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.
A few weeks ago, in a bike shop–slash–coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I saw a little sign for a new product on offer: a CBD lavender latte. I didn’t get one, in part because it was 80 degrees outside, and also because my experiences with CBD are somewhat mixed. I have some gummy fruit candy that puts me straight to sleep, and I found using an oil dropper on my tongue too disgusting-tasting to be worth whatever marginal benefits it may have given me. But I knew other anxious people have had good experiences with CBD, and I like coffee, so I was interested — though I did wonder if coffee (a stimulant) and CBD (a cannabinoid thought to have relaxing properties) might just cancel each other out.
When compared with the effects of caffeine, one could go out on a limb and say that CBD and caffeine are on different sides of the spectrum. Sure, they’re both anti-inflammatories, but you’re not as likely to fall asleep in your cereal after chugging a mug of coffee. You can see where I’m going with this, right? CBD coffee is a liquid contradiction.
While CBD oil, a non-psychedelic extract of industrial hemp, seems to offer healing benefits when ingested almost any way, for some types of chronic pain, skin conditions, and other localized problems, topical applications allow users to go right to the source. Topical CBD can also work faster, since it doesn’t have to travel through the digestive system first.
Those warning letters aside, there’s not a lot of federal oversight right now over the claims being made or the products that are being sold. Cohen warned against buying CBD products online, because “there’s a lot of scams out there.” Yet his clinic sells CBD, and he admits, “I say ‘Don’t buy online,’ but ours is worth doing, because we know what we’re doing. We ship all over.”
Figuring out how much CBD oil to take can feel like trying to navigate through a complicated maze. The sheer volume of CBD brands on the market can create confusion for consumers, and when you take a closer look, it’s not difficult to understand why. Not only do vendors use different source materials (CBD-rich cannabis vs. industrial hemp, different strains, etc.), but they also implement different extraction techniques .
THC oil, marijuana oil, and cannabis oil are generally associated with the same product. Essentially, they all mean the same thing. With the help of alcohol, this oil is made by extracting the resin of the female marijuana plant. Remember, the marijuana plant is the high-THC strain. The resin dissolves in alcohol and then the alcohol evaporates. The residue will consist of a thick syrup abundant in THC. This type of oil is illegal because of the high levels of THC.
Inhibited liver function: The liver regulates the way different drugs are metabolized within the body; this process is known as hepatic drug metabolism. Higher-than-average doses of CBD oil can slow the hepatic drug metabolism process. As a result, users may not be able to process other drugs as quickly. This is particularly concerning for CBD oil users who also take prescription medications.
I suffer with migraines, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. I pretty much hurt anytime I move. I’m on a regimen of meds, but ordered the Virgin Cannibis Hemp Oil (off of Amazon) and have had it two days. I took 3 tablespoons a day, gagging it down. I couldn’t bring myself to take it today, but I didn’t notice a difference after the second day, and I suppose I would notice something. Was it too soon, or should I be trying a different product? I really need something to alleviate the level of pain during movement, as it’s causing me to be more sedentary.
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“Among the many benefits that Charlotte’s Web customers experience are: a sense of calm and focus; relief from everyday stresses; help in recovery from exercise-induced inflammation; and support for healthy sleep cycles,” says co-founder Jesse Stanley. But he is obliged to point out that the product is a dietary supplement, and no clinical claims can be made for it.
