The Ultimate Guide To CBD & Inflammation
Read Time: 8 minutes
Are pain and inflammation getting in the way of you leading your best life? CBD may be able to help. From joint pain to muscle soreness, the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may help take the edge off. Learn everything you need to know about how CBD may help manage inflammation in this all-in-one guide.
What is CBD?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in both the marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) plant and the hemp plant. It's one of more than 100 different compounds called cannabinoids which are responsible for many of the effects you might experience when using cannabis or hemp.
Unlike THC—the active ingredient in marijuana—CBD doesn't have an intoxicating effect (or high). Rather, it plays a role within the endocannabinoid system—or ECS—to help modulate and regulate body functions. CBD has been shown to offer several different potential benefits within the body, including reducing anxiety, pain, and inflammation. We'll touch more on CBD and its balancing effects a bit more in the next section.
While CBD can be extracted from the cannabis plant, it's most commonly sourced from hemp. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal on a federal level if they contain less than 0.3% THC. However, hemp-derived CBD comes in three major categories: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate.
Full-Spectrum CBD: Full-spectrum CBD has all of the terpenes, cannabinoids, fatty acids, minerals, and phytochemicals found naturally within the hemp plant. Put simply, it contains the plant's essence in a whole-plant hemp extract. Full spectrum CBD products are believed to be the most effective CBD extract since it includes all of the potential therapeutic properties of the plant. When these compounds come together, they work in synergy to boost each other's individual effects in a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.¹ All of our products are made with full spectrum, hemp-derived CBD that tests below the 0.3% THC legal limit.
Broad Spectrum CBD: Broad spectrum CBD is similar to full spectrum CBD, except that it goes through an additional process to remove THC from the extract to the point it can no longer be detected in lab tests. Since it still contains the majority of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds, it still supports the entourage effect and offers potential benefits. Even still, without THC, broad spectrum CBD may feel less effective.
CBD Isolate: CBD isolates are extracts that go through a rigorous process to remove all other cannabinoids, terpenes, and compounds—leaving behind nothing but pure CBD. Since there are no other compounds in the final product, CBD isolate doesn't support the entourage effect. That said, it's not as effective as full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD products.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to promote different possible effects within the body.² The ECS is responsible for keeping the body balanced. To do that, the ECS regulates many different functions—including memory, mood, metabolism, appetite, organ function, immune system function, pain, inflammation, body temperature, and sleep-wake cycles.
It accomplishes all of this by utilizing a network of receptors to send chemical messages back and forth, helping keep the body running smoothly. Whenever we experience pain, anxiety, or inflammation, the ECS sends various messages throughout the body to help bring things back into equilibrium.
These chemical messages are made up of enzymes and endocannabinoids. Each "message" binds to a receptor to produce effects that help the body stay in balance. In some situations, this means sending messages that make you feel anxious before a job interview or trigger an inflammatory response to a bee sting.
The body can only do so much on its own, though—which is where CBD comes in. Studies have shown that when CBD is introduced to the endocannabinoid system on its own, the cannabinoid can help trigger anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects. Cannabinoids like CBD affect receptor sites within the endocannabinoid system known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors. While CBD doesn’t bind to either receptor, THC does—and the presence of CBD can counteract some of the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD changes how the body interacts with enzymes that break down anandamide—also known as the bliss molecule.³ Anandamide, a naturally-occurring endocannabinoid, is what’s responsible for regulating moods and pain responses. CBD’s effects enable it to remain in the body longer—which could help to better manage chronic pain and inflammation, as well as alleviate stress and anxiety.
At the end of the day, CBD has a balancing effect that may help promote a stronger sense of equilibrium within the body and mind. It works by binding to different receptors within the endocannabinoid system and altering which messages are sent, how frequently they're sent, and how the messages affect you in keeping your body operating optimally.
Inflammation and its Causes
Inflammation is your body’s response to offending agents (like viruses and bacteria) trying to invade your body. The immune system sends inflammatory cells and cytokines to trap the offending agent and relieve the affected area. It’s during this time that you might experience symptoms such as redness or swelling.
