A salve can soothe—from the driest chapped lips to the peskiest skin irritations, to the combo of pain and inflammation. Yes, maybe a standard salve can help spare you from some aches and itches and many other forms of discomfort . . .
But have you heard about CBD salves?
Along with other CBD products, they have been steadily catching people's attention, and many of those who need any help they can get with pain management or alleviating skin conditions are getting more and more interested by the day.
So, what exactly happens when your salve is infused with CBD?
Let's just say your endocannabinoid system will thank you.
CBD, the endocannabinoid system, and homeostasis
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a non-intoxicating, non-psychoactive plant-based chemical compound (phytochemical). In terms of its physiological-level function, CBD has been found to interact with the human endocannabinoid system.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is a biological system found in humans and animals, anything with a vertebrae. It is composed of receptors and endocannabinoids (naturally occurring), which are retrograde neurotransmitters (i.e., transmitting signals to, rather than from the nucleus).
These neurotransmitters are lipid-based (suspended in fatty acids) and bind to cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed throughout the vertebrate central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.
The ECS is made up of a network of naturally occurring cannabinoids and receptors. While scientists have yet to determine these receptors' full range of functions, many agree on the areas where they can be critical:
- Immune response
Numerous studies have observed an interaction between CBD and the natural receptors in the ECS—an interaction that could potentially help improve several internal processes linked to homeostasis.
What is homeostasis?
Homeostasis is a biological condition where living organisms achieve optimum function, thanks to steady internal, physical, and chemical conditions that are necessary for survival. Numerous variables (e.g., fluid balance, body temp) come into play, all of which must stay within their respective limits.
Like a lot of scientific terms, the term homeostasis (coined in 1930 by the physician Walter Cannon), is derived from the Greek, specifically for “same” and “steady.”
Can you imagine how much better life would be if we're “All systems go” practically all the time? It certainly makes it worth it to keep updated on the latest studies focused on the potential benefits of CBD, doesn't it?
The ties that bind
When CBD, with all its natural properties, interacts with ECS receptors, they can send signals to other internal systems that will ultimately help stabilize them when needed, resulting in a healthy balance in all conditions within the body, enabling it to function at the highest levels, presumably free from such health issues as pains and inflammation and skin conditions.
1. A natural wax, usually pure beeswax
What is a CBD salve, and how does it differ from your standard salve?
Other options for the natural wax component are coconut oil and Candelilla wax.
2. A fatty oil base, known as the “carrier” for the medicinal or therapeutic compound
The oil in the base “carries” the medicine in the salve. For CBD salves, fatty acids are the molecular devices that carry the CBD compound. Oils with a high content of fatty acids are able to carry more CBD. This is why coconut oil is considered the best oil carrier for making CBD salves.
If you’re allergic or sensitive to coconut oil, either of these options could work for you:
- Hemp seed oil
- Sunflower oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Pomegranate seed oil
3. A medicinal or therapeutic compound
A CBD salve contains hemp CBD, hemp is a specific variety of Cannabis sativa. While cannabis comes in three standard varieties: Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, and Cannabis ruderalis.
All cannabis plants contain CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), as well as more than 540 other substances. However, all the plants and “strains” differ greatly due to the amounts of each cannabinoid in any specific strain or plant. The key here is to use a plant that is very high in CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids but low in THC.
THC is psychoactive—that is, capable of altering a person’s mental state by affecting the way the brain and nervous system work.
Non-hemp cannabis contains more THC and less CBD. Hemp contains more CBD and less THC—that is, not enough THC to cause a “high.”" Legal hemp contains 0.3 percent THC or less.
The multitasking CBD salve
CBD continues to create an impact among those who have adopted CBD use into their pain management and personal wellness routines. Even as more research is still being done to explore its effects, many users speak for their respective CBD products of choice, providing a strong argument for the potential benefits of CBD.
All CBD products offer similar as well as unique potential benefits. CBD salves, along with other CBD topicals (ointments, creams, etc.), may provide localized relief for pains and inflammations. This is because direct application to the skin enables you to target a specific area, which conveys a more potent dose of CBD to the body's cannabinoid receptors. Ingestion of CBD products, on the other hand, requires the CBD to pass through the digestive system first, which results in a systemic effect of cannabidiol—that is, the effect of CBD may be felt in the entire body, not concentrated on just one specific part
Hemp CBD and pain management
CBD has long been associated with pain management and pain relief. It’s potentially calming and soothing properties lend themselves well to perhaps alleviating painful symptoms associated with a number of common ailments. Here are some of the most common conditions linked with CBD and currently either being researched or needing further in-depth research:
Rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain
As far as evidence goes, it’s mostly anecdotal. But it’s worth noting that some people with arthritis who have tried CBD report perceptible chronic pain relief, improved quality of sleep, and/or lower anxiety levels.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Muscle soreness, tightness, and tension
Topical CBD products, such as a CBD salve, may provide soothing relief for muscle aches. One of the most common problems for a lot of people is post-workout muscle soreness, which can often kick in 12 to 24 hours, especially after a demanding workout, and peak within 24 to 72 hours—and that’s regardless of one’s fitness level.
