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Do CBD Balms and Topicals Really Work for Pain?

For many of us, aches and pains are part of our daily lives. In fact, it's estimated that 50 million Americans are dealing with chronic pain in one way or another. And all of us seek relief. Because of that, we’re going to answer one frequent question regarding this issue–do CBD balms and topicals really work for pain relief? 

While discomfort can manifest in various ways - like sore muscles after a workout, tight shoulders from slouching over a computer, or pain you can’t pinpoint an exact cause–it’s undoubtedly an uncomfortable and often isolating experience.  If you’re looking for relief (we feel ya!), you may want to consider CBD topical creams and balms in your routine. 

Keep reading for our guide to CBD topical creams, including how they help with pain relief and other potential benefits. Plus, we’re featuring three of our new Restore CBD Topical Balms in the South Tip collection that you can shop online. Each one is designed to help you with pain relief for your sore muscles. 💪

What are CBD balms and topicals?

CBD topicals are pretty much exactly what they sound like! CBD balms and topicals are external applications infused with cannabidiol (CBD) that are designed to be applied directly to the skin. These products have gained popularity for their potential therapeutic benefits without the need for ingestion. We love them because they can be applied as needed–like breaks between Zoom calls or after a workout. They’re also easy to carry around with you when you need a little support on the go.

Let’s see an overview of CBD balms and topicals:

CBD Balm

CBD balms typically have a thicker consistency compared to other topicals, and tend to have higher concentrations. They often contain a combination of CBD extract, carrier oils (such as coconut or hemp seed oil), and natural waxes (like beeswax or shea butter) to create a solid, salve-like texture.

Users can apply CBD balm directly to the skin by massaging a small amount into the targeted area. The warmth of the skin helps the balm melt, allowing for easy absorption. Another bonus: balms are less prone to spilling on the go, due to their thicker texture. South Tip’s Restore Balms are actually formulated for the hot South Florida weather with a higher melting point than other products on the market.

CBD topical creams and lotions

CBD creams and lotions have a lighter and more liquid consistency compared to balms. They typically include a mix of CBD extract, water, and lighter oils (such as almond or jojoba oil) to create a smooth and easily spreadable texture. Lotions typically require an emulsion, and if the manufacturer didn’t stabilize it correctly, they can separate over time. Balms usually don’t have this issue.

These topicals are applied by massaging the cream or lotion onto the skin. They are absorbed into the skin, and users can target specific areas where they desire the potential benefits of CBD.

CBD topicals have multiple effects and benefits, but let’s see what we’re here for in the first place - do CBD balms and topicals help with pain?

Do CBD creams really help with pain relief?

When it comes to therapeutic benefits and CBD topical creams, the potential is exciting. The research is still very limited, and no conclusive statements can be made (yet). In the meantime, here are some research highlights:

Inflammation & Arthritis

In a review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, CBD topicals were called a “safe natural compound” that had pain-relieving effects in various animal models. The study also mentioned potential anti-inflammatory effects and its potential influence on anti-arthritic activity. However, the study also mentioned it’s an understudied substance that needs more research. Similarly, a 2016 study discovered that topical applications of CBD could help manage pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

There are also some exciting findings in recent studies that highlight the potential of topical application of a specific cannabinoid receptor-1 agonist (CB1R) in speeding up the recovery of the skin's protective barrier. This is especially significant in cases of acutely disrupted skin. The research demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects during both acute and chronic skin irritation, aligning with previous study outcomes. While there's room for further investigation to uncover the involvement of other signaling pathways, these initial results suggest that using a topical CB1R agonist could be a promising therapeutic choice for addressing both acute and chronic inflammatory skin conditions. Conditions such as atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and psoriasis might benefit from this potential breakthrough in skin health research. For now though, the jury is out. Feel free to test out if this may work for you.

Acne, eczema, and psoriasis

The American Academy of Dermatology suggested topical CBD products can be used as a supplementary measure for acne, eczema, and psoriasis. 

Additionally, acne, a prevalent skin condition characterized by elevated sebum (oil) production and inflammation of the sebaceous glands, has garnered attention in recent studies that explore the potential benefits of cannabis oils. In a small, but notable study, a cream with 3% Cannabis seed extract demonstrated efficacy in reducing sebum production over a 12-week period, showcasing the promising potential of cannabinoid-based treatments in addressing acne-related concerns.

When it comes to psoriasis, one key player in this interaction is Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2), primarily found on immune cells. Research indicates that cannabinoids, acting as agonists, directly influence these cells. These immune cells, called T-cells, are critical in the development of psoriasis, as they create a positive feedback loop. In experiments, exposure of CD3+ cells to these compounds resulted in a complete inhibition of their action, which may slow the process of development. Given these findings, cannabinoids present a promising avenue for future treatments, holding potential in addressing the complex dynamics of psoriasis pathogenesis.

Feelings of weakness, numbness, and pain

A 2020 study discovered that CBD oil can achieve “significant improvement in pain” in patients with peripheral neuropathy - damage to nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. These feelings can often result in weakness, numbness, and pain.

Overall, CBD is still in the early stages of research - but it’s encouraging to see these studies that show the vast potential of CBD’s therapeutic benefits.

How much CBD oil or creams should I use for pain? And how long does it take to feel better?

Two of the questions we get a lot are: how much CBD oil or cream should I take for pain relief? And how long does it take to feel the benefits of CBD topicals? 

While every person is different, we find it generally takes about 15 to 45 minutes to feel the effects. We also recommend using a pea-sized amount to the area affected - and going up from there as needed. There’s no “one size fits all” answer for how much cream to use - so listen to your body! 

As for CBD oil, refer to the bottle you’re using for a recommended dosage. Be sure to take note of ingredients and be careful of sensitive areas. Since CBD topicals are mostly marketed for muscle soreness, formulas generally include ingredients similar to Icy Hot that can be irritating in these areas. The ingredients to look out for are: Chili/Mint oil, menthol, and essential oils. We strongly advise against using CBD topicals internally, near the eye area, or on broken skin. 

CBD Topical vs. Oral

Unlike CBD smokables, gummies, or tinctures - CBD cream goes on your skin and not in your mouth. This means the effect of a topical is more immediate and localized since the skin has its own receptors; it doesn’t need to enter the bloodstream to work.  Using CBD orally can either be through the capillaries of the mouth (like a tincture under the tongue) or eating/swallowing a gummy or capsule.  Absorbing under the tongue is faster as it goes directly into the bloodstream without having to be broken down in the liver.  We have an ever-expanding list of tinctures that are all vegan and keto-friendly!

Shop our CBD Topical Balm Products

Need some extra healing love on your shoulders? Back of your legs? You can easily apply our CBD Topical Balm over the area you could use some relief - and gently massage it until it’s absorbed into your skin. Repeat as needed. Just don’t forget to wash your hands after use. 

Each formula includes 2,000 mg of CBD or a combination of CBD and Delta-8 THC. To put this in perspective, according to Healthline, CBD is considered high potency if it has at least 50 milligrams (mg) of CBD per 1 milliliter serving.

All of our CBD and CBG Topical Creams are vegan-friendly, lab-certified, and made in the U.S.A. without any animal testing.

Dealing with tossing and turning?

Find out how CBD can potentially help you sleep!

The Food and Drug Administration does not evaluate the products sold on this Website. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any medical conditions. Individual results may vary. Always consult with a medical health professional before using any product on this Website.
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