CBD and Inflammation
Whether you’re interested in CBD for sore muscles or to reduce discomfort, it can serve a host of related purposes. With that being said, does CBD help with inflammation? One of the most potentially powerful benefits of CBD is its known anti-inflammatory properties. The prospective anti-inflammatory effect that it can bring to the table may help balance the body via our endocannabinoid system—which could help in managing various inflammatory conditions.
As mentioned above, the inflammatory response is a natural attempt to bring the body back to its highest functioning state. Acute inflammation is the body's natural response to different distresses, and it's meant to help protect your body from pathogens and other “invaders” to allow you to feel better faster.
However, in the case of chronic conditions, inflammation can be painful and detrimental to the body. Prolonged inflammation can lead to oxidativestress, chronic muscle soreness, and other potential adverse effects. In many chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease, the body may benefit from anti-inflammatory effects when the body's natural inflammatory response is doing more harm than good.
This is where CBD naturally shines. In preclinical and clinical trials, CBD was shown to have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidative potential that may help to better manage pain.⁴ CBD may help with pain stemming from arthritis, muscles, and joints—reducing the harmful effects of inflammation. It may also inhibit some of the body's ability to produce the inflammation effect in the first place—which could lead to a greater sense of comfort and mobility.
Best CBD Products for Inflammation
If you're looking to experience the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD first-hand, we've broken down some of the most popular CBD products and how they work below.
Topical CBD: Full spectrum CBD topicals are excellent for acute inflammation in problem areas, like previous injuries to muscles or joints. Topical CBD products include lotions, body oils, gels, creams, and balms. CBD balms have gained popularity for soothing discomfort associated with joints and muscle soreness through targeted relief. To use them, apply the preferred topical to the affected area. You’ll begin feeling the effects in 1-2 hours, but they can last for up to 48 hours. Topicals are best for spot-treating pain and inflammation, as they can offer focused and sustained relief for sore muscles, aching joints, and inflamed areas.
CBD Oil Tinctures: The best CBD oil tinctures are made with full spectrum CBD oil since they support the entourage effect, which could help make its anti-inflammatory effects more potent. To use them, you'll hold the ideal serving beneath your tongue to absorb the oil into your bloodstream. You may experience effects in as soon as 10-15 minutes—with them lasting for up to 12 hours. Tinctures are most effective when taken consistently and daily.
CBD Gummies: CBD gummies are a type of ingestible CBD that may also help manage inflammation—providing an excellent way to get your ideal serving of CBD in one quick, delicious bite. The most effective CBD gummies are made with full spectrum CBD to help encourage the entourage effect—which may improve anti-inflammatory effects. To use these, you'll eat your ideal serving of CBD once or twice daily. The effects of CBD edibles take up to an hour to initiate, but can last up to 12 hours.
CBD Capsules & Softgels: Like CBD edibles and gummies, full spectrum CBD softgels and capsules are meant to be taken twice a day. Their effects take 1-2 hours to begin and may affect you for up to 12 hours, as well. The combination of full spectrum CBD and carrier ingredients may boost the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, all within a convenient and familiar format.
Pro Tip: Before trying any CBD products, determine your CBD tolerance. Not everyone can handle CBD, so make sure you know if your body can handle its effects. From there, you can figure out the best way to take CBD that’s optimal for your body. Also, look for a CBD product that you can easily incorporate into your current lifestyle to best suit your needs.
Finding What Works Best For You
The relationship between hemp-derived CBD and inflammation is significant, as its anti-inflammatory properties may help with relieving discomfort. The benefits of CBD oil, edibles, and topicals are plentiful—meaning you really can’t go wrong. However, with so many different products, it could still feel overwhelming to find the one with the best anti-inflammatory potential for you.
At Lazarus Naturals, we're committed to helping you find relief to feel your best. We have an ever-growing selection of high-potency, full spectrum CBD offerings crafted to support you at each stage of your wellness journey. Best of all, we proudly share all of our lab and potency results so you can rest assured that you're shopping CBD of the highest quality to support your endeavors to alleviate stress and inflammation. What are you waiting for?