Updated: May 7, 2020
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People use different types of cannabis creams for a number of reasons. Some common uses are chronic pain, muscles soreness, and inflammation. There is a misconception that any kind of cream related to cannabis is for getting high but that is far from the truth. Here I will discuss the different types and if they really work!
Enjoy this read and, as always, click the numbers in square brackets to check out all the references!
Hemp vs. Marijuana
A common misconception is that hemp and marijuana are the same plant and that both plants can be used to get high. False!
They both come from the Canabis sativa family and they both contain cannabinoids[i]. A cannabinoid is a type of chemical compound. We have endocannabinoids that occur naturally in our bodies and perform lots of functions[ii,iii]. The two types of plant cannabinoids in the Canabis sativa family are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the psychoactive one that people associate with getting high while CBD is the one that does not have any psychoactive properties. Marijuana has a lot of THC but is generally pretty low in CBD (this depends on the plant strain). Hemp has virtually no THC (0.3%) so it cannot be used to get high[iv] but is high in CBD. .
Many CBD creams are advertised as hemp creams but in places where marijuana is legal you can find marijuana creams as well. Keep in mind, if you are looking for a CBD cream and you see something advertised as "Hemp" that doesn't mean it has any CBD, always check the label.
Endoca is a company I am affiliated with that produces high quality CBD products made from hemp, available around the world. If you are looking to try CBD products this is a great place to start as they have everything from body butter to chewing gum. Click here to check them out!
What type of cannabis goes into a cream?
Cannabis creams can be made using CBD or THC. I will just note that if you use a cream with THC there may be psychotropic effects because it will get into your bloodstream (if there is a very small amount of THC you likely will feel nothing). Different brands will put different amounts of CBD in their creams. Some companies will write the total amount of CBD in grams in the product, some will put grams of CBD per ounce of cream and others will write the percentage of CBD. Most products I have seen will say the strength of the CBD right on the label but if you are unsure I would check the product website. Rough guidelines of strength would be per 100ml of cream:
-up to 100mg of CBD is low
-100mg-750mg of CBD is medium
-750mg-1500mg or more of CBD is high
Does it do anything?
There is a lot of evidence that shows that CBD is an effective treatment for a number of issues. CBD relieved local pain when injected[v], orally ingested as pills[vi], or when applied on the skin[vii] in many studies. CBD creams can help treat acne and other inflammatory skin issues because they reduce inflammation at the sebaceous glands (small glands in the skin that make oil) [viii,ix]. Finally, CBD creams on blistering skin conditions showed less pain and inflammation and sped up wound healing [x]!
Short answer, yes it does a lot and we keep discovering more.
CBD Side effects
I wasn’t able to find any side effects from using it on your skin or drinking it in drops. When high doses of CBD were used for severe problems like epilepsy and psychoses they saw some side effects. These were things like tiredness, and changes in weight and/or appetite (I'm going to go ahead and guess the appetite change causes the weight change...) [xi].
THC Side effects
To sum up
First, always check the laws in your country because in some places using CBD products are just as illegal as THC products (makes no sense but c'est le vie). Second, always try products at the lowest dose first and work your way up as needed. Third, if you have persistent inflammation or pain please talk to your doctor because although CBD creams and drops may help, there may be a bigger problem that you need help with!