CBD Massage Treatments :Worth the hype?
CBD Massage Treatments: Worth the Hype?
As medical CBD oil moves toward legalization in every state (with only Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota holding out with the ban on all cannabis products), the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in health and wellness treatments cropped up almost as fast as legalization itself. CBD is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant with various documented therapeutic attributes reaching as far back as 2900 B.C.; however, widespread interest in CBD as a viable natural health benefit has only just recently become mainstream. With the acclaimed health benefits of CBD oils being added into facials, massages, and body scrubs across the country, one begins to wonder what the benefits are, and more specifically, how the average spa-goer can distinguish the good stuff from the gimmicks.
Is CBD A Drug?
The first question on everyone's mind when they are encountered with CBD offerings at their wellness retreats is "Am I being offered drugs?" As marijuana is widely considered to be a drug, the question of whether products derived from the Cannabis sativa plant also count as illicit recreational substances ultimately comes to pass. But rest assured, CBD has been scientifically proven to be both safe and responsible in its approach to health benefits.
There are two main cannabinoids that naturally occur in cannabis: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. Although similar in chemical composition, THC contains a psychoactive component--meaning it gets the user "high"--while CBD lacks this intoxicative ingredient. This is how various spas and destination hotels can pamper and feed you with CBD-infused goodies without worrying about being implicated in any questionable effects to your cognitive abilities.
THC does have a place in the health and wellness community. It has been determined to have positive effects on several medical issues including chronic pain, inflammation, digestive health, multiple sclerosis, and side effects due to chemotherapy. However, medical use of THC should only be determined and prescribed under the care of a licensed physician.
The Difference Between Hemp and CBD
This is one of the main considerations in determining if a CBD product is functional or merely a placebo. The terms "hemp" and "CBD" are often used interchangeably, but their relationship depends on whether hemp oil or hemp seed oil is being discussed. Hemp is a variety of the marijuana plant that is bred of have extremely low levels of THC (0.3% or less) and high levels of CBD. Hemp oil and CBD oil are the same thing, so be confident that a product is genuine if "hemp oil" appears on the list of ingredients.
Hemp seed oil is a cold-pressed extract from seeds and is often used as a carrier oil, similar to how jojoba, almond, grapeseed, and other oils are used. Since applying undiluted chemicals to the skin can lead to burning, irritation, or other undesirable reactions, hemp seed oil is useful for diluting essential oils or other absolutes prior to topical application. However, hemp seed oil does not have the same properties, benefits, and effects of hemp/CBD oil. Do not be confused by dietary supplements and personal care products listing Cannabis sativa seed oil (hemp seed oil) on the package--they contain no CBD.
Health Benefits of CBD Oil
Although the research on the clinical effects of CBD is ongoing, it has already proving to have substantial medical applications. Specific receptors in the brain and nervous system, the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors, have been shown to be sensitive to and almost made for the positive effects of cannabinoids. Most notably, these effects include:
Numerous studies have been done about CBD's strong analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. Although over-the-counter medication has been the population's first response to chronic pain for years, the benefit of this natural alternative is that it works without the introduction of adverse side effects. Research by the European Journal of Pain showed a positive relationship between CBD applied on the skin and arthritic pain, and the Journal of Experimental Medicine likewise found cannabinoids useful in suppressing neuropathic pain.
Combined with the well-documented effects of therapeutic massage treatment, CBD-infused massage oils can penetrate deeply into warmed tissues to ease muscular tension and relieve pain. Now that's what we call wellness.
Chronic inflammation can contribute to everything from acne to heart disease, but research from the Future Medicinal Chemical Journal suggests that CBD helps to inhibit inflammation by binding to certain receptors in the immune system that affect inflammation and pain. But don't merely think in terms of chronic arthritis relief--together with high antioxidant properties and omega-3 fatty acids, CBD oil can be extremely beneficial if added to your next spa facial.
CBD's calming effects have long been documented, but there is growing interest in using it as a natural remedy for several anxiety-related disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress. According to the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, CBD has "broad therapeutic properties across a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, stemming from diverse central nervous system actions" and interacts with several receptors in the brain known to regulate a variety of anxiety-related behaviors. This anxiety-soothing effect can directly promote better sleep, and is thus equally effective in managing insomnia.
Do CBD Topical Products Work?
Most people can see how consuming CBD in foods, candies and teas can have an effect, but does rubbing it on your skin do anything? The epidermis is meant to be a barrier, after all, so do topicals get anywhere near the bloodstream to be absorbed?
According to Hugh Huffaker, owner of all-natural CBD-infused skincare line Cause + Medic, the answer is yes... as long as it's water-soluble.
"My mom suffers from multiple sclerosis and was having horrible spasticity in her legs. I bought her some CBD creams and they didn't do anything," writes Huffaker. "However, when I bought her some CBD oil to ingest, she actually saw results. I got curious why the topical didn't work and a few months later we had some data showing that CBD in itself is not very soluble by the skin. The skin and bloodstream will only absorb around 5-15% of the CBD, the rest just puddles on the skin and is wasted. We figured out how to shrink the CBD into nanoparticles that were less than 5 nanometers so that the CBD would actually be absorbed into the bloodstream. After testing the new CBD, it was shown that 90-95% of it was absorbed into the blood stream and made it to the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors."
CBD is indisputably effective in managing stubborn aches, pains, inflammation, and stress, and once you know what to look for, can be quite beneficial when added to your wellness regimen. Being an old remedy on a new frontier, however, means that research is ongoing on conclusive effects of CBD across the board. Although largely safe (even for children) and side effect-free, it is recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding women avoid using CBD products, and people with Parkinson's Disease should consult a physician before consuming CBD supplements.