Science has confirmed that cannabis is an effective pain reliever, reinforced in a massive new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. But there's a big difference between ingesting cannabis or its individual chemicals orally and absorbing it through your skin. Here, the lowdown on this new crop (no pun intended) of pain relievers.

Cooper recently got funding from the National Institutes of Health for a study looking at cannabinoids — including CBD in isolation — as a substitute for opioids, and numerous other clinical trials of CBD are underway. It will be several years before results are available, but these studies should help clarify both what benefits the substance may provide and any side effects it may come with. Most of the adverse effects so far associated with cannabis, such as impairments in short-term memory, coordination and judgment,2 come from products that contain THC as well as CBD, Cooper said, but we need to do more studies to find out for sure whether CBD has fewer risks. Studies are also needed to identify the best way to administer and dose CBD. “I get emails from people asking me what dose of CBD to use, and the truth is, we really don’t know,” Cooper said.
If you read the ingredient list, often everything in the jar is straight from mother earth. As long as that's indeed the case with the cream you have your eye on, the formula is immensely safe, chemically, says Gregory Gerdeman, Ph.D., neurophysiologist who researches cannabinoid biology and pharmacology at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL.. And since they're formulated to be topical—absorbing into the top layer of skin—and not transdermal—which would pass through the skin and into your bloodstream—there's no risk of getting high, Gerdeman explains. (P.S. Here's How Marijuana Affects Athletic Performance.)

Though unflavored and priced higher than competitors, Green Roads CBD oils are made by a trusted manufacturer and use organically grown hemp. Following the CO2 supercritical fluid extraction process, board-certified pharmacists formulate the tincture by hand. Green Roads only sells CBD isolates, so if you’re looking for broad-spectrum products look to some of our other recommendations.

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