Dr. Sarah Brewer on the benefits of CBD balm
Dr Sarah Brewer
CBD (cannabidiol) oil is one of the most popular supplements for general wellbeing and, as well as being taken by mouth, can also be applied directly to the skin.
What is CBD balm?
Extracts derived from cannabis plants have been applied to wounds for thousands of years. 1 CBD balm is a soothing and softening emollient made by infusing CBD into a blend of organic beeswax and regenerating oils of coconut, argan and rosehip, plus therapeutic essential oils of geranium, eucalyptus and lavender. To use, apply a thin layer and massage thoroughly into affected areas of skin or over a tired joint.
How does CBD balm work?
When applied to the skin, CBD balm works in several ways. First is the physical and warming action associated with massaging it in. As children, we quickly learned that ‘rubbing it better’ really works for reducing the pain of knocks and sprains, and the same is true for sports injuries and painful joints in later life.
The action of rubbing stimulates nerve endings in the area and helps to overwhelm underlying pain signals, so the perception of discomfort is reduced. When rubbing is combined with an active ingredient that sinks into the skin the benefits are multiplied for reducing aches and pains.
CBD interacts with your own endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, including in skin cells, skin nerve fibres, hair follicles and oil and sweat glands. 2 The abundant distribution of cannabinoid receptors in the skin allows topical CBD products to have a localised effect.
CBD balm can be used in addition to oral CBD capsules or drops. It can also be used on its own for those who don’t like the taste of CBD drops or who find it difficult to swallow capsules.
Key CBD balm benefits
The organic essential oils that form the balm base have additional skin softening and soothing actions to ease dry, chapped areas.
Applying a topical joint cream or gel after a warm bath or shower, or after exertion, helps it sink in quickly.
- Do not apply topical treatments to broken skin in cause they sting
- Wash your hands immediately after applying the treatment
- Don’t touch or rub your eyes while you have topical products on your hands
Dr Sarah Brewer is Healthspan’s Medical Director and holds degrees in Natural Sciences, Surgery and Medicine from the University of Cambridge. Having worked as a GP and hospital doctor, Dr Sarah now holds an MSc in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey and specialises in nutrition. She is also an award-winning writer and author.
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CBD Balm Benefits And Uses You Haven’t Heard Of
CBD for Working Out – How to Fit CBD into Your Diet
Clever Ways To Add CBD Oil to Your Life
CBD, as you probably know, has become a wildly popular substance. Its popularity stems from many recent developments, including its recent legalization, expanding range of potential illnesses which it may be able to address and a slew of marketing efforts which have led to numerous celebrities and influencers endorsing the product. Today, CBD is more popular than ever, with more than 15% of all Americans having tried the compound. One of the more interesting things about CBD is that there are so many different methods of ingestion. They are everything from vaping juices to edibles to capsules, tinctures and more. Each method comes with its own pros and cons. Since CBD is so new, you may not even be aware of some of the positives of one method of consumption over another.
Indeed, one of the underexplored aspects behind CBD’s popularity is just how flexible it is. CBD is available in a wide array of products, including balms, edibles, tinctures, vaping juices, capsules and more. As a result, there is a way to consume CBD for just about everyone. Each method comes with a variety of positives and negatives. But it’s worth exploring all of those benefits in order to get a better idea of how these products work.
How CBD Balm Works
In order to properly understand how CBD Balms work, it is worth understanding how CBD affects your body in general.
CBD’s impact is most prominently felt in your body’s Endocannabinoid System. Everyone has an Endocannabinoid System. This component of your body produces cannabinoids, which then bond with cannabinoid receptors. Right now, two such receptors have been identified: CB1 and CB2. Both are found throughout your entire body, including in muscles, skin, and organs.
Cannabinoids then bond these receptors to produce specific chemical reactions. This, in turn, has an impact on a variety of sensations throughout your body. It includes pain, stress, anxiety, inflammation, fatigue, appetite and more.
After a certain period of time, enzymes will break down the cannabinoids, concluding the chemical reaction and freeing up the cannabinoid receptor to bond with another cannabinoid in the future.
