I Tried a Bunch of CBD Topicals to Find the Best Solution for My Creaky Ass
My feet are bad. Really bad. I blame my grandfather, whose feet were so flat that he wasn’t able to join the army in World War II, and was instead rerouted to the Merchant Marines, where he was stationed as a radio officer. While I didn’t inherit his desire to enlist, I did receive his cursed flatness, which, combined with various injuries over the course of my reckless life, including falling down the stairs years ago and breaking my ankle while in an altered state (ironic, considering where this is going), means that I’ve dealt with a lot of pain. Across my years of inflammation, arthritis, and even sporadic episodes of gout, I’ve sought a breadth of solutions, including visits to orthopedic surgeons and physicians, X-rays, physical therapy, excessive use of various kinds of herbal gels and creams (like arnica), industrial-level anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, ankle braces, orthotics, boots, and more. The amount of time and money I’ve spent on my feet is honestly staggering, and I’ve basically lost faith that the medical establishment can do anything for me at all.
I Tried a CBD Sports Drink That Promises to Make Exercising Suck Less
In spite of all this, I try to stay athletic, and have found that a healthy mix of pilates, cycling, and strength training helps me stay strong and maximally resistant to injury and pain… though those things still do happen. Most recently, a change in cycling cleats led to a wild foot cramp that turned into a massive gout explosion, sidelining me for over two weeks. After finally RICE-ing it away (with the addition of a ton of ibuprofen), I was left with a serious knot in my foot that would not disappear. Let’s pause here and back up a bit.
I’ve recently been awakened to the divine power of CBD, a.k.a. cannabidiol, the chemical compound extracted from cannabis that’s currently experiencing skyrocketing popularity as well as scientific curiosity (and skepticism). After swearing off weed (and basically everything else) more than half a decade ago, I figured I had left the thrills of youth behind, settling into a mellow, grown-up life of simply drinking a lot of wine. However, one night last summer, a friend convinced me to try CBD. He said it could make me feel relaxed and not high (because it's isolated from THC, it's non-psychoactive), but that most likely I wouldn't feel it at all, and for some reason that would be a good thing. He insisted I take two 5-milligram gummies, which together consituted one “dose.” The baby that I am, I haggled it down to half of one gummy for my first outing and indeed felt nothing after taking it. But I later experimented with higher doses and different forms of delivery (like oils), and became a believer in CBD’s power to help me chill out without feeling stoned. In addition to its purported success with anxiety, I was also vaguely aware of its other legacy as an alleged magical cure-all for local pain. One of my friends told me that her parents had become obsessed with CBD for its anti-inflammatory properties, while another took it daily to stave off aches and pains from working out. Online, I’d frequently seen celebs and athletes like plant-based Ironman and esteemed hardcore legend John Joseph of Cro-Mags preaching CBD as a mighty recovery tool. If he was into it, I thought it may be worth a try.
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So when my most recent inflammation attack wouldn’t go away, I was quick to add some CBD cream into my healing regimen, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t eradicate that hellish knot basically overnight. I was thrilled, but also left with questions. Why did this work when nothing else did? Was I treating the injury and inflammation, or just the pain? Was there a difference? Unable to find answers online, I went to one of the country’s esteemed experts on CBD and its medical uses, Dr. Peter Grinspoon, instructor at Harvard Medical School and physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
According to Dr. Grinspoon, there isn’t really a divide between pain and inflammation—they’re two sides of the same coin. And, he says, CBD can be very successful at managing both for many patients. “CBD has a very potent anti-inflammatory effect,” he explained. “It suppresses cytokines and interleukins, and so it helps turn off the body’s hyperreactive response to the injury that helps perpetuate the inflammatory response, which contributes to pain.” So a reduction in inflammation can also promote healing of the injury.
When one has determined that an injury is nothing serious like a bone break or a torn meniscus, Dr. Grinspoon actually recommends starting with CBD topicals to treat mild-to-moderate pain; in his view, Tylenol or ibuprofen should be thought of as secondary and always short-term options. “If people have, like, chronic back strain, it would be great if they tried some CBD cream before they reached for the ibuprofen. It’s just safer,” he said. “People are so quick to reach for these pharmaceuticals, ones we’ve been taking for decades. People just assume that if it’s over-the-counter, it’s safe, but some of them aren’t safe.” He added that every year, there are actually tens of thousands of injuries (like kidney damage and stomach ulcerations) caused by non-steroidals like naprosyn, naproxen, and ibuprofen (found in over-the-counter drugs including Aleve and Advil). “I’m guessing that ten years from now, people are going to be reaching for cannabis cream and CBD cream first,” he mused.
Dr. Grinspoon prefers not to recommend specific brands and products, instead wanting to give people the tools to become savvy CBD shoppers on their own. He is also quick to warn that the current lack of regulation in the industry means that efficacy can be inconsistent, and many brands and products remain unreliable. “Don’t just go to the gas station and buy CBD,” he told me. “One of the problems is that it’s not regulated. You just have to read everything about CBD with a bit of grain of salt.” He pointed out that, at the very least, one should always aim for CBD that has been independently tested and has received a Certificate of Analysis.
With all of this new knowledge, I let his wisdom guide me as I went deeper down the rabbit hole, searching for the ultimate CBD topical.
