Treating Inflammation: Is CBD Oil or CBD Cream Better?

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A Brief History

Discovered in 1940, cannabidiol, or CBD as it is called in layman’s terms, could be exactly what you need to treat certain inflammatory conditions. Whether you are experiencing inflammation from a single injury or you experience it chronically for other conditions, CBD might be for you.

If you are going to use CBD oil for inflammation, you might be wondering what the best product is. You can get CBD oil in many forms, including edibles or capsules, inhalants, sublingual tinctures, or topicals.

There are claims that CBD topicals like creams are best for treating inflammation because you can rub them in at the site. Others say that inflammation is best treated from the inside out. Which is true?

Digging Deeper

How CBD Oil Works

The research continues to grow on the way CBD works inside the body, but it is believed to work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Your body naturally produces cannabinoids and endocannabinoids that send and receive messages regarding hormone production and immune responses.

When CBD oil enters the blood stream, it increases the number of cannabinoids found in your blood stream. These contribute to the proper function of your endocannabinoid system. When hormones overproduce, the additional cannabinoids can help to balance things out. When cannabinoids send signals calling for inflammation, a natural immune response, the added cannabinoids can help to take the edge off and reduce the swelling.

It is not clear exactly how the endocannabinoids and cannabinoids work together to create homeostasis in the endocannabinoid system, but it does seem to have a powerful effect on many. Not only can it help to reduce inflammation, but it might help with other symptoms as well.

Consumers who use the best CBD oil regularly also report that it helps to reduce pain, treat anxiety, boost one’s mood, improve one’s focus, help solve sleep problems, and even clear up acne. There are also claims of CBD oil helping to combat more serious health problems. It could help to lower blood pressure, reducing the risks of heart disease, hypertension, or stroke.

It is also been used to help treat symptoms experienced by cancer patients and those going through chemotherapy. Many cancer patients say that they have tried many solutions for the pain and anxiety of their condition, but nothing has worked as well as CBD for treating their symptoms without making them high, drowsy, or out of it.

The inflammation-relieving properties of CBD are just one part of the picture, but an important one. Let us look at which delivery method is best for treating inflammatory conditions.

How CBD Oil Affects Inflammation

If you are going to take CBD oil internally to try to treat inflammation, it is a good option. CBD oil must enter the bloodstream for it to interact with your endocannabinoid system. Once there, it can begin to work with the system to reduce transmissions of inflammation signals being sent throughout the body.

Many patients report that this inside-out approach to tackling the inflammation problem is effective.  It is a common treatment by arthritis patients who experience widespread inflammation in their joints. Many patients report that CBD helped to bring down inflammation and improve mobility more than other anti-inflammatories.

How CBD Creams Target Inflammation

Topical CBD products are growing in popularity. Creams, ointments, and other topicals are more easily advertised and sold than CBD products designed for internal ingestion. In some states, you can even find over-the-counter CBD products at your local drug store or Walgreens.

Some people are skeptical of the use of CBD topicals for treating pain and inflammation, which are believed to be caused by internal processes. It is true that internal approaches to handling the inflammation are effective, but do not discount topicals so quickly.

The primary use for CBD topicals is musculoskeletal complaints, according to a 2019 Arthritis Foundation report. More than half of patients with arthritis have used CBD products applied to the joints to relieve inflammation and almost 80 percent said they wanted to give it a try.

For many of these patients, the results are clear. They can apply the lotion or cream and within a few minutes, they experience lessened or no pain in their joints.

CBD topicals are also used to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and cystic acne. These are inflammatory conditions that seem to be soothed by the application of a topical CBD ointment or gel.

Some scientists believe that CBD topicals have the ability to sink through the layers of skin to enter the bloodstream. In so doing, it could course through the body and alter endocannabinoid processing to relieve inflammation.

Others are adamant that topical products like CBD creams do not have the power to do that; however, they admit that CBD creams seem to work well at targeted locations. When applying them to the skin, researchers have observed topical CBD products making the pain and inflammation virtually disappear for a time.

The belief is that CBD creams interact with your skin’s cannabinoid receptors. The skin is apparently rich in cannabinoids as part of the endocannabinoid system, and the skin contact is ideal for targeting site-specific pain.

Study after study has shown positive results in reducing inflammation through the use of topical creams and ointments containing CBD.

Which Is Right for You?  

The answer to this question may vary depending on how CBD affects you, but most researchers would recommend topical CBD as the substance of choice for site-specific inflammation. It can be rubbed into the skin over sore joints or muscles to relieve the inflammation and pain there. It can also be smoothed on top of an injury, such as a sprain or pulled tendon.

Creams might also work to reduce inflammatory skin conditions. Cystic acne, eczema, and psoriasis can be difficult to treat, but patients have seen continual success by treating their conditions with CBD creams. There has also been success in using CBD creams on children with skin conditions, although you should consult with a pediatrician first.

If you have the means to use two types of CBD products, using a topical in combination with an internally consumed CBD product could be twice as helpful for relieving the inflammation you experience. It could influence the endocannabinoid system from the inside while targeting specific pain points.

Be sure to start with a reasonable dose of each and monitor yourself for side effects. While you cannot really overdose on CBD, taking too much can result in light headedness, dizziness, headache, nausea, dry mouth, or drowsiness.

Your options are limitless when it comes to using CBD. You might be able to take back your life and relieve inflammation for good with the right CBD oil products.

Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever used any CBD products?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Booth, Martin.  Cannabis.  Picador Paper, 2005.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Jeoy Pena of CBD oil for anxiety, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland