CBD for Pain Relief: How & Why It Works
Author: Flex Wheeler
CBD has been getting more and more popular as an alternative treatment to help manage pain. As a bodybuilder, I've experienced my fair share of muscle and joint pain, and I've recently found some real relief from topical CBD products in particular.
If you're someone who's been struggling with chronic pain, you know as well as I do how frustrating it can be to rely solely on traditional painkillers. They can come with a laundry list of unwanted side effects, especially when you use them long-term. But here's the good news: CBD is an all-natural ingredient that can reduce inflammation and pain in the body. Unlike THC (another compound found in cannabis), it doesn't produce a "high" or psychoactive effect, and it has been showing promising results with minimal side effects for many people.
While you don't need to ditch the mainstream pain relievers if you don't want to, CBD is another avenue that's worth exploring. CBD is safe and legal, and it has huge potential to help people as a natural and effective solution for pain relief. In this article, I'll dive deeper into everything you need to know about using CBD for pain relief and how it can potentially improve your quality of life.
How CBD Works
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It's one of over 100 cannabinoids that have been identified, but it's non-psychoactive, meaning it won't get you high. It can, however, make you feel relaxed and calm.
When you consume CBD or use a topical product like a CBD cream or gel, it interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system of receptors and neurotransmitters found throughout the body, including in the brain, immune system, and nervous system.
CBD interacts with two main receptors in the ECS: CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system and peripheral tissues.
By interacting with these receptors, CBD can help regulate a variety of bodily functions, including pain, inflammation, mood, and sleep. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that contribute to its ability to alleviate pain throughout the body.
If you have more questions about how CBD works, you can learn more about CBD here.
Is CBD Safe?
The good news is that CBD is generally considered safe. Since CBD hasn't always been a mainstream option for pain relief, it's natural if you're a little sceptical. However, the truth is that CBD has actually been studied and used since its discovery in 1955, and it's backed by over 60 years of research and development. A 2018 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) determined that not only did CBD pose no safety concerns or risks to public health, but it also has many potential applications for medicinal purposes.
That said, it's still important to take some care when using any new product, including CBD. It's always a good idea to start with a small amount of CBD and monitor your reaction before using it more frequently. High doses can sometimes cause mild nausea, and it's also best to avoid using CBD when pregnant or breastfeeding. If you're taking any prescription medications, it's best to check in with your doctor before taking CBD orally.
It's also important to make sure that you're purchasing high-quality CBD products from a reputable source. Look for products that have been third-party tested for purity and potency to ensure that you're getting a safe and effective product.
3 Uses of CBD for Pain Relief
CBD has the potential to help manage a huge variety of issues and types of pain, from neuropathic pain to rheumatic diseases and more. Here, I'm going to focus on high-quality human studies that are showing promising results for patients. So, here are some of the ways that CBD has scientifically proven to be effective for pain relief:
1. CBD for Joint Pain & Arthritis
Because CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory effects while also impacting your perception of pain, it's a good option for treating joint pain and stiffness. So good, in fact, that many arthritis patients find it beneficial in managing their chronic joint pain.
Although research is ongoing, there have been a few clinical studies with promising results. Most recently, a 2022 review of CBD for arthritis showed an improvement in pain for 83% of participants – many of whom either reduced or stopped taking anti-inflammatory painkillers or opioids after CBD use. As well as relieving arthritis pain, a topical CBD cream or gel can help alleviate stiff joints or pain caused by injuries.
2. CBD for Muscle Pain
CBD can also be an excellent addition to a workout regime, as it can help speed up muscle recovery and reduce soreness. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties, due to its role in regulating various physiological processes, including pain, inflammation, and immune response. Additionally, CBD has been shown to have antioxidant properties, which can help protect the body against oxidative stress caused by exercise.
A 2021 study shows "small but significant effects" on muscle recovery for athletes using CBD, while another 2020 study on rugby players showed that 68% of participants found CBD beneficial to their muscle recovery (and sleep quality, too).
3. CBD for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is often caused by inflammation, nerve damage, or a combination of both. Whether it's lower back pain, knee pain, a sports injury, or a neuropathic pain condition, CBD has huge therapeutic potential for chronic pain patients. In addition to reducing pain and inflammation, CBD may also be able to help with other symptoms of chronic pain, such as sleep disturbances and anxiety.
CBD's anti-inflammatory properties, combined with its ability to regulate pain signalling pathways in the nervous system, can help provide some much-needed relief for people. Research backs this – a 2021 study of CBD for chronic pain finds that CBD alleviates chronic pain and reduces dependency on traditional painkillers for the majority of its participants.
Benefits of CBD for Pain Relief
Using CBD for pain relief may have several potential benefits over traditional painkillers. Firstly, unlike opioids and other prescription painkillers, CBD is non-addictive and does not pose a risk of overdose. This makes it a safer alternative for long-term pain management.
