It's no secret that inflammation is at the root of most disease and pain. Whether it's an effect or a cause is still up for debate, but soothing inflammation is undeniably important to anyone experiencing pain, irritating skin conditions, and many other health effects.
If you've heard that CBD can help, you may be onto something–but what about localized, topical CBD? Does CBD cream decrease inflammation? It very well may. Let’s dig into the research available to decide:Table of Contents
CBD is a hemp-derived cannabinoid that interacts with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, a regulatory system that controls the body’s inflammation and pain signaling (and much, much more). In topical form, like as a CBD Cream, CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in a localized area, which may help to target specific pain points.
CBD’s side effect profile may be much less risky than that of various prescription medications, which may make it a better option for managing some pain conditions that require daily maintenance. Moreover, CBD cream, like many other pain-relief topicals, won’t interfere with most medications, so you can use it in addition to your regular arthritis treatments (with your doctor’s approval, of course).
CBD-rich hemp extract can be added to many different topical formulations alongside carrier oils to create many different forms of CBD topicals. The term “CBD Cream” is just a blanket statement for the wide array of unique, CBD-infused lotions, skin serums, balms, bath products, and other topicals that you can find to target the areas where you need the most relief.
We’ll dive into the evidence to support the use of CBD cream for inflammation, and then we’ll cover the basic topical formulas and how to choose the best one down below.
We mentioned that inflammation is at the root of most disease–including coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and more–but it’s unclear whether inflammation could be the cause or if it is simply a symptom of these illnesses.
Still, inflammation, on its own, causes a series of negative effects on the body that increase stress levels and heighten your risk of developing serious health conditions. The primary danger of inflammation is that it causes damage to tissues throughout the body, including the tissues of your organs, like your heart and brain.
Inflammation promotes the action of free radicals and puts the body into a state of oxidative stress that can cause damage to proteins, fat, and even the very basis of our DNA. What’s worse is that oxidative stress promotes inflammation, leading to a cycle of inflammatory damage that’s hard to treat.
Researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center published a study in Free Radical Biology and Medicine that addresses not only the high concern for the impact that oxidative stress can have on the body, but the complications of managing the intertwined relationship between oxidative stress and inflammation. The potential therapeutic avenue that they pointed to? CBD.
According to this research, CBD may have potential benefits both for managing inflammation and for destroying free radicals that promote oxidative stress, otherwise known as CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action on immune cells. It is CBD’s ability to impact immune functions (as opposed to THC’s psychoactive action on the brain-portion of the endocannabinoid system) that gives it great therapeutic potential.
Of course, CBD is not yet approved as a treatment for inflammation by the FDA, but this study (along with many others) hint at the future development of CBD-based pharmaceuticals for inflammation and inflammatory disease. Let’s take a look at the other supporting evidence:
In general, CBD has been demonstrated to be potentially helpful in dealing with various types of pain and inflammation. Most of the research available, however, centers around CBD taken orally where it has a systemic effect on the body. The question is, does CBD cream provide the same benefit?
For now, we only have limited evidence available to help us understand the impact that topical CBD has on the body, but it's generally believed to provide very similar benefits at the surface level.
One 2016 study, for instance, found that CBD, when applied topically to mice, may have long lasting benefits for reducing inflammation and pain-related behaviors caused by arthritis.
Furthermore, CBD may be useful for managing certain pain conditions that are difficult to treat. A 2020 study found that CBD may help to reduce pain related to neuropathy, a condition characterized by nerve damage that causes numbness and weakness in the hands and feet.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), topical CBD could also be useful for managing certain inflammatory skin conditions, like acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
Ultimately, we need more information to understand how CBD could impact the complicated issue of inflammation, but it undoubtedly has great potential.
CBD topicals are not absorbed into the bloodstream, so they only have a local impact. That means that you can apply CBD directly at the source of inflammation for a more targeted approach to relief. That also means that you can double down on CBD relief by taking a systemic dose and using a CBD topical at the same time. Before you get started, you need to choose a CBD topical style based on your needs.
There are hundreds of unique CBD topicals on the market, but it generally boils down to two basic formulations:
CBD skin cream or balm is typically intended to treat topical ailments, like skin issues, and may include mild botanicals or other plant derivatives designed to moisturize the skin without further irritating a rash, cut, or blemish. They typically avoid any ingredients that may penetrate deeper or irritate sensitive skin.
Our CBD Skin Balm is designed to sooth topical scrapes, cuts, burns, and more. The functional formula combines nourishing rosehip oil and shea nut butter with rejuvenating essential oils to help support optimal skin health and healing.
A CBD muscle cream may be a balm or a lotion, but usually includes potent doses of CBD alongside essential oils or other pain-relieving ingredients.
Our CBD Muscle Rub, for instance, combines a potent CBD extract with hand selected botanicals, including cooling menthol, soothing arnica, and a powerful dose of turmeric oil. The combination is designed to support blood flow, lower inflammation, and offer a synergy that helps to calm pain and discomfort in the joints and muscles.
Unlike typical CBD products, there’s not usually a precise way to measure CBD topicals. Instead, you should just apply as much as needed to cover the affected area.
Because topicals don’t have a systemic impact, meaning they don’t reach the bloodstream, you should be able to reapply them as needed. Follow the directions given on the label for reapplication since some other ingredients may cause an adverse reaction with overuse.
CBD’s safety and side effect profile is often milder than prescription medications used to manage inflammation, and may be more comparable to the safety profile of over the counter anti-inflammatory options. For most people, CBD is a safe option, although it could interact with some medications. It’s important to talk to your doctor before trying CBD for inflammation.
The most severe risks come from purchasing a poor quality product. Some CBD products may contain harsh pesticides, solvents, or other unsafe ingredients. Look for a product that’s made from organic hemp material and that has been third-party lab tested to prove label accuracy.
CBD is usually derived from hemp, a form of cannabis that’s federally legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. By the definition used in this bill, hemp includes all of its cannabinoids, isomers, salts, extracts, and other derivatives, and any product made from hemp-derivatives, so long as it contains less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC. In other words, CBD creams are legal by federal standards assuming they contain less tan 0.3% Delta-9-THC.
Although CBD has not yet been approved by the FDA as a topical treatment for any condition, many people are eager to give it a shot for managing inflammation. Luckily, because it’s derived from hemp, it’s much more accessible than other cannabis products. In fact, you can order federally legal hemp products online and have them shipped right to your door from almost anywhere in the country.
There’s one drawback–the hemp industry is still poorly regulated, so you’ll need to take care to choose a high-quality, well-formulated CBD cream. At Vida Optima, we follow the same stringent quality standards for all of our CBD products, whether they are meant to be ingested or applied topically.
Our VidaDerm CBD Skin Care line is carefully formulated with premium CBD extract, hand chosen botanicals, and nourishing plant oils to offer a gentle and effective option for combating skin concerns at the surface and aches and pains deep in the joints. Pair it with a systemic CBD dose from our Vitality Collection for a full-coverage CBD wellness routine.
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