Another common problem is muscle tightness and muscle tension caused by long hours sitting at a desk in front of the computer, more often than not too caught up with deadlines and multiple tasks to notice, and correct, one's posture.
Chronic muscle pain
Topical CBD salve may help provide relief during a flare-up; however, systemic pain may require oral CBD as well. In this case, ingestion of CBD may help relieve pain from the inside at the same time that a topical CBD salve or cream may help provide relief in particularly painful areas.
Hemorrhoids and inflammation
Hemorrhoids (swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum) is a common-enough problem among Americans: three out of four will find themselves having to deal with hemorrhoids, especially those between 45 and 65 years old. Surgery to remove the hemorrhoids and pain relief medication are often the most common recourse, but the soothing natural relief that CBD may provide can help a lot with pain management as well as potentially help reduce inflammation especially when surgery might not be readily doable.
Headaches and migraine
These can ruin a perfectly good day, although they are often relatively quick to alleviate with the right dose of pain reliever. Headaches come in different forms, but these are the most common types:
This type is often brought on in part by stress and muscle tension, as well as by genetics and environment. The most common symptoms include moderate pain on or around both sides of the head, and/or pain in the back of the head and in the neck. Tension headaches build slowly and usually don’t cause nausea or vomiting. However, they can be chronic, occur often, and some people even suffer from them every day, in which case the sufferer will have to see a physician and not rely on pain relievers alone.
This type of headache is more common in women, who make up 75% of all sufferers, and may be linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Migraine headaches are often characterized by intense, throbbing pain that may be made worse by nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light, and loss of appetite. They can last for several days and can often be shared among families, in which case it may just be genetic.
Treatment is determined by frequency and severity of the attacks. The two common treatment options a so-called rescue medication (to be taken for immediate relief), and/or a preventative drug to help avoid future migraines, both of which will need to be prescribed by a doctor.
With cluster headaches, sufferers are hit by sudden-onset severe pain, generally behind one eye. These are less common than tension and migraine headaches, but they are the most severe of the three types. Cluster headaches often occur in groups, sometimes daily or several times during the day. They can last as long as 3 hours, with the pain recurring in the same way.
If you suffer from cluster headaches, here are things you should avoid:
- Bright light
Foods containing nitrates (e.g. lunch meat, bacon, deli meat, etc.).
There is no known cure for cluster headaches, but your doctor can recommend ways to manage the pain, including the following:
- Lifestyle changes (giving up smoking and drinking)
- Oxygen treatment
- Medication that relaxes blood vessels
- A steroid medication to reduce inflammation and swelling
A CBD salve, with its soothing and analgesic properties, may help you better manage the pain caused by all three types of migraine, as well as other less common types. Daily use of topical CBD salves and creams can help prevent migraines and oxidative stress (imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage).
Try some salve on the back of your neck or temples next time you have a headache; even behind the ears is a great spot!
Hemp CBD and skin problems
Some early studies, including one published in 2020, suggest that CBD—with its calming, soothing, anti-inflammatory properties and its antioxidant effects—has great potential to play a significant role in the treatment of numerous skin conditions and in skin care in general.
Here are some of the conditions that a top-quality CBD salve made with
all-natural ingredients could potentially help alleviate:
Psoriasis and eczema
Psoriasis is a non-contagious chronic autoimmune condition that causes an overproduction of skin cells. It is characterized by a thick patch of white scales. The parts of the body most commonly affected by psoriasis are the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back.
Eczema (or atopic dermatitis), on the other hand, is a condition brought on by a hypersensitivity reaction, wherein the skin overreacts to certain irritants like soaps, dyes, fabrics, animal hair, etc. This condition, which may be long-term in some cases, is characterized by red, inflamed, cracked, peeling, blistered, or pus-filled skin. It is more common in infants, who are then expected to outgrow their hypersensitivity later on in childhood or early adulthood.
