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.
For ingested CBD, that fat solubility is a problem. “[Ingested] CBD has a very low bioavailability, something between 6 and 15 percent, which varies between people,” says Blessing. Because ingested CBD is so inefficient at actually getting to the brain to stimulate CB1 and other receptors, the doses shown to be effective have to be very high. “There’s no evidence that doses below 300 mg of CBD have any effect in any psychiatric measure,” says Blessing. “And in fact, dose-finding studies show that the lowest clinically effective dose of CBD for reducing anxiety is 300 mg.” Blessing is talking about induced anxiety in otherwise healthy patients, which is all we have studies on; studies of CBD’s efficacy in treating clinical anxiety, which would require regular doses, haven’t been published.
A study analysis in Journal of Pain Research confirms that topical use of certain cannabinoid topicals can reduce pain in animals with inflammation or neuropathic pain. And science has found topical creams with THC and CBD help relieve pain for conditions like multiple sclerosis. But for the vast majority of chronic pain—and most certainly for acute pain like post-workout—the scientific jury is 100 percent still out. "There's a little bit of data in support of CBD for pain relief, but to go from animal to human is a giant leap," Sexton says.
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.