Life is complicated. We are very rarely able to find quick solutions to our problems. Taking CBD for pain relief isn’t exempt from the complexities of the world around us. All administration methods tend to be flawed to some degree, even if you were to inject cannabidiol straight into your veins, some will most likely be lost before it’s available for your body to use. That is why utilizing a CBD balm and CBD hemp oil together is a resourceful strategy to combat pain, based on the realities of what we understand about CBD at this point in time.
We have yet to discover a perfect way to take CBD. There is not a known delivery method that will result in 100% bioavailability or degree and rate of a substance that is absorbed into the bloodstream. Regardless of what CBD retailers may claim, there isn’t any scientific studies (that we're aware of) proving any type of CBD has been completely absorbed into the bloodstream.
You may have heard a water soluble CBD company claim that their small particle CBD will become 100% bioavailable upon use, but there isn’t any hard evidence to prove this. Unfortunately, there aren’t any consequences for CBD companies making these claims. The industry is still new and isn’t perfect. Like most things in life, it’s best to have all the available information, and make an educated decision for yourself.
Taking CBD for pain is the #1 reason people use this remarkable cannabis compound. If we can figure out the best way to use cannabis products for pain, the world will be forever changed. But first, we must better understand administration methods, bioavailability, and exactly how CBD works on the body.
What’s the goal?
We take CBD for the potential benefits caused by the cannabis compound’s reaction within the Endocannabinoid System (if you aren’t familiar with the ECS, here’s a great resource). The only way to get CBD into your ECS is through the bloodstream.
Relieving pain is the goal, but the key to finding that relief is through the bloodstream. CBD sent to the digestive tract has a low bioavailability and a slow-release time.
An important aspect of the ECS are Endocannabinoid receptors, we know of two, CB1 and CB2. CB1 is centralized in the brain, while CB2 is thought to be mostly found on white blood cells throughout the body.
Cannabinoid experts believe that CBD doesn’t bind particularly well with these receptors. Instead, it is thought that CBD affects enzymes that slow the production of endocannabinoids. These cannabis-like chemicals are produced naturally by our bodies. They have a direct relationship with CB receptors.
CBD’s reaction inside our bodies is not even completely understood by the most knowledgeable cannabis researchers, so if this is a bit confusing don’t worry, we felt the exact same way at first. Just remember that CBD has an indirect relationship with the CB receptors, and early research suggests taking it helps to promote a healthy ECS.
To stop pain, we need to get CBD into the bloodstream so it can be delivered throughout the body. Taking a combination of a hemp CBD balm and hemp CBD oil is a great approach to accomplish this task.
CBD in hemp oil for pain
If you are confused about the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil, we wrote this article to clarify the distinction. Hemp oil (and not hemp extract, which tends to be another way of saying CBD oil - we know, it's confusing) doesn’t contain CBD; and many companies choose to use hemp oil as a carrier for their CBD, which makes the distinction even more murky.
CBD oil is taken sublingually, meaning it is absorbed by the mucosal glands under the tongue. This administration method is thought to be fairly efficient. Exactly how efficient depends on who you ask. We have seen as low as 10%-20% and as high as 80% absorption. The truth is we won’t know until there are independent studies done, regulated by a government agency. This is coming soon, but for now we are left without much real information from medically-backed research studies.
An encouraging fact about CBD use is we don’t need that much. In fact, too much is believed to lower the benefits.
Taking CBD in a carrier oil like hemp seed oil or MCT allows the CBD to be distributed around the body, covering both CB1 and CB2 receptors. The problem is that the administration isn’t centralized. We hope that the CBD will flood the area of the body that is inflamed but we don't yet know for certain.
CBD balm for pain
What better way to get directly to the source of pain than rubbing a CBD balm right into the skin? The problem is that we know even less about CBD’s ability to travel through the skin and into our bloodstream than about CBD taken sublingually.
CBD is a lipophilic molecular compound, meaning it is oil. Our skin is made up of mostly water. Transdermal administration of CBD hasn’t even been fully proven to be possible. This is indeed discouraging to find out, however, we don’t believe that all the people who swear by CBD topicals are imagining pain relief.
We do know that our skin, muscles, joints, and bones are filled with CB2 receptors. Taking CBD topically seems like a reasonable way to get the CBD to the areas you are in need of relieving. The problem is that we don’t have the data to understand the CBD’s bioavailability after rubbing CBD balm on a sore knee after a hike.
Healthline.com suggests using a high potency topical. This makes sense for all administration methods especially knowing that a majority of the CBD will be wasted.
Combine the methods – CBD balm and CBD oil
There isn’t a magical solution to treating pain. Any legitimate doctor will first evaluate your condition and then recommend a plan that consists of multiple ways to treat the pain. If a physician is prescribing pain medication, they usually will strongly suggest that their patient is stretching, eating healthy, and exercising. CBD isn’t magic, but thousands of people are convinced that it can drastically help. To put yourself in the best possible position to benefit from CBD, you need a multifaceted approach.
We know that CBD administration is flawed, that is ok. Don’t think of it as your body wasting CBD. Experts recommend experimenting with dosing to find that sweet spot that is right for you anyway, so upping the dose may be necessary. Taking CBD hemp oil and a CBD balm will ensure that you are getting the compound into the bloodstream and hopefully, to the ECS and your source of pain.
CBD oil is probably more bioavailable, according to the information we have. This means that you should be getting a healthy amount of CBD to the central nervous system and the brain. This is where your CB1 receptors reside. When taking CBD balm, you are rubbing it on your source of pain. Muscles and joints contain CB2 receptors. Utilizing both methods, in theory should give your body the increase of CBD necessary to promote a healthy ECS.
We are still in new territory when it comes to understanding the right ways to take CBD. Surely, a decade from now, scientists will find ways to make more CBD bioavailable. For now, these two methods have produced great results anecdotally, plus scientists believe that CBD will help endocannabinoid production in the ECS.
Why not use both methods? Being in pain is horrible. It can result in losing mobility, sleep and even can cause anxiety.
Our advice is to first make sure you are buying CBD from a reputable retailer providing transparency and lab tests. Then, identify what your specific needs. If you are able to stretch and exercise, both of these will help you. Eat more vegetables. And finally, use CBD balm and CBD hemp oil. Make sure to take consistently and over the course of at least a few weeks. Monitor your results throughout the experience.
Life is complicated. Problems aren’t magically solved. That is why using a multifaceted approach is key. Implementing CBD balm and CBD in hemp oil is a great strategy to use in the fight against pain.
Consult with a doctor if you are taking any medication. If you experience any irregularities stop taking CBD and notify your personal physician.
TL;DR: Even though at this point we don't fully understand how it works, using CBD for pain relief has produced great results. What we currently know suggests that combining a CBD oil and a CBD balm is the best strategy against pain. CBD oil taken sublingually has a greater bioavailability and will allow the CBD to distribute around your body, while rubbing a CBD balm on the source of your pain ensures the CBD is delivered where you need it most.
Yesterday offers a full-line of hemp derived CBD oil, containing broad-spectrum hemp extract and zero THC. Feel free to check out our full selection of oils and softgels to help bring a sense of calm to your daily life. To learn more about the CBD basics, we recommend reading more from our CBD 101 articles, available here.