannabis and that it might make them high, but the molecule responsible for the “high” feeling is THC, another cannabinoid. Most CBD products on the market have minimal amounts of THC and can be used without the fear of becoming intoxicated.
CBD creams may be less well-known than CBD oil or CBD gummies, but they can be very useful in situations where you need to treat a skin condition or if you have localized pain, such as arthritis, where you can apply a cream directly onto the affected area.
As with any non-FDA-approved supplement, do your research carefully before you buy. There are many reputable brands that are independently verified, such as Green Roads, Hemp Bombs, Premium Jane, and PureKana. By sticking to these known brands and ordering from them directly, you can rest assured that you have a quality product that will do what you bought it to do.