Last weekend I had the opportunity to demo a CBD (cannabidiol) cream. I’ve read that others with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome have used CBD to deal with their daily pain, so I was interested to find out if the cream could actually relieve any of my joint pain. I say “demoed” instead of “tried” because it was only one application. To give a fair review of a lotion that claims to decrease pain, it should probably be taken as recommended for one month. I think that’s a decent amount of time to expect something to start making a noticeable difference. If you’d like to find out my impression from one day of application, read on!
On Friday, I attended a heath fair in which a local wellness business was offering acupuncture and CBD cream applications. I signed my paperwork, but the place was so busy that I couldn’t try it before needing to leave. The representative said that I could come into their office on Saturday to demo the CBD cream (no luck on free acupuncture).
The entire visit ended up taking 1 hour (one hour!!!) which included about 10 minutes of actually talking with the employee who did the demo and getting the cream applied. Maybe even 5 minutes. Essentially, I was left waiting for a really long time past my scheduled appointment. Normally I would have left after I reached the 30 minute mark, but it was a Saturday, the weather was nice, I didn’t have anything to do on a set schedule, so I just went with it. I really wanted to experience the CBD lotion and didn’t think I’d get another chance without paying for it.
The technician chose a 4% strength lotion from CBD CLINIC™, the same group that offers Charlotte’s Web (low-THC cannabis). The lotion was quite greasy in that it applied smoothly but left a shiny greasy residue that didn’t absorb quickly. Because one of the trial areas was the base of my thumb (chronic De Quervain’s), it kept transferring to things I touched, like the steering wheel of my car. It smelled delicious! The tech said each strength had a different smell, but this one smelled like cloves. I adore that scent. If the lotion hadn’t cost $60+, I would have considered buying it just for the scent. There was a noticeable cooling sensation as soon as it was applied. This sensation lasted for about 10 minutes max.
The plain truth… I didn’t notice any reduction in my pain levels. The other trial area was on my ankles, because they were actively hurting when I walked so they were the area I would be most likely to notice a change. There was no difference in my pain.
What I did notice was a relaxation in the stiffness of those joints. My thumb joint seemed to move easier and further, and my ankles didn’t go through a strong stiff phase when I stood up. They were still very painful, but not as stiff. That lasted till the evening as I noticed stiffness again after dinner. Still not as bad, but that was when it started to come back. It could have been that I didn’t sit for long periods before then so my ankles wouldn’t have been stiff anyway, but it really doesn’t take a lot for my ankles to seize up. I personally felt there was a difference in stiffness. That turned out to not be such a good thing for my thumb, as I apparently over-moved it, because it hurt a lot more than normal the next day. Go figure.
Now what caused the relaxation? That’s the $69.99 question, isn’t it? After doing research on the lotion, it turns out that it also contains 7% menthol and 5% camphor as its active ingredients. Hmm. That accounts for the cooling sensation. It was sort of like rubbing a muscle ointment on then. That I could buy in any store. Without CBD in it.
Do those muscle-relaxant ointments relax my ankles? Would it have had the same affect without the CBD? TBH, I don’t know. I’ve tried those rubs for pain relief and decided that they don’t work on joints and only moderately work on surface muscles… but the rubbing I do when applying helps just as much. Since I don’t find it easy to rub my own shoulders, I don’t really use them. The best one I’ve found is Deep Blue by Doterra. I keep a tube of it at work and use it on really bad days. Even then, half of the therapy is the strong scent helping my mind to relax and de-stress, which in turn relaxes my muscles.
The same affect may have been happening with the CBD cream. The scent was so uplifting and pleasant that I may have just felt better and experienced a mind-over-body effect. Which is not to be sneered at, but I’m not going to pay 60-plus dollars for it. Even the technician said that most of their CBD clients experience a lot of improvement by just being able to sleep properly through the night, which this cream assists them in doing. That is absolutely a necessity for good health and is worth getting help for, but I already sleep fairly well. I know some things, like letting my dog sleep in the bed or having the room too cold or hot, impair my sleep, but my solution isn’t to apply a cream. It should be to kick the dog out of the bed and control the temperature of my room. On the nights (most of them) that I can’t stand the sad look in my doggie’s eyes and he gets to jump back in the bed, I already know and own products that can help me to relax a little more.
So I’m left with the impression that I like the cream, I really do. It helped my joints to relax, whether that was from the physical effect of the cream on the skin or from the effect of the scent on my stress level. The scent was both invigorating and soothing at the same time. The topical sensation was pleasingly cool. It’s a bit greasy, but that didn’t last and I realize it’s a topical ointment and not a hand lotion. But the price… the price is just too high for a cream that relaxes but doesn’t actually reduce my pain. It’s a high quality ointment or rub, but that’s all I see it as right now. If I end up with a tub of it somehow, then we’ll see if repeated application improves results. Until then, CBD cream is just too expensive for the results I experienced.