Sore, painful muscles can be a problem that you face frequently, or rarely, depending on how often you work out. Sometimes, you may even experience stiff, painful muscles from sitting at a desk all day. Fortunately, CBD may be able to help. CBD muscle balms are designed to offer pain relief when topically applied over aching muscles.
CBD muscle balm
A CBD muscle balm or rub is a topical cream made of muscle-soothing elements like eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil, as well as CBD extract. Different products come with CBD in different forms – full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate. The first two forms contain a host of minor cannabinoids in addition to CBD. These are able to work together on inflamed, painful muscles for an entourage effect. CBD isolate, on the other hand, is pure CBD. It’s a good idea to try each kind to see what works well for you. In general, CBD muscle balms that are lab tested to offer CBD in the concentrations stated on the label are likely to be more effective than products that aren’t tested.
CBD muscle balm, when applied to sore muscles, is absorbed into the skin, but doesn’t make its way into the bloodstream (it isn’t transdermal). The skin contains densely packed cannabinoid receptors, a part of the body’s endocannabinoid system. One of their functions is to help manage pain. These receptors may respond to the CBD in muscle balm. A recent study (n.neurology.org/content/90/15_Supplement/S53.004) has found that CBD attaches to cannabinoid receptors and lowers their sensitivity, making them less able to detect pain.
CBD is also able to elevate the body’s supply of pain-relief endocannabinoids by suppressing their metabolism as they are transported around the body.
Research on topical CBD use on painful muscles is limited. While CBD consumption is known to help with certain kinds of inflammation, specific research on muscle pain is absent. There is some anecdotal evidence (arthritis.org/about-us/news-and-updates/cbd), however, to show that people who suffer from arthritis tend to feel positively about CBD use.
Does CBD muscle balm support muscle recovery?
Stressing your muscles through a workout naturally produces microscopic damage in the muscle fibers. It is this damage that is responsible for the soreness felt in the aftermath. CBD helps suppress the presence of T-regulatory cells and messenger molecules like cytokines, whose effect is to retard muscle recovery. By restraining the body’s inflammatory response, CBD may make faster muscle recovery possible.
A study published in the Journal of Pain Research (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048583/) finds that topical preparations that contain cannabinoids may help with pain relief and inflammation in animals. The pain that occurs in multiple sclerosis may be helped with the use of CBD, as well. There is little specific scientific evidence in existence at this point to directly show that CBD muscle balms help with muscle soreness in humans, however. Topical CBD creams can only penetrate to about a third of an inch in the skin, and muscle tissue exists far deeper. The oils in CBD cream may, in theory, diffuse and reach your muscles; however, studies haven’t uncovered specific evidence yet of such action.
Nevertheless, if CBD products tend to be effective for you, you might find that a CBD muscle balm helps in your case.