Cannabidiol provides relief for tired, aching muscles and joints.
Physical labor, over-exercise, and the aging process often result in ordinary aches and pains. CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory that can help relieve everyday joint stiffness and muscle pain. Because of its effectiveness in reducing inflammation, CBD users often report decreased use of over-the-counter NSAIDs.
As we age, our bodies change: muscles become smaller and have to work harder; tissues become drier and less flexible. In short, you become more vulnerable to muscle strain and joint inflammation from overuse.
CBD has a long history of relieving pain
CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which help to relieve pain, enhance circulation, and regenerate cellular activity. Cannabis, and CBD, have a long history of medicinal use, dating back more than 2,000 years. The Chinese treated everything from menstrual pain to rheumatism (arthritis) with cannabis.
Before the restrictions imposed by the federal Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, cannabis products were widely used in the U.S. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, cannabis-related medicines were included in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia.
How CBD tinctures relieve joint and muscle pain
First, it’s essential to understand exactly what causes the pain. Physical labor or exercise results in tiny micro-tears in our muscle tissue. As the tissues are repaired, our muscles grow bigger and stronger. While exercise is good for you in all sorts of physical and mental ways, the aftermath can be painful. Especially if you’ve been too enthusiastic.
If you’ve overdone it, the areas of your body that are hurt are rich in endocannabinoid receptors. The receptors are part of your body’s endocannabinoid system, which modulates several bodily functions: sleep, appetite, and pain.
The ECS also controls your immune system response. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties enhance the work of those receptors to promote healing.
Because the Food and Drug Administration listed CBD as a controlled substance until 2018, there aren’t many studies, especially large clinical trials, into CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects. However, there is a large body of anecdotal evidence that seems to support claims about the benefits of CBD for muscle aches and joint pain. The anecdotal evidence suggests that further research will support users’ claims as science continues to investigate the effects of CBD.
For example, researchers believe CBD works in 2 different ways to help relieve arthritis pain—the central nervous system and localized joint pain. Small studies and trials have shown CBD provides effective pain relief for osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.
Ongoing preclinical animal studies demonstrate CBD’s effectiveness in reducing pain and inflammation. Human studies have shown CBD it is well-tolerated and has few side effects.
As with orally ingested oils and tinctures, the thinking is that the symbiotic effect of the additional terpenes and cannabinoids amplifies CBD’s effects.
How topical CBD works on joint and muscle pain
Early research has shown that topical CBD is useful for the generalized inflammation that causes muscle and joint pain. For topical use, CBD comes in many forms: oil, salve, lotion, patches, and bath salts or soaks.
Cannabis-infused topicals such as lotions, balms, salves, and oils are designed to be absorbed through your skin, providing pain relief exactly where it’s needed. Non-intoxicating, topicals do not induce euphoria because they contain less than 0.03% THC. Absorbed into the skin, topicals don’t reach the bloodstream, offering targeted relief where it’s needed.
Oils are usually higher potency and may also include THC. They may also be mixed with herbs and essential oils to help penetrate your skin for deeper relief. CBD oil has more versatility because it can also be taken orally.
Transdermal patches are popular because they deliver CBD directly into your bloodstream. They also tend to last longer than other topicals. Creams, salves, and lotions wash off easily and require reapplication more frequently.
It’s not unusual for patches to offer other cannabinoids, such as a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. However, you can choose the patch you want for your condition and the effects you want.
Processors will often use specific cannabis varieties to include terpenes and other cannabinoids to enhance CBD’s scent or effectiveness. In addition, topicals may also include capsaicins such as cayenne, mints (wintergreen or spearmint), or spices (clove) that are known to have anti-inflammatory characteristics. Such additives are minuscule by volume; most products are more than 90% pure.
Be sure to apply liberally to overcome the skin’s natural impermeability. Also, be sure to choose a highly concentrated CBD.
CBD dosage for pain
Currently, there is no standard CBD dosage. If you opt for an oil or tincture, the general rule is to start with a low dose twice a day—as little as 5 mg in each dose. Slowly increase the dose each week, by about half, over several weeks. Most people ultimately arrive at 25 mg in each of the 2 daily doses.
Tips for using CBD
- Choose a product that is specifically for joint and muscle pain. While oils, capsules, and tinctures can also be effective, they are designed for systemic relief.
- Use high-quality CBD with a third-party certificate of analysis that tells you the CBD’s strength and purity in the product.
- Try different concentrations to help you decide the right product for you.
- Remember that pain can radiate from the source to another area of your body; it’s essential to know where and what really hurts. For example, is the source of your headache, your head, or is it tension in your neck?
- Apply early and liberally. Like all pain relief, the rule is, “don’t get behind the pain.” Also, really slather it on the skin for the best effect.
- Before applying, give the affected area a quick clean to boost absorption.
Choose a reputable company product and insist on medical-grade CBD. Not all CBD is created equal. Because the FDA considers CBD a dietary supplement, there is not much regulation across the industry. Look for a company that clearly labels its products and is willing to answer your questions, whether online or in person.
Though minor, the nagging aches and pains of too much exercise or hard work are transitory. Similarly, the generalized effects of aging don’t necessarily mean you have some dread disease. However, they are all uncomfortable, and there’s no need to suffer. CBD is easier on your body than NSAIDs and probably more effective in relieving pain.