Updated: Jan 23
We’re probably stating the obvious here, but pain is a drag! Whether it’s chronic (no pun intended) or acute, pain can make your life unbearable. Up until recently, the solution for a pain that just won’t go away has been powerful opioids.
These drugs often cause more problems than they’re worth. Thankfully, a new, non-addictive treatment for pain is taking the medical community by storm: CBD cream.
But, as with most new medical developments, a lot of questions surround this topical pain reliever:
What exactly is CBD?
What is CBD cream?
How is CBD cream different from CBD oil?
Will CBD cream get you high?
Are there any side effects of CBD cream?
The experts at Honest Marijuana will answer all those questions and more. We’ll even reveal the benefits of CBD cream and show you how to make your very own batch for pain relief. Before we do that, we’ll start at the beginning with the building blocks of CBD cream.
What Is CBD?
CBD is the shortened form of the word cannabidiol. Thank goodness for abbreviations, right? Cannabidiol is one of a group of naturally-occurring chemical compounds called cannabinoids. No abbreviation for that one. Sorry.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is probably the best-known cannabinoid, but others of note are:
All in all, scientists have isolated 113 different cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. We’re going to focus on CBD and how it can be used for pain relief. First, though, let’s discuss CBD creams specifically.
What is CBD cream ?
Hang on to your hats for this one: CBD cream is just a cream (duh!) with CBD extract mixed in. Big Pharma makes creams and lotions with lots of additives and preservatives, but the best CBD creams contain ingredients you can find in your kitchen—nothing more.
In fact, later on, we’ll show you how you can make your own CBD cream.
How Is CBD Cream Different From CBD Oil?
The main difference between CBD cream and CBD oil is how you take it. Here’s the breakdown:
CBD cream is only meant to be applied to the skin (topically).
CBD oil is only meant to be administered under the tongue (sublingually).
If you have a hard time keeping things out of your mouth, CBD cream might not be the best choice for you. It certainly doesn’t help that CBD cream often looks like and smells like a delicious pudding. Trust us, it’s not and it doesn’t.
So, sit on your hands—or put a blunt or joint in your mouth—but don’t eat the CBD cream! Sure, it won’t kill you, but it might cause substantial stomach pain. And pain is what we’re trying to avoid.
So we’ll say it again: Don’t eat the CBD cream!
Will CBD Cream Get You High?
CBD cream will not get you high. The only way a CBD product (e.g., cream, oil, tincture, dissolvable strip, edible) could get you high would be if it contained substantial amounts of THC. CBD cream does not contain THC, at least not in any percentage that would make your world go psychedelic.
So, you can rest easy that the CBD cream you apply before leaving the house won’t have you tasting colors during your drive to work.
Are There Any Side Effects Of CBD Cream?
There are no inherent side effects of CBD cream. That said, if you have very sensitive skin, you may be allergic to some of the ingredients, like olive oil, beeswax, or vitamin E oil. But, honestly, those ingredients are good for your skin, so it’s unlikely that you’ll have any problems.
The only way you might experience any side effects is if you ate the cream (don’t do it!). CBD ingested into your body (either eaten, smoked, or administered sublingually) can cause:
Dry mouth (although some don’t even really consider this a side effect)
A reduction in your liver’s ability to process other pharmaceuticals
That second one is the major concern. If you’re taking a heart medication, for example, adding CBD to the mix will completely negate any of the benefits the heart medication has to offer. Be sure to consult your doctor before ingesting any CBD product.
But you’re not going to eat the CBD cream, right? You’re just going to rub it on your skin. In that case, you have nothing to worry about. You won’t feel any side effects from the CBD cream.
What Is The Benefit Of CBD Cream?
CBD cream can be used to treat a very specific area of your body that’s experiencing pain. If you take CBD oil for a sore muscle, you’ll get a general pain relief throughout your entire body, but the muscle pain itself may not completely disappear.
On the other hand, if you apply CBD cream to your sore muscle, all of CBD’s pain-relieving effects will focus on that one area.
It’s like taking an aspirin for a sore muscle versus getting a massage. With the aspirin, you get a general pain relief, but the muscle may still be tight and sore. But with the massage, you can focus on the muscle until it is relaxed and pain-free.
CBD cream is like that massage in that it can target a specific spot for maximum effect.
What Disorders Can CBD Cream Treat?
CBD has been used to treat a long list of medical issues, including cancer and diabetes. More specifically, CBD cream works to treat the following disorders:
As you can see, CBD is quickly becoming the “Jack of all trades” of the medical world thanks to its effectiveness in a variety of different treatments.
A Step-By-Step Guide For Applying CBD Cream
When you begin investigating the world of CBD topicals, you’ll quickly see that “CBD cream” is a catchall term for a product that comes in a wide variety of forms.
