The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says chronic pain is a problem for more individuals in the United States than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer added together.
The NIH adds that chronic pain — or pain that is experienced for 24 hours or more — is the number one reason for long-term disability nationwide.
Though available pain remedies include taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, engaging in physical therapy, and — in severe cases — undergoing surgery, some patients have found relief with all-natural herbal options instead.
Natural emollients such as beeswax, jojoba seed oil, cottonseed oil and shea butter are good for moisturizing and softening skin, but are also effective as carriers for pain-relieving ingredients in topical creams.
“They’re natural oils, so they work well with your skin and are absorbed quickly,” said Perry Antelman, CEO of Abacus Health Products, the parent company of CBD CLINIC, a maker of over-the-counter pain-relieving ointments, creams and massage oils.
Many over-the-counter topical pain-relieving creams and ointments use synthetic carriers that include ingredients such as benzyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, diglycol stearate, glyceryl monostearate and petrolatum, said Antelman.
These are inexpensive ingredients that don’t play as nice with a person’s skin, said Antelman. Natural oils, because they’re absorbed quickly, leave skin feeling soft and smooth.
But the most important benefit of using natural oils as a carrier is what the person can’t feel: pain.
When essential oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, clove, peppermint and hemp are combined with common analgesics such as menthol and camphor, the pain relief felt is often enhanced, said Antelman, because essential oils such as these are believed to have complementary components of their own.
Let’s take a closer look at natural oils and emollients:
- Beeswax is used in many skin care products because it provides a protection against irritants while still allowing the skin to breathe. It also offers anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral benefits making it helpful in treating skin irritation
- Jojoba oil, although called an oil, it’s actually a liquid plant wax and has been used in folk medicine for a number of ailments. Native Americans use jojoba oil for treating sores and bruises.
- Menthol is a substance naturally found in mint plants such as peppermint and spearmint. It gives a cooling sensation. It is often used to relieve minor pain and irritation.
- People use camphor topically to relieve pain and reduce itching. Camphor is used topically to increase local blood flow and as a “counterirritant.
- Eucalyptus has antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it is used for a wide variety of conditions. Often, it is used to manage pain and inflammation and has also been used to treat wounds and burns.
- Tea tree oil has antifungal and antiseptic properties and has been used topically to treat cuts and abrasions and calm allergic skin reactions.
- Clove is believed to be able to decrease pain and fight infections. All parts of the clove plant have been used for centuries to make medicines.
- Peppermint oil has been used topically to ease tension headaches and soothe dry and cracked skin.
- Hemp oil use seems practically endless, and research is ongoing to determine what it can be used to treat and its efficacy. It has been used to reduce pain, anxiety and nausea, aid with sleep and boost the immune system, among many other health claims. Hemp seed oil in particular contains a beneficial ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 essential fatty acids, which are vital for healthy skin.
CBD Revolutionary Pain Relief topical creams, lotions and massage oils use all the essential oils mentioned above, including hemp, but the products do not contain THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, so anyone using the products cannot get high from them, said Antelman.
Usage of the products also will not cause users to fail a THC blood test, said Antelman, because CBD topicals work locally. They interact with the peripheral nervous system to provide pain relief but do not enter the bloodstream.
Natural emollients such as beeswax, jojoba seed oil, cottonseed oil and shea butter, which many CBD creams use in their topicals, help deliver menthol, camphor and essential oils to a client’s painful joints or muscles. This is because the natural oils penetrate into the skin deeply, and quickly, which in turn supports effective pain relief, said Antelman.
That results in speedy and reliable relief from pain. Who doesn’t want that?