If you’re keen on choosing the best topical CBD for pain on your own, there are a few things you need to take into account.
What Is CBD Cream Good For?
Creams are a convenient choice of therapy. However, they work locally, which means that they do not provide a systemic effect.
Topicals can be used for many illnesses, either as a remedy for skin-only conditions or complementary aid in other systemic diseases. A high-quality topical CBD product can be used for a variety of conditions.
However, the topical use differs significantly from the systemic (oral, IV, or transdermal).
In general, cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis-derived phytochemical with various therapeutic properties. You can use it for:
- Stress relief
- Sleep disorders
- Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or MS
- Chronic pain of various etiology, and
On the other hand, the benefits of topical CBD are expressed only in the local tissue. This means that the use of creams will not benefit systemic diseases, as is the case with oral products.
The therapeutic effects of cannabidiol cream are primarily based on its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. Therefore, you can use a CBD pain cream for:
- Treating joint pain, often associated with rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, and fibromyalgia.
- Alleviating superficial pain that frequently follows nerve degeneration or neuropathies.
- Treating skin conditions associated with inflammation, such as eczema, acne, rosacea, and even psoriasis.
How Does CBD Affect the Skin?
CBD does not penetrate the skin deeply, which means its effects are primarily expressed in the epidermis. However, when applied consistently, it can effectively saturate the local CB1 and CB2 receptors, thus modulating local inflammation and the immune response.
These effects have also been recorded with the use of the best topical CBD oil.
When applied in a thin layer, CBD from the formulation is absorbed by the upper tissue, thus binding to the receptors and inhibiting the inflammation paths. In the case of chronic inflammation, repetition is needed to achieve a satisfying level of relief.
Its immunomodulating effects are especially useful in the case of immunity-related skin diseases, such as psoriasis or allergic eczema. If properly formulated, CBD topicals can treat such a condition by creating an artificial lipid barrier around the afflicted zones and reducing the immune-modulated skin response.
CBD cream for inflammation of the skin can also work as a treatment for acne. Some studies suggest that CBD normalizes sebum production, which is hyperactive in the skin tissue of people with acne.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory and mild anti-infective properties, there is a safe assumption that a CBD full-spectrum cream could be used as a treatment for acne vulgaris.
Another study showed that CBD cream is helpful in the treatment of dry skin, which is usually associated with redness and itching. Therefore, CBD oil can be used as a remedy for eczema, atopic dermatitis, and even rosacea.
How Does CBD Cream for Pain Relief Work?
The use of topicals is pretty much mainstream when it comes to treating joint pain associated with sports injuries, physical traumas, and rheumatoid diseases. In essence, the inflamed tissue is swollen and oversupplied with blood.
As a result, the skin layers become thinner, facilitating the penetration of topicals in deeper tissues.
Rubbing in CBD oil for joint pain is proven to be mildly effective. Other evidence supports the use of topical CBD for arthritis-related joint pain, especially in the early phases of the disease.
CBD Cream vs. Topical Oil
When it comes to local use, the formulation of creams and other semi-solid topicals exceeds the same of CBD oil. Even the best CBD oil for topical use has limitations in terms of substance penetration through the skin and alleviating pain.
Oils are 100% fat, and as such, they create an occlusive film useful in the treatment of dry and rough skin. They are, however, more concentrated and can help you achieve the desired effect more quickly.
Creams are formulated for additional benefits, such as skin hydration and smoother application. Additionally, creams contain emulsifiers that allow other, water-based substances to be added, thus providing a greater diversity of effects.
Which Is the Best Type of CBD Extract in Creams?
There is a mild but altogether significant difference between CBD extracts. The question is — should you choose isolate, full-spectrum, or broad-spectrum as the main constituent in your topicals?
Well, considering that the main active ingredient in the CBD creams for pain or skin treatment is cannabidiol, each extract will suffice. However, there is the issue of the so-called “entourage effect.”
The main controversy is that the entourage effect has only been studied in systemic applications of CBD. Currently, there are no studies that prove its effectiveness in topical use.
However, some animal studies refer to the active potential of non-cannabinoid compounds within a full-spectrum extract on the skin. They show that, even when applied to the skin, the collective power of cannabis-based phytochemicals is more potent than having just CBD.
That’s why we favor using full spectrum and broad spectrum extracts over the CBD isolate. Yet, some people are too sensitive to any but one cannabinoid, so they should go for the isolate version.
Should a CBD Topical Cream for Pain Be THC-Free?
In general, THC has limited trans-cutaneous absorption rates due to its high lipid chemical structure. In comparison to THC, CBD has a ten-fold higher absorption rate due to its polarity.
Given that in topicals, THC can only be found in full-spectrum extracts in the maximum amount of 0.3%, there is no concern about THC absorption and its psychoactive side effects.
On the other hand, THC can aid in treating certain nerve-affected skin conditions by affecting cutaneous CB1 receptors.
What Types of CBD Topicals Are There?
Best CBD topicals come in different formulations. A word of caution — they are not all the same, and their use strictly depends on their technological preferences. The most prevalent topical CBD products are:
- CBD creams are water-in-oil or oil-in-water semi-solid emulsions.
- CBD emulsions are liquid combinations of fatty and water-based ingredients. They are applied by rubbing or via spray.
- CBD ointments are based on lipid ingredients and are greasy.
- CBD lotion is a mild watery solution.
- Gels are semi-solid formulations made from water-based extracts.
- Balms are a combination of gel and emulsion.
Often, a CBD cream for back pain is advertised as a CBD salve – a term that is used to describe creams, ointments, balms, and emulsions. Remember that salve is a traditional term, not a scientific one.
Why Are Secondary Ingredients Important?
Active secondary ingredients have healing properties of their own. So, when optimally combined with CBD, they can potentiate the CBD effects.
Commonly used active ingredients are:
- Rosemary extract
- White willow bark extract
Inactive (compositional) ingredients formulate a CBD topical cream or salve and account for the delivery mechanism of the mainly acting CBD. By choosing the right combination of secondary components, technologists create what is known as the base or “vehicle.”
The base gives the products, such as CBD body butter or CBD cream for back pain, the competitive edge in effectiveness.
Furthermore, one size does not fit all. For example, the best cream for eczema will contain petroleum-based oils and vaseline-like substances, while a cream demands more water-soluble ingredients.
Are CBD Creams for Pain Safe?
CBD topicals are recognized as safe and effective in relieving local inflammation-related pain.
A hemp pain cream will work wonders for your swollen and inflamed joints and irritated skin tissue if used correctly and consistently. The appropriate use follows the general rules: topicals are applied 2–3 times a day in thin layers around the joints or on the afflicted skin.
However, even the best CBD topical for knee pain can cause side effects if used compulsively and without restraints.
Cannabis extracts are stable when exposed to sunlight. However, other ingredients might react adversely. Therefore, after applying a topical CBD product, it is recommended to stay away from direct sun or heat.
Can I Use a CBD Ointment for Pain with Medication?
There is no evidence of adverse reactions to topical cannabis products with any type of medication. Nevertheless, one should be cautious when being on other types of therapy, especially for rheumatic conditions.
Some arthritis medications, such as methotrexate and prednisone, tend to provoke sensitivity reactions on the skin. In these cases, even the best CBD topical for arthritis might cause irritation of the hypersensitive skin.
In any case, be sure to inform your attending physician or pharmacist about any medications you are using before purchasing a CBD topical.