CBD does not bind directly with CB1 or CB2. What it does do is increase the time in which your body’s own cannabinoids bind with these receptors. It makes these reactions occur for longer periods of time. This, in turn, can impact the above-mentioned experiences in your body.
CBD Balm Works
CBD balm works in a way that is different than most other forms of CBD. Most CBD works when it hits your bloodstream and moves to various parts of your body. However, CBD balm is applied directly to the skin. As such, very little of it will reach your bloodstream. This is why CBD balms are typically better for targetted, topical issues.
Instead of reaching your bloodstream, CBD causes a reaction with receptors in your skin and nearby muscles. Generally speaking, this is why you don’t hear much about CBD balm being used to help with insomnia, depression or anxiety. Those are broader conditions, and ones which typically cannot be helped by the more targetted relief that CBD balm offers.
Instead, CBD is more commonly used for two broad areas of concern: Pain/soreness or skin conditions.
The Biggest Benefits of CBD Balm
Every form of CBD ingestion (and, as previously noted, there are a lot!) has positives and negatives. The biggest benefit of CBD Balm is arguably its ability to provide relief which is the most localized. In other words, you take the balm or lotion and rub it directly on the area which is in pain. This way, you keep the CBD concentrated on the area that you need it the most. Even better: Since very little CBD Balm ever reaches your bloodstream, you are less likely to notice any negative side effects.
Potential Issues with CBD Balm
CBD Balm is not free of its drawbacks. First and foremost, since it has to travel through many layers of skin and fat before reaching your muscles, you may notice that it takes the longest to work of any of the various forms of CBD injection. The effects sometimes taking as long as a couple of hours. This is longer than it takes other CBD products to work.
The extreme specificity of CBD Balm can also be a negative, depending on how you are looking to use it. Yes, CBD Balm can be very helpful at providing specific relief. But if you are looking to use CBD to impact your body in a more general way (such as for insomnia or depression), CBD Balm may not be appropriate for you.
CBD’s ability to control inflammation in your skin and muscles is one of its most well-documented potential benefits. However, CBD balm may be beneficial for more serious, painful conditions. It includes reducing the pain associated with various types of arthritis.
Numerous studies have found that CBD may have the ability to reduce the join pain and swelling that is associated with arthritis, particularly when the CBD is applied as a balm. For example, a 2014 review of osteoarthritis in animals determined that CBD has the potential to be safe and effective in addressing this type of arthritis. A 2017 study also found that CBD may hold benefits for osteoarthritis. A 2016 study specifically reviewed the topical application of CBD for individuals with arthritis. It found that CBD that, when applied as a topical to rats, CBD provided pain relief.
The findings are clear enough that the Arthritis Foundation wrote an article detailing the potential for CBD to provide pain relief, and issued a series of recommendations on how to shop for and potentially use CBD.
Healing Numerous Skin Disorders
Skin care is one of the more popular potential uses of CBD. However, it is for more than just getting rid of old scars and keeping your skin looking fresh and clean. According to numerous studies – and even some advocacy groups – CBD may be helpful at helping to get rid of numerous painful and unsightly skin conditions.
For example, rosacea is a condition marked by irritation, redness and swelling on the face. According to published articles, CBD may be helpful at relieving all of these conditions when it is in a balm and applied directly to the face. It may be particularly beneficial to reducing the “flare ups” which are all too common for rosacea sufferers.
Another skin condition which CBD balm may assist is eczema. A small study of 43 people found that CBD oil helped reduce itching, redness and irritation which is common from eczema. The study found that there was a longer period of time between flare-ups which commonly occur. Additional evidence was reviewed in an article from the National Eczema Foundation. They implied that CBD does have the potential to help provide relief for eczema sufferers. The article went on to note the potential, the need for future study, and that individuals who purchase CBD should be careful about what types of CBD they purchase. They always make sure to consult a medical professional before using CBD.
CBD may also hold potential in helping people deal with psoriasis, a skin disorder which causes uncomfortable, red skin plaques to form over the body. Anecdotal evidence from psoriasis sufferers suggests that CBD can provide relief. It’s particularly given that it has been noted to help individuals who suffer from dry, irritated skin with other conditions. An article from the National Psoriasis Foundation also found that CBD may have potential for controlling psoriasis. This notes that a 2007 study found that CBD can help to slow the overgrowth of skin cells which causes psoriasis.
