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Cannabidiol (CBD) products are becoming increasingly popular. Research suggests that CBD has several potential benefits, including alleviating pains and strains. CBD is available in various formats, such as topical ointments.

CBD is a cannabinoid, or compound, from the Cannabis Sativa plant. It does not change a person’s state of mind or behavior, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound that can lead to the “high” that many people associate with cannabis use.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

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The human body contains an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a complex cell signaling network of neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, and cannabinoid receptors.

While limited research leaves some experts skeptical about the effectiveness of cannabinoids, others believe the ECS may contain multiple promising therapeutic targets. However, according to an article in Frontiers in Pharmacology, more research is necessary to explore this further.

There is research to suggest that CBD may have pain-relieving properties. A 2019 study indicates a link between CBD and reduced chronic pain. In the study, 94% of participants experienced improvements in their quality of life. Additionally, a 2015 review notes that CBD may also have anti-inflammatory properties.

A 2016 study on rat models of arthritis notes that applying topical CBD reduced pain and inflammation.

A 2020 randomized controlled trial suggests that topical CBD may provide pain relief for people with peripheral neuropathy. Researchers found that CBD can significantly reduce intense pain, sharp pain, itchy sensations, and cold.

Other research also suggests that topical CBD may be useful for treating joint and muscle pain associated with other conditions, such as migraine.

Topical CBD may also benefit certain skin disorders. A 2019 study suggests that CBD ointment is a safe and effective treatment for those with inflammatory skin conditions.

The American Academy of Dermatology also notes that topical CBD may be a useful treatment for acne, psoriasis, and eczema due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Learn more about CBD oil and arthritis here.

CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated by many people. With topical CBD products, people are more likely to experience irritation from other ingredients in the ointment. It is, therefore, advisable for people to do a patch test before using the product.

Anyone looking to use CBD should first consult a healthcare professional, as it is possible for CBD to interact with some prescription medications or supplements.

However, topical CBD products are the least likely of any other CBD product to reach the bloodstream and cause any drug interactions.

Some common side effects of CBD, which may be dose-dependent, can include:

Learn more about the dosages of CBD here.

CBD ointments are topical products.

As opposed to edibles and oils which a person ingests, topical ointments are applied to the skin. For this reason, they may be a good way of treating some sources of pain, as well as skin conditions.

A 2019 study highlights the use of CBD ointment for inflammatory skin conditions and scars. Other research also supports this claim, suggesting CBD may be useful in treating eczema and psoriasis, as well as acne.

Why CBD ointments over other forms?

CBD ointments are especially useful for localized pain or skin conditions. People can apply the ointment directly onto the area that needs treatment. Ingesting CBD via a gummy or an oil may treat the skin problem, or source of pain, as quickly and as directly.

Many CBD ointments are available to buy on the market. Below, we list three that people may wish to try.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All product information is purely research-based.

Envy CBD Aloe Vera Ointment

The manufacturer of this ointment designed the product to soothe skin after exposure to the sun. Each bottle contains 300 milligrams (mg) of full-spectrum CBD. This means it comprises all the compounds of the cannabis plant, including up to 0.3% THC.

Combining full-spectrum hemp extract plus other botanical extracts, such as witch hazel and organic aloe leaf juice, the company says that the ingredients work together to hydrate, nourish, and repair broken skin.

It recommends applying a quarter-sized amount of aloe vera ointment on the skin after sun exposure and gently rubbing it to achieve the required results.

The test report for this product is available on the product page.

PureKana Topical CBD Ointment

PureKana topical CBD ointment is a formulation containing 600 mg CBD. The manufacturer states that this ointment is a convenient and easy-to-use way to hydrate, moisturize, and rejuvenate skin.

It recommends taking a small amount of the cream and rubbing it gently over the desired area.

According to its website, PureKana creates its products from CBD-rich hemp oil sourced from the best Kentucky sources.

The lab report for this product is available on the product page.

