Topical CBD products are growing in popularity. According to a 2020 survey, a third of the US population has tried a CBD product. An NCBI study found that 62% of CBD consumers use it for pain, anxiety, and depression.
But do these topical CBD products do anything for pain? And how do consumers decide which CBD products are right for them?
We’ll examine some different studies found on topical CBD for pain and let you decide if it is an expensive placebo or a viable product. Either way, millions of consumers worldwide buy and use topical CBD products every day to help soothe and manage chronic pain.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid that is a derivative of the hemp plant. It is one of 113 byproducts from hemp. When extracted to the highest standards, CBD oil can affect the human body’s cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system and the immune system tissues.
But don’t confuse CBD with the other common byproduct of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has psychoactive properties. CBD does not contain THC and affects the brain differently because CBD does not have psychoactive properties. Because it contains less than 0.3% THC, CBD is legal in all 50 states.
Because CBD receptors are chemically similar to endogenous endocannabinoid lipid derivatives, CBD oil has the potential to treat neuropathic pain and inflammation with little to no side effects.
And with the explosion of CBD products on the market that is largely unregulated, it can be challenging to determine if topical CBD products can soothe pain like arthritis. Because it is unregulated, it is imperative that consumers research CBD products before they buy them.
Research About CBD for Pain
Because cannabis was illegal in the United States until recently, few studies were conducted on the health benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids. But as regulations have legalized cannabinoids, and four states have now legalized the use of cannabis, more studies are evaluating the effectiveness of CBD to treat pain.
A study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine found that adults with chronic pain noticed a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms from using cannabis or cannabinoids. But this wasn’t a study of CBD without THC.
A Cannabinoids meta-analysis review of seventy-nine different trials showed an improvement in symptoms but not a statistical significance. 37% of participants felt a reduction in pain compared to the 31% of placebo participants, who also felt a decrease in pain.
Ultimately, the study acknowledged that there was a moderate-quality of evidence to support using cannabinoids for treating chronic pain but not conclusive.
Some studies in animals have found that CBD has been more effective for treating pain. A study on the topical use of CBD on rats found there was therapeutic potential for pain relief and inflammation without side effects. The study concluded that CBD has the potential for effective treatment of arthritic symptoms in adults. But more studies needed to be conducted.