bear balm cbd topical reviewDecember 15, 2021
Then the researchers measured the inflammation in each rat’s knee joint, the level of CBD that made it into their bloodstream, and their pain-related behaviors. They found that the rats that were given the two highest doses of CBD showed significantly lower levels of inflammation and lower pain behavior scores compared to those that got the control. The two lower doses didn’t show much of an effect.
The studies we do have about CBD for pain are all animal studies. For example, in a 2017 study published in Pain, researchers gave rats an injection into one of their knee joints to model osteoarthritis. Rats then either received doses of CBD or saline directly into an artery in the knee joint. Results showed that, after receiving CBD, rats showed less inflammation in the joint area and fewer pain-related behaviors (like shaking or withdrawing the affected paw or not being able to bear weight in that paw) compared to those that received saline.
The only thing that comes close is a Phase 2 clinical trial using a proprietary CBD transdermal gel (meaning it’s meant to go through the skin into the bloodstream) in 320 patients with knee osteoarthritis over 12 weeks, which has not been peer-reviewed to date. Unfortunately, in almost all of the study’s measures of pain, those who received CBD didn’t have statistically different scores from those who got placebo. But “they found some reductions in pain and improvements in physical function,” Boehnke says.
“It might be that cannabidiol by itself is helpful for pain, but at this point we don’t know that,” Cooper says.
It’s totally possible (and actually pretty likely) that any effect you get from a commercially available topical CBD product is a placebo effect or related to some other aspect of the product. But there are a few things going on here that are more complex than they seem.
Here’s what the research says about using CBD for pain.
“There’s really no substitute for doing proper human studies, which are difficult, expensive, and ethically complicated,” Dr. Tishler says. And we simply don’t have them for CBD and pain.
More recent research suggests that many of CBD’s effects may occur outside of CB receptors, Jordan Tishler, M.D., medical cannabis expert at InhaleMD in Boston, tells SELF. In fact, according to a recent review published in Molecules, CBD may have effects on some serotonin receptors (known to play a role in depression and anxiety), adenosine receptors (one of the neurological targets for caffeine), and even TRPV-1 receptors (more commonly associated with taste and the sensation of spiciness).
Another study published in 2016 in the European Journal of Pain also looked at arthritis in rats but did so with a topical formulation of CBD. After the rats received an injection into one knee joint to model arthritis, they received a gel that contained either 10 percent CBD (in four different total amounts) or 1 percent CBD (the control) on four consecutive days. The gel was massaged into the rats’ shaved backs for 30 seconds each time.
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 that’s not quite as exciting for CBD as it sounds: “We don’t know cannabidiol’s effects on its own,” says Cooper, who was part of the National Academies committee that put together this report. “[The conclusions about cannabis and cannabinoids] were based on what we know about THC or THC plus cannabidiol.”
Why does the body have receptors for compounds in cannabis? Well, it doesn’t exactly. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are similar enough to compounds that your body naturally makes, called endocannabinoids, that they can interact with this system. Normally, the endocannabinoid system is thought to play a role in a variety of functions in the body, helping to regulate things like parts of the immune system, the release of hormones, metabolism, and memory.
If you’re ingesting something that only has CBD in it and no THC, you won’t have significant effects in the brain. This is why CBD is often referred to as being “non-psychoactive,” although that’s clearly a bit of an oversimplification because it does do something to the central nervous system.
All of this points to how hard it is to study the specific effects of CBD on its own—which might be why it’s tempting to claim that it’s the cure for everything without a whole lot of research to actually back up all of those claims.
But if you’re reading this, you are probably not a rat, which means these results aren’t directly applicable to your life. Although we know that rats do share much of our physiology—including CB1 and CB2 receptors—these studies don’t really tell us if humans would have the same results with CBD.
You don’t need me to tell you that CBD (cannabidiol) is everywhere. You can eat it, you can drink it, you can vape it, you can even bathe in it. And although there’s still plenty to learn about this fascinating little compound, fans of it claim that it has some pretty impressive benefits—particularly when it comes to managing pain.
What is CBD?
Both THC and CBD act on a system of receptors in your body called cannabinoid receptors. You have cannabinoid receptors throughout your body and, so far, researchers have identified two major types: CB1 (found primarily in the central nervous system, including parts of the brain and spinal cord) and CB2 (found mainly in immune system tissues). Interestingly, both have been found in skin. Researchers have also found that while THC can bind to and activate both types of receptors, CBD seems to modulate and somewhat block the effects of CB1 and CB2 receptors. So, any effect that CBD has on CB receptors may actually be more related to regulating and even counteracting some of the actions of THC and other cannabinoids in the brain.