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If the ECS is affected, or the body is not producing enough endocannabinoids, these functions in the body may become unbalanced. And when the body is not producing or regulating endocannabinoids properly, ingesting natural cannabinoids or applying them topically can restore this balance. CBD differs from THC in the sense that THC mimics the natural cannabinoids in the body and binds with the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, which are found in abundance within the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract, and in the central and peripheral nervous systems. While THC binds to these receptors, CBD interacts with an enzyme called FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase).4
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FAAH breaks down and removes natural endocannabinoids. CBD stops this breakdown and in turn increases the natural endocannabinoids available to the body. Because endo- cannabinoids have a balancing and healing effect on the body’s numerous systems and functions, CBD’s ability to increase the amount of endocannabinoids available to the body may create a bevy of therapeutic benefits5
Laboratory evidence indicated that cannabidiol may reduce THC clearance, increasing plasma concentrations which may raise THC availability to receptors and enhance its effect in a dose-dependent manner. In vitro, cannabidiol inhibited receptors affecting the activity of voltage-dependent sodium and potassium channels, which may affect neural activity. A small clinical trial reported that CBD partially inhibited the CYP2C-catalyzed hydroxylation of THC to 11-OH-THC.
There’s a growing body of scientific evidence to support the use of topical CBD products to ease pain, inflammation, and the symptoms of arthritis. One study using rats found that topical CBD has “therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.” More scientific research on humans is needed to confirm all of CBD’s benefits, but the initial research into topical use in humans is also promising.
Ingesting — think CBD lattes, edibles, or just a drop of oil on the tongue — is likely much less effective than inhaling, says Blessing. When CBD-containing oil is ingested, it wants to join the other fat in your body; most of the CBD taken this way will just stay in that fat, inert and never getting to the brain. When inhaled, CBD bypasses the digestive system, which wants to store fat.
The theoretical logic is there, Gerdeman says. What exactly is that thinking? Well, there are a few different ways CBD could help regulate pain—by increasing your natural endocannabinoids, decreasing your inflammatory response, and desensitizing your pain receptors (although it’s still unclear whether this stands when absorbed topically compared to orally).
Weight plays a role in the effects of CBD oil, and bottle size should be selected based on how much you weigh. Let’s say you weigh less than 130 pounds and desire light CBD oil effects; this means that 11 mg or less will probably suffice per dose, giving roughly 40 doses from a 450-mg concentration. If you weigh more than 230 pounds and desire strong effects, then this same concentration will supply roughly 10 doses.
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The exact legality of CBD is tricky. The Drug Enforcement Administration maintains that CBD is federally illegal but will not bother going after anyone for possessing or using it. Many argue that a provision in the 2014 farm bill allowing industrial hemp pilot programs, mostly aimed at the textile industry, actually makes non-THC use of cannabis legal; the much-delayed 2018 farm bill would make CBD and industrial hemp legal nationwide if passed as it stands.
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Due to its wide variety of medical benefits, CBD is used to treat a number of common conditions, including chronic pain, inflammation, seizures, insomnia, spasms, multiple sclerosis, and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. As a topical agent, CBD oil can be directly applied to certain areas of the body as an effective means of relieving pain and soreness, reducing inflammation, and soothing inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
Hi Bev, I am curious my husband has the exact same issues, and then ends up picking his poor head like crazy which aggravates the scalp sores. We figured out that he has extremely thick hair and the follicles are too densely packed together and his scalp cannot breathe. Since we figured that out he has been going in for hair cuts where they thin his hair out a lot as well as cut it so his scalp can breathe….. Overall he is doing much better as long as we stay on top of the hair trims and thinning cuts but if he doesn’t go in regularly he is back to the irritation. BTW topical MMJ is great but they can be very oily and have compound stuff in them that can further irritate the scalp possibly etc. so maybe not great for scalp… 🙂 I have traumatic injuries from a car accident and the MMJ topical creams have saved my life…..
CBD, known scientifically as cannabidiol, is the second most commonly occurring cannabinoid within the marijuana plant, ranking in just below THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. What is unique and distinctive about CBD, unlike THC this component produces zero psychoactive effects, meaning that it does not create the typical high and euphoria that is linked with marijuana. Furthermore, it has proved to generate immense healing and a multitude of medically beneficial abilities. CBD helps pain on an anatomical level by directly targeting the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which naturally produces some cannabinoids on its own, known as endocannabinoids.