CBD Salves for Pain: Do They Work?

Man holding his sore, arthritic fingers in pain

CBD salves are topical preparations (such as lotions, balms, creams, and CBD roll-ons) that are commonly applied to the skin for localized pain relief. They have become extremely popular, but what’s the verdict on CBD salves for pain? Do they actually work? And if so, how do you achieve the results you’re looking for with a topical CBD salve?

An Overview of CBD Salves for Pain

CBD salves are among the easiest cannabidiol products to find. While other CBD products, like tinctures and edibles, are often carried in dispensaries and specialty CBD stores, salves can be found in a number of health food stores, commercial pharmacies, herbal shops, and even places like Whole Foods.

The premise is simple: You apply the cream—or the spray, in some cases—directly to the area where you’re seeking relief and allow it to penetrate the pores. So a long-distance runner with knee pain might apply it directly to their knees. And a person with rheumatoid arthritis might rub it into their hands in the hopes of achieving arthritis pain relief.

How CBD Salves for Pain Are Made

To make a topical CBD salve, cannabidiol is first extracted from the flowers and leaves of hemp plants. This is an important detail because there’s a common misconception that CBD products are derived from cannabis. While cannabis does contain CBD, most commercial CBD products are hemp-derived.

In the U.S., hemp is defined as any Cannabis sativa plant that contains no more than .3% THC. In other words, there are only faint traces of the psychoactive compound, so CBD products cannot get you high. They’re simply used for therapeutic purposes.

The CBD is typically extracted from the plant using a solvent like supercritical carbon dioxide or ethanol. Then it’s combined with a fatty base like coconut oil or beeswax. The compound can then be applied directly to the skin. The CBD oil penetrates the pores and interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is where pain relief comes into play.

How Does CBD Support Pain Relief?

A woman dipping her finger into a tub of cream

CBD has received a lot of attention for its potential pain-relief qualities. Some research has found that cannabidiol interacts with the body’s cannabinoid receptors in a way that blocks pain signals to the brain.

One study specifically looked at the use of CBD-infused oral sprays (Sativex) and found that subjects experienced significant pain relief without excessive side effects and tolerance build-up. It’s worth noting that Sativex contains both THC and CBD. But the CBD dosage is equivalent to the THC dosage and is believed to play a key role in the pain-relieving qualities of the spray.

Topical CBD and Pain Relief

So, where does that leave topical CBD salves? One animal-based study from the European Journal of Pain found that the topical application of CBD can effectively reduce pain and inflammation in subjects with arthritis. These results may have important implications for other types of localized pain as well. Research suggests that the skin has endocannabinoid receptors in the epidermis layer, which may explain why CBD salves for pain are effective in many people.

It’s important to note that research into CBD for pain relief is still ongoing, and we still have a lot to learn. Nevertheless, preliminary research shows tremendous promise, as do countless anecdotal testimonials from people who rely on topical CBD for pain relief.

How Do I Apply CBD Salves for Pain?

A hemp-infused salve is easy to apply. Just use it as directed, and apply it directly to the affected area. You want to rub the salve directly into the skin where relief is needed. Unlike oral CBD products in which dose is important, it’s okay to apply a topical CBD salve liberally.

Salves are extremely well-tolerated even at high doses, and liberal application may even help improve the product’s bioavailability. Nevertheless, each salve has a different concentration of CBD.

There are two ways to use CBD salves for pain: preventative maintenance and on-the-spot pain relief.

  • Preventative maintenance. If you’re looking to prevent or minimize recurring pain or aid recovery after an intense workout, apply your CBD salve to the affected area as part of your general wellness routine. You can apply your salve two to three times daily, such as in the morning and evening, before going to bed, or right after you finish exercising.
  • On-the-spot pain relief. If you feel sore in a particular area, just apply the salve as directed whenever you need it. It will take a few minutes for the effects to become noticeable, but you should experience some level of relief.

How Long Does a Topical CBD Salve Take to Work?

A woman in sports attire with back pain

Topical CBD products have a slower onset of action than vape products and smoking. The speed can depend on the carrier liquid (fat-soluble carrier liquids like MCT oil tend to work the fastest), the dosage, and the site of the pain. In most cases, however, you can expect the effects to become noticeable within 25 to 45 minutes.

But while the onset might be a bit slow, the good news is that the effects tend to be long-lasting. One dose may provide relief for four to six hours.

What if I Have No Success With CBD Salves for Pain?

What if you’ve tried CBD salves and experienced no—or insufficient symptom relief? CBD is extremely effective for some people, but it might not give you adequate results if:

  • You have a high tolerance to CBD oil
  • Your pain is moderate to severe
  • Your topical CBD salve is low-quality (you have to research products carefully)

If you’ve tried multiple CBD products and have been unsuccessful in getting your chronic pain under control, you might benefit from medicinal cannabis. Cannabis is noted for its more potent effect on pain pathways, so it may provide better relief when CBD alone isn’t enough. We can help you get a medical marijuana card in Miami if you have a qualifying condition. A majority of other states also offer medicinal and/or recreational cannabis.

Get Pain Relief With Medverde

Whether you need CBD salves for pain or a Florida medical marijuana card, Medverde can help. We offer premium quality CBD salves derived from USDA Organic hemp. Use our salve to soothe sore muscles or relieve aching joints. If you live in the Miami area and are struggling with chronic pain, visit us to get certified for medical marijuana on the same day.