So what could make a CBD salve a great part of the treatment for these skin conditions?
Preliminary research on the ways that CBD can aid in treating eczema and psoriasis seems promising. For example, a 2007 study found that cannabinoids, including CBD, arrest the growth and division of skin cells that are linked with psoriatic skin rashes.
Burns and scarring
Scars are marks left on the skin or within body tissue following an injury or trauma to the skin (e.g., a burn, a cut, wound, or skin condition). An inflammatory response results when the skin breaks; and to protect the damaged area from infection, the body does the following: (1) release white blood cells and (2) send cell fragments (platelets) to promote blood clotting.
Once the bleeding has stopped, fibroblasts, which are biological cells that synthesize the extracellular matrix and the protein collagen, begin to produce said protein. The collagen helps strengthen the wounded or burned area during the healing period.
With burns in particular, in addition to anecdotal evidence, early research points to CBD’s ability to possibly alleviate various issues that stem from sunburns, including redness and pain. CBD’s possible benefits do not stop at sunburns either. Other types of burns (e.g., thermal burns, electrical burns, etc.) may also see relief from a cooling, soothing, and anti-inflammatory CBD salve. Try our Burn Care out, it is free of essential oils and is specially formulated just for burns.
When we get bitten by a bug, the bug simultaneously draws blood and injects foreign proteins into our skin via its saliva. To fight off these foreign proteins, our immune system releases the hormone histamine as well as sends white blood cells to the bitten area. Histamine increases blood flow, which causes inflammation that leads to pain and itching. Yes, all of that pain, itching, and redness actually means that our body is fighting against invading foreign cells.
Inflammation is directly connected with the endocannabinoid system: When the body detects any functional abnormalities, it will send signals to the ECS, including the immune system and the effects of inflammation. With the proper trigger, the ECS could send the signal for the inflammation to subside.
Here’s where CBD comes in: Most endocannabinoids and Phyto cannabinoids bond with either the CB1 or the CB2 receptor. Both are ECS receptors responsible for signaling other systems. Rather than bond with either of these receptors, CBD can instead inhibit or enhance other chemicals’ binding potential with those receptors. It may also act independently on many other non-ECS receptors. When you apply a CBD salve, the CBD potentially improves communication between the skin cells and other internal systems, possibly allowing the ECS to better regulate the immune system, and thus promptly reduce inflammation. Some users may notice lessened irritation, pain, and itching within a few moments.
Applying CBD salve unleashes CBD’s antibacterial properties to help kill acne causing bacteria in affected areas. CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory effects have the potential to help reduce inflammation caused by pro-acne agents.
So far, most of the research focused on acne and CBD is interested in CBD’s power to inhibit processes, like excess oil buildup, that are known to cause acne. As far as this particular use of the CBD salve, a study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation is among the most promising studies ever conducted to date.
Currently, there’s a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence pointing to the potential therapeutic effects of CBD salve, along with other topical CBD products, on the scalp and hair. Once again, the soothing and calming effects of CBD, together with the numerous vitamins and essential fatty acids (which help form collagen) may help make CBD-infused hair and scalp care products effective when it comes to nourishing scalp tissue for a healthy scalp.
Key takeaways1. Hemp CBD salves are not psychoactive—that is, they don’t contain enough THC to cause a “high.”
2. There’s a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence that quality CBD products, including CBD salves and topicals could potentially help numerous symptoms, including those associated with the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain
- Muscle soreness, tightness, and tension
- Chronic muscle pain
- Hemorrhoids and inflammation
- Headaches and migraine
- Burns and scarring
- Bug bites
- Dry scalp
3. CBD can interact with certain receptors in the endocannabinoid system in such a way that the interaction can potentially signal the body’s internal systems to behave in ways that help promote homeostasis—the state wherein all conditions necessary for survival (internal, physical, and chemical) are perfectly steady to allow optimum functioning.
It's time for an organic experience.
Why not feed your curiosity. With growing anecdotal evidence on its side and a growing number of third party tested topical CBD products gaining popularity, chances are you will find just the right products that work for your specific needs. When choosing your CBD salve, invest some time in exploring brand reputation.
Our Full-Spectrum CBD Salve, together with the rest of our CBD products, make up our artisanal CBD line. Brand reputation and customer service is our top priority, so everything is crafted in small batches to preserve the terpene and cannabinoid profile of each product. All our CBD products are third party tested and come from locally sourced hemp, grown in Colorado. Each product contains gluten-free, non-GMO, all natural ingredients.