It’s hard to ignore to possibilities that CBD has to offer in terms of health and wellbeing.
While clinical trials continue to be a bit of an obstacle here on US soil, they’re still being done, and the results are extremely promising. In particular, CBD has been shown time and time again to be highly effective in treating pain, and more and more people are using CBD products to alleviate their pain caused by any number of underlying issues.
CBD can be consumed in any number of formats, including tinctures, oils, capsules, edibles, topical creams, vapes, and even water. But which format is more effective at treating pain? More specifically, is CBD oil or cream better for pain alleviation?
How Does CBD Work to Reduce Pain?
CBD – or cannabidiol – is found in great abundance in the cannabis varieties. Both CBD and THC – another cannabinoid found in high levels in the cannabis plant – have miraculous effects on the body that rival even the most powerful and well-recognized pharmaceuticals.
But while THC induces feelings of euphoria and alters the mind, CBD does not possess such psychoactive properties. Both of these cannabinoids take effect in the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of cannabinoid receptors and their associated metabolic enzymes.
The ECS plays an integral role in maintaining homeostasis in the body. When certain processes are out of balance, a disease can ensue. That’s precisely why pain is experienced. But by putting the body back into balance, symptoms such as pain can be effectively alleviated.
Cannabinoid receptors of the ECS are found all throughout the body on the surface of cells, while endocannabinoids interact with and activate these receptors. CBD can mimic the activity of these endocannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body to induce similar effects, such as pain alleviation.
The receptors of the ECS essentially sit on the surface of cells and are in tune with conditions occurring outside of the cell. They can transmit information about any changes in conditions to the inside of the cell, which initiates a cellular response to deal with these stressors.
When THC is consumed, it binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, which is what causes users to get high, while still providing certain health benefits. But CBD does not directly bind to these receptors and instead indirectly interacts with the CB2 receptors that are found mainly in the immune system, though they (along with CB1 receptors) are also found throughout the body.
The ECS is directly responsible for regulating specific responses in the body, including pain control, among many others. When CBD is consumed, it takes on the role of endocannabinoids to reduce pain resulting from an imbalance in the body.
The body is encouraged to use both CBD and its naturally-occurring endocannabinoids more efficiently to regulate pain. That’s why so many people have already been able to effectively treat their pain without the need for potentially-addictive NSAIDs and opioids.
CBD has the amazing capability of alleviating various levels and types of pain, including arthritis and joint pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, muscle soreness, cramps, tendonitis, and even headaches.
The question is, what’s better for pain: CBD oil or topical creams?
What is CBD Oil?
As already mentioned, CBD products come in a variety of formats, including CBD oil. This specific product varies in potency, though it is said that oil formats tend to be more potent than most types of CBD products.
CBD oil can be extracted from both the hemp or marijuana plant, though the latter will typically come with a level of THC that will likely produce some sort of mind-altering effect. Further, marijuana-derived CBD with THC levels over 0.3% is considered illegal on a federal level as well as in many states where marijuana has yet to be legalized.
There are a few different ways to extract CBD oil, though the CO2 extraction method tends to result in the purest CBD oil. This extraction method involves the use of carbon dioxide in an environment of very cold temperatures and high pressure. Such an extraction method not only result in a pure form of CBD oil, but it also tends to come with far fewer solvents and residue that may be left behind with other methods of extraction.
CBD oil is usually taken orally under the tongue using a dropper, after which it is absorbed through the mucous membranes and directly enters the bloodstream without having to go through the digestive system.
What is CBD Cream?
A few different topical formats can be made with CBD, including creams. These are produced with the extracted oils from the hemp or cannabis plant that is then infused into a topical base. Like CBD oil formats, the CBD from creams interacts with the CB2 receptors of the ECS to provide pain-relieving effects.
CBD creams differ somewhat from ointments and salves in terms of their consistency, texture, and sometimes even their potency. For instance, ointments tend to be thicker in consistency and may even be considered to be more potent in terms of CBD content. Creams, on the other hand, have a looser consistency and are usually water-based.
Rather than being consumed orally like CBD oil, creams are applied directly to the site of pain. The cream is rubbed onto the skin, after which the CBD infused in the product is absorbed into the skin to take effect.
Which Format is Better For Pain: CBD Oil or Cream?
Both CBD oil and cream work quite well for pain relief. Creams can be applied directly to the area where the pain is felt for more targeted pain relief. However, it may take a while longer for the effects to be experienced as the CBD is absorbed into the skin.
CBD oil, on the other hand, may provide slightly faster effects because of its ability to bypass the digestive system and go straight to the cells of the body to take effect. In the meantime, CBD oil may also alleviate any other symptoms that the user may be experiencing, including anxiety, sleep disorders, or poor appetite.
That said, there are proponents for both types of CBD formats who claim that either product is highly effective at alleviating pain. And when taken together, both CBD oil and cream can have a synergistic effect on the body.
Both CBD oil and cream have shown to have powerful effects on alleviating pain. They each have their own unique benefits and can both be used to relieve pain, regardless of what the source of the pain may be. Ultimately, the choice between which format to use will depend on the users’ specific preferences, as they are both highly effective in reducing pain and many other discomforts.