It’s hard to imagine just how much physical pain Americans experience. More than 100 million adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain, according to the The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. And there’s no one cause—injury, disease, genetics or psychological issues can all bring on debilitating, chronic pain.
Similarly, there isn’t just one pain treatment. Cannabidiol (CBD), a natural cannabinoid found in hemp and known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, has become a major source of hope and promise in the fight against pain.
All mammals, humans included, have something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a system of receptors that winds all throughout the body and brain. It serves to keep the body at homeostasis via two-way communication with other systems, working together to keep everything happy and balanced. The ECS plays a vital role in the healthy functioning of all sorts of biological processes including:
So, how does CBD fit into all of this?
ECS receptors act like a lock. And cannabinoids, whether naturally produced by our bodies (endocannabinoids) or from a plant (phytocannabinoids), act like a key. When you consume the phytocannabinoid CBD, it activates these receptors. They then begin to communicate specific commands to nearby cells, resulting in particular biological responses.
How this relationship between CBD and the ECS works to treat pain is illuminated in one study, published in the Journal of Neurotherapeutics. In this study, researchers looked into CBD as a treatment for seizures and concluded that CBD may treat pain by inhibiting the body from absorbing anadamide.
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid associated with pain regulation and feelings of bliss or joy. So, having more anandamide freely available in the bloodstream can help reduce the perception of pain.
Beyond the perception of pain, CBD can reduce the cause of pain by employing its anti-inflammatory properties.
Hemp CBD oil is derived, as the name suggests, from hemp rather than marijuana, though on a molecular level, CBD from either type of plant is exactly the same. Legally, hemp is defined as having less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive high. Because of this, hemp-derived CBD is legally available in all 50 states.
Nowadays, there are some hemp CBD companies that produce high-potency, high-quality products that people rely on to treat their pain, whether acute from a headache or chronic from an old sports injury. Here are some of our favorite hemp-derived CBD products.
Tinctures are one of the most popular ways to consume hemp CBD oil, but not all are created equal. Most of the hemp tinctures on the market are CBD isolates, meaning they’re refined until all components are filtered out except for CBD. But the Full Spectrum Raw Oil tincture by Cured Nutrition is made from whole hemp flower and includes a full spectrum of hemp cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids.
Cured prides itself in being the least-refined hemp extract on the market, using all of the components found naturally in hemp for increased efficacy, including other lesser-known cannabinoids like:
Take a dose of this tincture daily for ongoing pain relief. You can put the tincture directly in your mouth or under the tongue. Or you can mix the tincture in coffee or another beverage of your choice.
Figuring out your own tincture dose may sound intimidating, confusing or inconvenient. Or you may just hate the taste of every tincture you’ve tried. If any of that sounds familiar, these Elixinol hemp oil capsules may become your new favorite product.
Elixinol extracts its organic hemp oil using CO2 in a chemical-free process, and the capsules are designed to absorb quickly and efficiently into the body for long-lasting relief. This product is especially good for those with inflammation of the digestive system that leads to cramping and pain. Take one of these pills with a meal in the morning or when you need relief during the day.
Hemp CBD topicals are great for targeted pain relief. This no-mess CBD+ Healing Stick from Wildflower is easy to toss in a backpack or purse to use as needed during the day—and it’s very discreet to apply.
You won’t have to worry about getting any cream or oils on your fingers with this product. Apply this healing stick to wherever you feel pain, and you’ll immediately feel a tingle of relief spread through the area. The secret to this product is not just CBD, but a proprietary blend of essential oils like arnica and wintergreen that all work to create long-lasting relief.
Carry this with you throughout the day and use it whenever you need it—at work or out running errands when minor aches and pains start to hit. Or rub it on your temples for natural relief during a bad headache.
In a similar fashion to the Wildflower Healing Stick, this Basic Jane Relieve Pain Spray is a great option for fast-acting relief. Skip the creams and lotions, and instead spritz this hemp CBD oil blend directly on the problem area. You’ll only wait a second or two for its effects to set in. This product works so fast because it’s designed to penetrate quickly into the skin, bringing all of the relieving power of a range of soothing ingredients like:
This 2 oz spray bottle with 500 mg CBD is easy to carry in your gym bag. Spray your stiff and achy areas to relieve inflammation and pain.