CBD Salves & Pain: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

CBD Salves & Pain: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

CBD (cannabidiol) is everywhere. CBD is available in different forms where you can vape it, eat it, drink it and apply it on your skin. Recent studies have suggested that CBD salves could play a role in the treatment and management of pain and pain-related issues. So what exactly is CBD salve and how is it effective in pain treatment? Here is a CBD salve ultimate guide to help you make an informed decision.

When it comes to CBD, there is an understanding that consumers have tons of questions due to the rapid growth of the industry. It is difficult to differentiate between the different CBD products in the market and to know how each product might be beneficial to your needs. As such, we are here to clear up the uncertainties you may have about CBD products and specifically how CBD salve for pain can be beneficial in pain management.

What is CBD?

CBD is an extract of the cannabis plant that does not produce a high. Unlike THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is non-psychoactive which means it has no euphoric effect.  CBD acts on the ECS (endocannabinoid system) by interacting with receptors in your body referred to as cannabinoid receptors. Researchers have identified two receptors CB1 and CB2 found primarily in the central nervous and immune system tissues.

What is CBD Salve?

A salve is defined as an ointment that is used to promote skin healing and protection. CBD salve is a CBD-infused blend which is applied directly to the skin after which it is absorbed.  CBD salves are different from CBD lotions and creams in that, salves are a combination of coconut oil, olive oil, and beeswax. CBD lotion is a combination water and oil (70:20) that is mixed with an emulsifier, while CBD creams are made by using an emulsifying agent to mix water and oil (45:45).

The main difference between the three is the water content where CBD salves for pain are produced without any water which makes them thicker than lotions and ointments.

How are CBD Salves Made?

It is very easy to make CBD salve for pain. Salves have a wax base that is typically beeswax. They also have carrier oil which is mainly coconut or olive oil. These are fused with other compounds. For increased wellness benefits, essential oils may be added to the mixture.  The first step in the process is the infusion of carrier oil and CBD. Secondly, the CBD oil is mixed with the beeswax to create the salve. It is important to note that water is not used in the process unlike in ointments and lotions. Essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus can also be added.

How CBD Salves Help Reduce Pain?

There are several ways through which CBD topicals can help to relieve pain. The most common theory is how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids, receptors, and some enzymes that break down and synthesize the cannabinoids. The ECS is involved with many functions of the body like pain sensation and mood.  

Several studies have shown that many people suffering from migraines, fibromyalgia, and intestinal pain may not be producing enough endocannabinoids. These studies also showed that CBD exhibits immunomodulatory effects which impact pain and inflammation positively. CBD cream for pain increases the quantity of endocannabinoid Anandamide (AEA). This is by inhibiting an enzymatic action that breaks down AEA and stops the reuptake of AEA.

Research on CBD for Pain

A large number of consumers use CBD oil to manage chronic pain. Additionally, others use it to manage arthritis and joint pain. But, does CBD salve for pain work? According to research conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering, chronic pain patients treated with CBD are more likely to experience significant pain reduction. 

In a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Pain, arthritic rats were given CBD injections and later had CBD topical massaged into their backs. The rats exhibited significantly lower levels of inflammation in addition to lower pain behavior scores.   

Studies have also found out that CBD salves potentiate glycine receptors. These receptors play a vital role in the perception of pain. Researchers in the study concluded that the potentiation of glycine receptors by CBD led to a significant reduction of both neuropathic and inflammatory pain in rats and mice. Notably, rats and mice share much of our physiology like CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Which Pain can CBD Salve Offer Relief?

Research on CBD and pain is still ongoing but there is a lot of evidence on the effectiveness of cannabis in relieving pain. Moreover, CBD has been found to exhibit positive results from other conditions like anxiety, allergies, and epilepsy. CBD for anxiety is commonly used by people with anxiety and studies have shown that it works effectively. 

Chronic pain is categories into two; inflammatory nociceptive and neuropathic. Inflammatory nociceptive occurs when the tissues are damaged or inflamed. On the contrary, neuropathic pain is as a result of nerve damage. Such conditions include sciatica and multiple sclerosis. Studies have shown that CBD is most effective in treating inflammatory pain.

How to Use CBD Salve?

Research suggests that the endocannabinoid system is present in the skin and topical application of CBD salve could result in wellness-supporting benefits.  Just like any other topical ointment, CBD salve for pain is simply massaged to the targeted area. The CBD is then absorbed into surrounding tissues and skin cells. It does not have to be metabolized by the body or pass through the digestive tract, hence, works quickly. This way, it helps in muscle recovery and supports healthy joint and muscle functions.

How Often Should You Use CBD Salves?

CBD has not been regulated by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and there are no specific dosage or application guidelines. Additionally, the FDA has not approved CBD for the treatment of some conditions. However, most users will apply CBD salves 1 to 3 times a day depending on the frequency of their pain. Others may use it on an hourly basis to find relief. All this is due to differing concentrations of products and different health conditions. It is best to start slow with about 2 to 3 applications per day. You can adjust your application according to the way your body responds.