One product I can definitely vouch for is the one that healed my foot: Charlotte’s Web/CBDMedic Arthritis Aches & Pain Relief Ointment. (I love Charlotte’s Web and have also had great experiences with their recovery gummies, which I like to take after a demanding ride). With 200 milligrams of CBD hemp extract per tube and plenty of good herbal additions like eucalyptus, lavender, and jojoba oils—Dr. Grinspoon confirmed that people have been using herbal medicines like these to some effect for hundreds of years—as well as 10-percent menthol for a dope-feeling and quick-acting cooling sensation, this one is solid.
How to Use CBD Oil for Back Pain?
Back pain is notorious for being the leading cause of disability in the world. Besides causing discomfort, it can also hinder day-to-day activities, making you bed-ridden.
While other diseases are age-specific, back pain does not discriminate. Anyone at any stage of their life can suffer from it. Experts say that up to 80% of the population will have an episode of back pain during their lives.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
With it being such a huge problem, it’s understandable why researchers are trying to find the best intervention therapies for back pain. Among them, CBD appears as a good contender, considering its pain-relieving properties.
Causes of Back Pain
Although back pain is not particular for any age group, the causes can be age-specific. For instance, in older individuals, back pain is normally due to arthritis. Likewise, younger people may have back pain due to poor posture or injury.
Some common causes of back pain include:
- Strained muscles
- Blood clots
- Irritated joints
- Kidney infections or stones
- Sprained ligaments
In most cases, the pain is short-lived. However, in other instances, it can progress to other regions of the body, lasting for months. As the pain increases, it can make life pretty difficult for the sufferer.
CBD for Back Pain
Previous research showed that natural CBD such as those supplied by Verma Farm could help relieve pain in patients after surgery. Keeping that in mind, studies to see CBD’s effect on back pain were conducted. Most of them showed promising results. Here are some benefits of CBD for back pain:
If acute, back pain won’t last for more than six weeks. However, if it’s chronic, it can last for months. In that case, the pain manifests as a stabbing or burning sensation in the upper and lower back.
Generally, patients take pain killers for pain relief, but they have a host of side effects. Although helpful at that instant, pain killers can be harmful in the long run. After a while, the body gets used to a specific dosage of the medicine.
Then, the same quantity does not have an effect anymore. As a result, the patient would have to increase the amount, and the cycle continues.
On the other hand, CBD is a natural substance that does not cause addiction. It can alleviate back pain and improve patients’ productivity.
A 2012 research shows that CBD targets the alpha3glycine receptors in the body. These are responsible for pain regulation. Upon interacting with these receptors, the cannabinoids reduce pain.
Another 2015 study showed that CBD lowers the glutamate levels in the nervous system. Since glutamate is associated with pain transmission, its inhibition results in pain relief.
Currently, most studies have been conducted in mice. Further research will elucidate if similar results can be safely achieved in humans too.
CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that make it a suitable pain killer. Doctors normally prescribe NSAIDs to patients with back pain. These are anti-inflammatory drugs you can buy without a prescription too. Some common side effects of these drugs include:
- High blood pressure
- Stomach burns and ulcers
A study showed that the cannabinoids present in CBD oil suppress inflammation. Plus, they alleviate neuropathic pain by targeting the pain receptors.
Using CBD Oil for Back Pain
Nowadays, you can easily find CBD oil in the market for back pain. Since you don’t need a prescription for it, online order is all it takes to get your hands on the oil.
Now, there are different ways to take CBD oil, and how you choose to administer it depends on your preferences. Firstly, you can simply drink a few drops of oil for pain relief. However, most people do not like the oil’s taste.
Instead, they prefer putting it in their drinks or food to mask the flavour. Alternatively, you can also put a few drops of the oil under your tongue. The region is rich in capillaries that absorb the liquid and transport it to the rest of the body.
Another benefit of taking the oil in this way is immediate absorption. Since the capillaries do most of the work, the oil does not have to go through the digestive system. Instead, it enters the bloodstream directly.
How to Find CBD Oil for Back Pain?
As mentioned earlier, many companies specialize in making CBD oil. However, the FDA has not approved any of these products. Thus, you can’t exactly be sure of their efficacy.
Despite that, the majority of the users report seeing results. When you’re looking for the best CBD oil in the market, be a bit smart with your research.
Since CBD is not regulated, it could be subjected to adulteration. Thus, you have to be careful about where you’re buying the oil from. For instance, Premium Jane is a well-known company that makes CBD oil, topical treatments, and capsules.
If you’re unsure about the reliability, an online review of Premium Jane could be of great help. Plus, you should only buy from companies that back their claims with scientific evidence.
Also, if the taste is unbearable for you, look for flavoured CBD oil. You’ll find lime, lemon, chocolate, mint, and citrus-flavoured CBD oil in most online stores.
A flavouring agent makes it easier to take the oil without gagging. You also won’t have the after taste on your mouth the whole day.
Finally, many people are quick to hail CBD oil as a natural alternative to NSAIDs and pain killers. Although effective, CBD oil is still not a regulated product. Therefore, if you intend to use it for pain relief, make sure you’re choosing the best sellers that guarantee unadulterated CBD.
Sabina Green began blogging in 2009 as a work at home Mum raising her young family. She loves photography, movies, music, reading and spending time outdoors with her family.
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