Some CBD creams are moisturizing lotions. Some are balms. Some are salves, liniments, or ointments that produce hot or cold sensations (think Tiger Balm or Bengay) in addition to the CBD effects mentioned above.
In large part, the form of CBD cream you choose (lotion, balm, salve, etc.) comes down to personal preference. Maybe you don’t want the heating or cooling effects. Maybe you just want to moisturize your skin. Or maybe you just like the texture of a liniment over a lotion.
It really doesn’t matter. You’ll still get the many benefits of CBD.
Regardless of which form you settle on, there are a few best practices for applying a CBD topical. Here is a step-by-step guide for applying your CBD cream of choice.
1) Decide Where To Apply Your CBD Cream
This may seem like an obvious first step (and it is), but it goes much deeper than just acknowledging, for example, that your head hurts. Yes, you may have a headache, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should rub a CBD cream on your scalp.
Many times, a headache — or just pain in general — is a symptom of something else going on in your body.
The pain you’re feeling in your lower back could be tight hamstrings (the back of your legs). It could be a sore muscle in your upper back pulling things out of alignment. Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s actually a problem in your lower back.
So even though the pain manifests in one place, the real issue may be located somewhere else. That’s why it’s important to pinpoint where the pain is coming from before applying your CBD cream.
If you have a headache because your neck is tight but you apply the cream to your lower back, you’re not going to get the relief you’re looking for. Find the source of your pain and the CBD cream will do a much better job of alleviating the symptoms.
If you’re unsure where exactly your pain is coming from, start by applying your cream to these trigger points:
Soles of your feet
Really, any joint and the muscles around it will react well to CBD cream.
2) Prep The Area Where You’re Going To Apply The Cream
The purpose of rubbing a CBD cream on your skin is that the cannabinoids will soak through into your muscles, loosen them up, and relieve the pain.
But if there’s dirt, sweat, and dead cells on the surface of your skin, they’ll get in the way of the CBD molecules and prevent them from reaching the source of the pain and tightness.
You can ensure that all the cannabinoids reach their target by cleaning the area before applying the cream.
For that, all you need is a bit of warm water and a washcloth or paper towel. Soak the washcloth or paper towel in the warm water until it’s saturated. Wring it out and then gently scrub the area in question for a few seconds. Then dry your skin with a towel and get ready for step three.
Prepping your skin in this way removes dirt, opens pores, and ensures that you get the most pain relief from your CBD cream.
3) Massage The Cream Into Your Skin Several Times
Squeeze, scoop, or dab a healthy dose of the CBD cream into your hand or onto your skin. Rub vigorously to create heat — this pushes the cream into the lower layers of your skin — and then gently massage the skin and muscles to bring blood to the area.
While rubbing is common when applying pain cream, many forget to massage the area in question. As we mentioned, massaging the skin and muscles (gently, boys and girls) brings blood to the area, which, in turn, helps to spread the cannabinoids deeper into the muscle and tissue as well as over a wider area.
It’s also essential to use enough of the CBD cream to feel the effects you need. Read the directions on the product and use the recommended amount, but realize that, sometimes, a second or even a third application will be necessary.
4) Wash Your Hands
When you’re finished applying the CBD cream, be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water. Honestly, this is just a good idea regardless of whether you’re using a CBD cream or a regular cream.
Most topicals — CBD-based or otherwise — contain ingredients such as:
None of these will feel good if they come in contact with soft tissue like your nose, eyes, and mouth. Similarly, certain sensitive areas of your body — like the insides of your elbows, the backs of your knees, and your private parts — do not react well to these ingredients.
Avoid unwanted irritation by washing your hands.
5) Don’t Expect Full Relief All The Time
In many cases, CBD cream is not a magic bullet that will cure all your ills and make you feel as good as the day you were born.
If you’ve got a sore muscle from overdoing it in that beach volleyball game the other day, sure, CBD cream might fix you right up. But if you’ve suffered from years of arthritis, CBD cream isn’t going to make the pain immediately disappear.
Yes, it will make the symptoms more bearable, but it isn’t going to cure, remove, or solve the underlying problem.
The nice thing about CBD cream — one of the many nice things, actually — is that it might take the place of another medication that causes unwanted side effects.
For example, if you swallow pills like aspirin or ibuprofen for pain relief, these drugs can cause stomach problems if taken too long. But with CBD cream, you don’t have to worry about this side effect — or really any side effect, for that matter — because the medication absorbs through your skin and doesn’t have a chance to irritate your stomach.
Yes, CBD is available in a wide variety of forms these days (e.g., pills, edibles, patches, and even dissolvable strips). But few things are quite as easy and convenient as applying Hemp Cream to your skin.