In just a few years, CBD has infiltrated our Instagram feeds and the shelves at the local grocery store. More people than ever are using cannabis products, driven to them by CBD’s non-intoxicating properties and potential to treat an array of conditions. According to research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 62% of people use CBD to treat a medical condition, and among them the majority are using it to combat chronic pain, arthritis, and joint pain. We are lucky to have what appears to be an unlimited variety of ways to take CBD. Let's explore why it could be a good idea to buy one of the most promising ones: a CBD balm for pain relief.
What is a CBD balm?
Creams, salves, balms, ointments, lotions, serums… the topical choices of CBD products can be overwhelming. What separates a balm from a cream is its natural ingredients and thick texture. A CBD balm uses plant-based ingredients to produce the consistency needed instead of using artificial fillers.
CBD balms typically are a combination of plant oils and wax-based ingredients infused with CBD. Lotions and creams are water-based, making them less concentrated. Unlike them, balms don’t contain any water, making them highly concentrated and much thicker. Their consistency usually is between wax and a solid.
Using a CBD balm can be more efficient than opting for a water-based cream or lotion, as less product is needed to cover the area in need and get the desired results. CBD balms can go a long way on a small amount. CBD products can be expensive, so many users prefer using a more concentrated product with natural ingredients to get the results they are looking for.
What can a CBD balm be used for?
We are far from fully grasping the true potential of CBD. Prohibition has set us back decades. To fully understand the many chemical compounds in cannabis, much more research is needed. Thankfully, public opinion has shifted, and the stigma around cannabis is quickly wearing off. The next step is large-scale trials in a controlled environment with human subjects, but existing studies already show promising results and suggest that it could be benefical for many people to buy a CBD balm for pain relief.
CBD for chronic pain relief
In 2019, the Lambert Center for the Study of Medical Cannabis and Hemp Philadelphia published a study aiming to evaluate the effects of CBD on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients. 97 human participants suffering from severe chronic pain for at least three years and steadily taking opioids for at least two years completed the 8-week study all the way through.
The participants took full-spectrum CBD each day over eight weeks and were closely monitored. This study produced astonishing results, especially considering that all the participants were regularly taking opioids as a pain treatment.
- 53.4% of the participants were able to reduce opioid medications in week 8.
- 94% of the participants reported improved quality of life on subjective, open-ended questions.
- 65% reported pain improvement.
- Six participants were able to reduce or eliminate their anxiety medication.
- Four participants reported eliminating or reducing their sleep medication.
The researchers concluded that CBD could significantly reduce opioid use and improve chronic pain and sleep quality among patients currently using opioids for pain management.
Topical CBD for arthritis
We don’t have any quality human studies that suggest CBD can help users deal with the discomfort caused by arthritis yet. We are unfortunately left with data conducted using animal models. Research from a study supported by the American Cancer Society concluded that topical CBD "has a therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects." While the participants were rats, the study still produced encouraging results. Joint swelling and limp posture were significantly reduced.
Without any large-scale trials done on humans, organizations like the Arthritis Foundation aren’t able to fully support CBD as a treatment. However, they do acknowledge that CBD is being used to used and show interest in more research. This is what they have to say about using CBD for arthritis: "Animal studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, but these effects have not been validated in quality studies in humans. Anecdotally, some people with arthritis who have tried CBD, but not all, report noticeable pain relief, sleep improvement and/or anxiety reduction."
Using CBD to treat arthritis could be a game changer for our older populations. This issue plagues senior citizens and the current treatments have serious side-effects that can alter a patient’s entire way of life. CBD provides people suffering from arthritis another option to fight pain and increase mobility without dangerous side-effects.
CBD for inflammation
Most of the studies designed to look at CBD for inflammation are performed using animal models. Data measuring swollen rat paws doesn’t solidify CBD as a treatment for most people. Testing humans for inflammation usually means targeting a specific disorder in the trials.
We do have a study done on humans to reference, but the numbers are small. Three patients suffering from epidermolysis bullosa, a rare blistering skin disorder, were the subjects of an observatory study lead by a Stanford School of Medicine researcher. Epidermolysis bullosa is a difficult condition to treat because of problems with reinfection, mobility, itching, and pain. The sample size may be small, but the results were promising.
The researchers concluded that topical CBD shows promise in delivering anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. All three patients reported faster wound healing, less blistering, and amelioration of pain with CBD use. Most encouraging, one of the participants was able to stop taking opioids.
Why not buy a CBD balm for everyday pain?
CBD balms do not exclusively help with severe medical conditions. Most people experience pain from time to time without needing to dose every day, but we can all benefit from having easy access to an instant, natural pain reliever. Many CBD users enjoy applying it topically for more mundane pain. For instance, you could buy a CBD balm for pain and soreness caused by an intense exercise session and keep it in your spin class bag. Not much of an athlete? How about having it ready to go after a night out in high heels? Topical CBD can be a great way to experience instant relief without any commitment or serious side-effects.