Simply Pure CBD Pure Relief CBD Salve

Simply Pure CBD Salve ointment includes 500 mg broad-spectrum hemp extract. Broad-spectrum means it contains various compounds and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant but typically contains no THC. However, some broad-spectrum products will have trace quantities.

The manufacturer recommends the cream to relieve sore muscles, support joint health, or maintain overall skin health. It also suggests that the presence of essential oils helps soothe the skin and offer relaxation effects.

A third-party lab has tested the product for purity and consistency, and the certificate of analysis (COA) is available on the product page.

Typically, people apply the CBD ointment directly to the affected area and massage gently as necessary. Depending on the product, users might feel warm, cooling, or tingling sensations.

People should follow the instructions on the label and follow any guidance on the packaging. It is also important for people to note that CBD ointments may irritate when used on broken skin.

People should also be aware of the difference between ointments and other topical products, such as creams. Typically, the primary difference is that ointments contain the highest oil content at roughly 80% oil. This means they stay on top of the skin and do not evaporate, ensuring maximum product absorption.

Learn more about some of the best CBD topicals here.

It is important for individuals to choose CBD products based on safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:

  • is from a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • contains hemp grown in the United States
  • has no more than 0.3% THC, according to the COA
  • passes safety checks for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

People should also consider:

  • company certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:

Confused about CBD? Read our complete buyer’s guide here.

Importance of third-party testing

The CBD industry is currently unregulated, so there is a chance of unethical CBD manufacturers being dishonest about cannabinoid content in their products. This is where third-party testing comes in. It is important because:

  • the FDA does not regulate CBD products
  • it verifies the quality of CBD products
  • it provides a neutral, unbiased source of information

Learn about how to choose the best CBD products here.

Other topical CBD products are available if people do not want to use CBD ointments. Individuals may also choose to use CBD in another format, such as oils or gummies, for pain relief.

There are also many other alternatives that people can try to relieve pains and strains.

The RICE method is an effective approach to muscle strain recovery. In addition to this, people can take medication, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), to control pain and reduce swelling or inflammation.

People can also try natural pain relief methods, such as essential oils, herbs, and alternative therapies.

Learn more about natural ways to relieve pain here.

For skin conditions such as eczema, people can try topical corticosteroid ointments and creams or use natural remedies, such as gels, oils, or baths.

Below are some common questions around CBD:

Where should a person buy CBD?

The CBD industry is currently unregulated. This means that there is the possibility of unethical CBD manufacturing, particularly regarding the cannabinoid content in the products. This is why third-party testing is crucial.

Third-party testing provides an unbiased, neutral source of information. They verify the quality of CBD products and ensure the CBD content advertised is correct according to lab testing.

People considering CBD products should only purchase from brands that use third-party testing.

What types of CBD products are available?

Several types of CBD products come in various forms, from oils to topicals, and edibles. Depending on the necessary dosage and the condition in question, people can choose which delivery method is most suitable for them.

Common forms of CBD products include:

  • Oils and tinctures: A person can administer these directly into their mouth. People can also add these to food items or drinks.
  • Gummies: CBD gummies are an easy and discreet way of taking CBD.
  • Capsules: Capsules are another convenient form of CBD in the form of pills or CBD-infused softgels.
  • Topicals: People tend to use topical CBD products for localized pain and skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.

What do CBD product labels mean?

CBD product labels may mention the following:

  • Full-spectrum CBD: These products contain all compounds of the cannabis plant, including THC, which is the psychoactive compound associated with the “high” of cannabis.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: These products contain all compounds except THC.
  • CBD isolate: These products only contain CBD on its own, isolated, with no other compounds present.

Learn more about the types of CBD here.

CBD may be a useful ingredient to provide pain relief. People may use different forms of CBD, including oils, gummies, and capsules. However, topical CBD products, such as ointments, could be a better choice for those who do not want to ingest CBD orally.

People should seek advice from a healthcare professional before using any form of CBD.