There is evidence to indicate that CBD is good for a host of different types of pain reduction. However, some of the areas of pain reduction may be less well known than others. For example, CBD appears to have some benefits at providing relief from nerve (or neuropathic) pain, a devastating, painful condition which affects as many as 20 million Americans.
This is pain not caused by soreness or a good workout, but rather pain which originates directly from the nerves in your body. It is often a result of physical nerve damage or other disorders like diabetes.
One study found that CBD can help provide benefits to individuals who were suffering from nerve pain, resulting in self-reported relief. Another study hypothesized this to be the case because it found that CBD helped to target specific receptors which were responsible for pain sensations.
If further studies to bear out these findings, it would make sense; as noted by other reviews, CBD impacts your body’s Endocannabinoid System, which is involved in the regulation of numerous areas, including pain relief. As such, it is possible that using CBD balms directly on an affected area could provide a great degree of pain relief.
Other Types of Pain
Multiple studies have shown that CBD appears to have a benefit when it comes to reducing a variety of types of pain. What is perhaps most interesting is its ability to reduce very specific types of pain. This includes chronic pain, arthritis pain, and multiple sclerosis.
Part of CBD balm’s ability to help control for pain is a result of its ability to reduce inflammation. Indeed, this ability has been one of the most researched potential benefits of CBD. CBD has been shown in numerous studies, on both animals and humans, to help to reduce inflammation. This is an area where CBD balm’s targetted relief can come into play, as rubbing CBD directly into sore muscles may be useful.
Here are some of the more specific areas where CBD may be helpful:
- The National Cancer Foundation found that CBD may be able to reduce the pain associated with chemotherapy side effects, and a 2010 study found that CBD, when taken in conjunction with opioids, caused more pain relief than opioid consumption on its own. That study was largely replicated in a 2013 study.
- A report analyzed dozens of studies and found that CBD may have the potential to help relieve chronic pain.
- Multiple studies have also found that CBD may be able to help reduce the pain associated with migraines, while also reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.
One of the worst and most painful parts of Multiple Sclerosis is muscle spasticity. This occurs when muscles are locked in a contracted position and can be exceptionally painful.
Cannabis has become a very popular treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. There is one survey indicates that as many as 66% of diagnosed individuals saying they were using some sort of cannabis product. At least one study found that CBD has the potential to help people reduce muscle spasticity and the pain associated with it.
CBD may be beneficial at helping people recover from sporting events and long workouts. And numerous sports stars have said that they use CBD to help them get ready to play again.
In particular, this is an area where CBD Balm matters. The same principles which work in terms of using CBD for pain also apply for using CBD for muscle recovery. Remember, after a workout or sports game, you are sore because working out or using your muscles can cause microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. As a result of these tears, your muscles inflame, and this triggers your body’s healing response. It is this healing that actually leads to pain.
CBD Balm can reduce pain and inflammation. This, of course, leads to quicker muscle recovery. It’s worth noting that all CBD is doing here is assisting your body’s natural healing mechanisms by reducing the inflammation and helping your body to heal.
CBD balm may be very good for skin care, but this is for more than just cleaning your skin. For example, did you know that CBD balm may help you get rid of acne?
This may occur for many reasons. For example, acne is typically caused by clogged skin pores, which are the result of dirty skin, excess oil and hormonal imbalances. Bacteria growth also plays a role.
CBD can help clean the skin and remove these products which result in the growth and spread of acne. There is also some evidence to suggest that CBD has antimicrobial properties. If this is the case, it explains why CBD may be helpful at stopping the growth of acne, as CBD can stop the bacteria which causes acne from spreading on your skin.
Additional evidence suggests that CBD has a role in regulating the production of sebum. It’s an oil produced in your skin which leads to the proliferation of acne. As a result, CBD can help keep your skin clean and acne-free.
Here’s a look at some of the benefits of CBD Balm or CBD Salve: Arthritis Reduction, Healing Numerous Skin Disorders,Nerve Pain and Acne Reduction.