Additionally, CBD may have fewer side effects compared to traditional painkillers. Common side effects of prescription painkillers include nausea, constipation, drowsiness, and the risk of dependence. In contrast, CBD is generally well-tolerated and has few reported side effects.
Lastly, CBD may provide a more natural option for pain relief compared to traditional painkillers, which are often synthesized in a lab. As CBD is derived from the hemp plant, it's a natural remedy – which you can learn more about in our guide to natural pain relief.
Overall, while more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of CBD for pain relief, it may offer a promising alternative to traditional painkillers for many people.
Hempe Hot & Ice Therapy with CBD
HEMPE Hot and Ice gels are topical CBD gels formulated with natural ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus, and vitamin E. Designed to provide targeted pain relief for joint and muscle pain, they provide alternating hot and cold therapies that can alleviate soreness and stiffness.
The CBD Hot formula contains warming ingredients like clove oil, which can increase blood flow to the affected area and provide a soothing sensation. It's great for warming up achy areas before a workout, and it can also help relax tight muscles after a workout, reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), relieve spasms, and ease joint pain.
The CBD Ice formula contains cooling ingredients like peppermint and pine, which can help reduce inflammation and provide a refreshing sensation. It's great for reducing pain and swelling and can be used for recent injuries, strains, or tendonitis.
Both formulas harness the natural healing power of CBD to help reduce pain and inflammation by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the skin. The HEMPE Hot & Ice bundle pack offers great value for money, and you can use them to alternate between hot and cold therapies depending on your needs and which treatments work best for you.
Don't take our word for it – find out how Hempe has helped real people from our customer reviews!
CBD & Pain FAQs
How do I use CBD for pain?
You can take CBD orally or apply it topically. When it comes to pain management – topical CBD is best for joint and muscle pain. You can apply a CBD cream or a CBD gel directly to the skin over the affected area. These products are typically formulated with other natural ingredients like menthol or essential oils to provide additional pain relief and a cooling or warming sensation. Because they are applied directly to the affected area, topical CBD creams and gels offer a more targeted and effective option for localized pain relief. They also avoid being processed by the liver, so they are even safer than oral CBD.
If you do want to take CBD orally, one of the most common forms is CBD oil, which is absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive system. CBD oil is available in a range of strengths and can be taken on its own or mixed with food or drinks. You can also take CBD orally via CBD capsules, gummies, and edibles.
How long does it take for CBD to work?
The time it takes for CBD to relieve pain can vary depending on a few things. For example, it can depend on how you're using CBD (like whether it's a CBD cream or a CBD oil), how much you're taking, how fast your body processes it, and how bad your pain is. It's also important to keep in mind that using CBD regularly over time might have a cumulative effect that will lead to better pain relief.
If you're using a CBD cream or gel on your skin, you should start feeling some relief pretty quickly, usually within 15–30 minutes. But if you're taking a CBD oil or capsule by mouth, it might take longer to kick in, which may be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more. You can learn more about topical vs. oral pain relief here.
How often should I use CBD for pain?
When using topical CBD products, such as creams or gels, you can typically apply them as needed, up to several times a day. With HEMPE Hot & Ice gels, you can use them 3 times per day, or as often as needed.
For oral CBD products, such as capsules or oils, the frequency of use can vary. It's typically recommended to start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed, while also being mindful of any potential side effects or interactions with other medications.
In general, it's best to listen to your body and adjust your CBD usage as needed to achieve the desired pain relief while minimizing any potential side effects.
Does CBD have any side effects?
While CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, like any supplement or medication, it can have potential side effects. The most commonly reported side effects of CBD include fatigue, dry mouth, and changes in appetite or weight. These side effects are typically mild and temporary, and can often be managed by adjusting the dosage or method of consumption. These side effects are more common with oral CBD – topical CBD creams and gels pose a very low risk of side effects because they are absorbed into the bloodstream or processed by the liver.
The Bottom Line
CBD is a natural compound derived from the cannabis plant that interacts with receptors in the body's endocannabinoid system, reducing pain and inflammation. It's safe to use and doesn't have the same addictive properties as traditional painkillers. Topical CBD creams and gels are a safer option for pain relief than oral CBD because they're applied directly to the affected area, which allows for targeted relief without the risk of side effects from oral consumption.
So if you're struggling with joint, muscle, or chronic pain, CBD is definitely worth exploring as a natural and safe alternative to traditional pain management options. I recommend HEMPE Hot and Cold CBD creams, which combine the healing powers of CBD with natural ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus, and vitamin E to deliver fast and effective relief from pain.
About the author:
Kenneth "Flex" Wheeler is a retired IFBB professional bodybuilder. He won the Arnold Classic four times and was once described by Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the greatest bodybuilders he had ever seen. Since retirement, Wheeler focused on martial arts and has become a body transformation specialist, sharing his passion and helping others get in shape.