Personally, I always keep a few jars of it at my desk to help with the shoulder and neck muscle tension inherent in a job consisting mainly of typing and holding a phone next to my face. But it turns out that the research behind these claims is pretty sparse, to say the least. Here’s what you need to know before you give topical CBD a try.
The most common medical reason for which people report using CBD is to manage chronic pain, followed closely by managing arthritis or joint pain. But does it actually work?
In fact, the most compelling research they found for using cannabinoids for pain came from a large review and meta-analysis published in JAMA in 2015. For the study, researchers looked at results from 79 previous studies of cannabinoids and various medical conditions, including chronic pain. However, of those studies, only four involved CBD (without THC)—none of which were looking at pain. So although we might assume that CBD is doing something to help address pain—according to the studies involving the whole cannabis plant—we don’t have great evidence to prove it.
“It actually is a very promiscuous compound,” Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., research fellow in the department of anesthesiology and the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan, tells SELF. “It will bind to receptors in multiple different pathways,” which makes it difficult to know how it might cause noticeable effects.
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.
“Cannabidiol is a super messy drug,” Ziva Cooper, Ph.D., research director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative in the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, tells SELF. “It has lots and lots of targets and it’s not clear how much of its effects on each target contribute to the potential pain relieving effects.”
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.
And even though the lotion was applied topically in the rat study, it wasn’t applied locally to the knee. Instead, the researchers were really using the topical application to get it into the rats’ bloodstream, or what’s called systemic administration. But you’d likely need a different dose for it to be effective locally (if you applied it just to your aching shoulder, for instance) in a human. We have no idea what that dose should look like.
As yet, there are no known side-effects or indications of dependence.
CBD, the non-psychoactive medicinal ingredient found in the marijuana plant, has been credited with relieving pain and inflammation, reducing epileptic seizures, quelling anxiety and insomnia, combatting some forms of cancer and even tempering acne.
When asked whether an abundance of encouraging anecdotal reports should count for something, Caulfield is unequivocal.
Evidence so far ‘underwhelming’
One big problem with unregulated CBD products, he said, is unreliable quality and inconsistent dosing. Some producers may also fail to recognize the pharmaceutical complexity of the marijuana plant, and the way in which its cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies.
While conceding there is “reasonable evidence” that cannabis can help with nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy and may improve spasticity in conditions like multiple sclerosis, there is little to suggest cannabinoids help with pain, and “if they do, it is neuropathic pain and the benefit is likely small.
“The science and knowledge about cannabis has been totally distorted by politicians who had their own agenda from the 1930s on, calling it a dangerous plant simply because of this one part that gets you stoned,” he said.
“While a purified cannabinoid may be of benefit, the benefits are enhanced when there is a broad spectrum of (the plant’s) chemicals involved,” he said, noting that one reason producers isolate CBD from hemp is to bypass regulatory hurdles, because the hemp plant has no THC.
Looking ahead, Loebenberg added the potential benefits of medical cannabis have been neglected for far too long, and that it’s high time science caught up with cannabis culture.
It could prove that isolating any one cannabinoid for medical purposes is in some cases self-defeating.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the CBD-based drug Epidiolex, used to treat severe epilepsy, especially Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two of the most debilitating forms of the disease in children.
More to it than CBD.
“No other plant has been treated in this way. They gave a very important medical plant away to criminals.”
“Anecdotal data is just a bunch of stories. It happens so often that when you do the actual clinical trials on this stuff, the results are underwhelming.”
Producers of the cream claim it relieves muscle soreness. Some reports even suggest it can be effective in combatting skin cancer, said Loebenberg.
However, some researchers say the anecdotal promise of medical cannabis is too strong to ignore, and are poised to go after supporting evidence. Some of that clinical proof is already starting to emerge as more researchers take up the quest.
Underwhelming is exactly what Michael Allan, director of evidence-based medicine in the U of A’s Department of Family Medicine, found after completing a review of scientific literature for Canadian Family Physician .
“EvenGOOP (Gwyneth Paltrow’s health and wellness company) has jumped on the cannabis bandwagon, and they’re pushing it as a wellness thing that we should all be taking for our general well-being.
“With legalization I hope that research will pick up and we get more good products on the market-not just CBD by itself but CBD/THC combinations,” he said. “It seems that a combination of the two is most effective,” even if just a small amount of THC is combined with CBD.
“Medical cannabinoids have been advocated for an extensive variety of conditions, from glaucoma to cancer,” wrote Allan. “Unfortunately, bias is pervasive throughout the medical cannabinoid literature, including in randomized controlled trials.
“This is compounded by poor reporting in the media, with 79 per cent of medical cannabinoid newspaper stories providing inappropriate information, most of which was sensationalism.”
Method of ingestion can also make a difference in the efficacy of the drug, said Loebenberg. Oils, capsules and sublingual tinctures are popular, but not necessarily the most reliable way to deliver potency.
“Nope,” he said. “Testimonials and anecdotal reports may suggest research, but it’s never good evidence. The scientific process is specifically designed to overcome the biases inherent in anecdotal evidence.
Perfect for anyone new to the world of CBD, these gummies range from the low concentration of 8mg to 25mg of CBD per gummy, making them perfect for chewing on during hectic days at work.
Today, CBD can be found in everything from face serums to oils, gummy sweets and cakes, with people hailing it as an antidote to everyday ailments from stress to sleep issues and even skin irritations.
If you’re looking to get your hands on some CBD products, look no further than Just CBD, your one-stop shop for products featuring the ingredient. Just CBD offers a diverse range of cannabidiol-infused products made from naturally grown hemp, from gummies to full spectrum CBD oil for mind and body wellbeing. The brand also constantly tests its products in labs to ensure that its Cannabidiol is nothing short of the purest.
Keep a pot on your desk and rub it on your hands and shoulders to ease tired muscles.
Seasoned CBD users can either pop a few drops under their tongue and hold it there for 60 seconds while the body absorbs the chemical or drop some into their morning coffee or a bottle of water to sip throughout the day.
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A recent study from the European Journal of Pain also suggested that applying CBD to the skin may even be able to help reduce pain and inflammation of joints, making it a product many of us might want to consider adding to our self-care arsenal – certainly if we’re likely to be crouched over the kitchen table at our laptops for the foreseeable.
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If ingesting CBD isn’t for you, creams, lotions and roll-ons have been said to help manage discomfort. Made from CBD oil, amino acids and essential oils, Just CBD’s topical creams help relieve tension in the body and leave the skin feeling supple and moisturised.
Just CBD’s tinctures come in various strengths and three flavours, coconut, hemp and honey, made with high-quality hemp and all non-GMO.
And with the world and work the way they are, is it any wonder so many of us are turning to something that might help us instil a sense of calm? Most recent mental health figures from 2018 show that 74 per cent of people report feeling stressed to the point of overwhelm, and 61 per cent of them reported ongoing feelings of anxiety. Now, as our working days stretch into our downtime and remote setups looking to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future the elusive work/life balance feels more unreachable than ever.
If you’re hitting the home work outs hard during lockdown, the cold relief roll on could be the product for you, or the pain relief cream to work on any pulled muscles. For a luxurious treat for your skin, the Strawberry Champagne lotion is a great everyday option.
Oil pipettes are one of the most popular ways to ingest CBD and the easiest way to bring some CBD into your daily routine. But tinctures, made using water and alcohol rather than oil, to extract the CBD from the industrial hemp, are more powerful and faster acting.
Here are some of their best products so you can get started.
In the past few years, use of CBD has skyrocketed as people have turned to it to help them relax, destress and unwind. It has been touted as a product with anti-inflammatory capabilities, and an ingredient that can help people relax and take a beat.
Whichever product you choose, it’s clear that CBD isn’t going anywhere soon. Some studies suggest that Cannabidiol may benefit anxiety-related disorders, could ameliorate the physiological impact of stress, reduce public speaking anxiety and possibly even assist with post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also considered safe by the World Health Organisation. No wonder the Centre of Medicinal Cannabis has predicted it will be worth almost £1bn per annum to the UK wellbeing industry in the UK by 2025.
With CBD edibles becoming increasingly popular, Just CBD offers vegan and sugar free options for your personal preference. The vegan gummies are made using organic, protein-rich whole grain ingredients and come in a range of delicious flavours including a party pack and of course a classic gummy bear selection.
But what exactly is it? CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the stalk, stems, leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. Unlike cannabis, CBD does not impact the central nervous system, because it does not contain the active (and illegal) compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is found in marijuana and which causes people to get high. It is not to be confused with hemp oil, which is made from the seeds of the hemp plant.
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If there were one product that best summed up the wellness boom of recent years, it would be Cannabidiol (CBD). It has truly become the hero product of the beauty, food and wellbeing industries, with celebrities from Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow swearing by it as a natural supplement for calm and clarity.