CBD Instead of Aspirin?
What to Know About CBD for Pain Relief
By Carrie Law
For many people, the first time they heard about CBD was when reading a style blog or watching a red-carpet show and hearing a celebrity talk about . . . foot pain. Not the most glamorous type of pain, but if your feet are stuck in awkward heels at an awards show and you know you can’t take them off—there are cameras—it’s a pain that’s hard to ignore.
“This year I’m trying some CBD oil on my feet, which my stylist recommended,” Mandy Moore told Coveteur while getting ready for the 2018 Golden Globes. “I asked her if there was some kind of numbing cream,” Moore explained, but her stylist directed her to CBD oil instead. “So it could be a really exciting evening! I could be floating this year.”
Stylists working with Olivia Wilde, Katy Perry, and other famous clients also say they’ve recommended the cannabis-derived oil to help stars get through the night. “I feel like it hasn’t really hit the East Coast yet. In L.A., it’s such a part of the culture,” Daniel Martin, a makeup artist of Meghan Markle’s, said of CBD when speaking with The Hollywood Reporter. A “huge proponent for CBD,” Martin uses oils laced with CBD to “add a bit of radiance” to the face, but he didn’t forget the feet: “You actually feel the immediacy of what it does,” he added, citing CBD-infused foot creams. (One rule of thumb is to rub CBD cream into feet, ankles, and calves 30 minutes before wearing heels.)
Using CBD for Chronic Pain
While stylists gush about the benefits of CBD for awards-night pre-gaming, natural-medicine devotees are turning to CBD for much more than just temporary pain. A natural, non-intoxicating substance that’s extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD is a major wellness trend that’s exploding in popularity for treating some of the most common health concerns: insomnia, inflammation, anxiety, and chronic pain. When it comes to CBD’s use as a pain reliever, early studies have suggested a scientific basis for CBD’s popularity, but for the most part, evidence is anecdotal.
Isabel Vigil, The Red Door’s National Director of Retail, told us her own story. To quell debilitating period pain and cramps, which had been getting worse lately, she told us, “I had to take Ibuprofen like crazy—all day long. ‘This can’t be good for me,’” she recalled thinking. As an experiment to find a replacement for pain pills, she started taking CBD in tincture form. (CBD tincture is a flavorless liquid that can be applied in droplets under the tongue for quick absorption.) “I started taking CBD on a regular basis, daily, and the week before my period started, I doubled up my dosage,” Vigil said. She felt the effects during her first cycle. “Literally, the first couple months, I still had to take an Ibuprofen or two the first day of my period, but I didn’t have those just crazy, debilitating cramps,” she said. To verify the effects of CBD, Vigil then did a mini controlled experiment on herself. “I was like, ‘Let’s do a test,’” Vigil told us. “I didn’t do my load-up on CBD before [my period], and it was right back to being super painful.”
In addition to using the tincture, Vigil said, “during my cramps, I use CBD salve and put it on my stomach with a heating pad, and it totally helps. And I sleep great, and I’m not anxious—amazing!” she said with a chuckle, referring to the other health benefits that CBD is often credited with. She added that another big effect CBD had on her cycle was clearing up hormone-related acne, which had escalated along with the pain.
How Much CBD Should You Take for Pain?
The short, easy answer is: Start off by taking a small amount of CBD and increase your dosage until you see effects (if you do; CBD may not work for everyone, so pay attention to see if your body responds to it).
CBD is a substance that can be ingested in all kinds of ways: through the skin (via oils, creams, lip balms, bath balms, etc.), mixed into food or drinks and consumed that way, applied as a tincture, or smoked in e-cigarettes—or the old-fashioned rolled kind. And that leads us to our long answer. The reason there aren’t clear recommendations for taking CBD for pain is because it hasn’t been fully studied as a pain treatment. Even though CBD itself isn’t psychoactive—it doesn’t get you high—as a component of the cannabis plant, it’s been entangled with narcotics laws for years, which has prevented researchers from studying the substance as they might have otherwise. (Read more about the head-scratching, but fascinating, drama surrounding CBD here.)
In recent years, as laws related to CBD have loosened, medical research into CBD has surged. At the writing of this post, there are more than 150 active medical studies of CBD, looking at its potential for treating everything from PTSD to Parkinson’s to cancer, as well as chronic pain. Last year, CBD got its first official stamp of approval when the FDA classified it as a drug to treat two rare forms of epilepsy.
“CBD is the most promising drug that has come out for neuropsychiatric diseases in the last 50 years,” a CBD researcher, Esther Blessing, told The New York Times last year. “The reason it is so promising is that it has a unique combination of safety and effectiveness across [a] very broad range of conditions.” But Blessing added a major caveat: “Most of the products where people are putting CBD in coffee or food, there’s no solid evidence that they contain enough CBD to do anything.”
So what does this mean for you? Before solid research comes back on the efficacy and dosage of CBD, if you want to try CBD, you can do what Isabel Vigil did: start with a low amount, and experiment with CBD on your own terms to see how it affects you—personally.
The CBD enhancement is $10 for nail services and $55 for a massage. You can also purchase organic CBD products right off the shelf. Chosen by The Red Door for its quality and consistent dosing of CBD, Color Up Therapeutics CBD Collection includes a body lotion ($45), arnica-infused salve ($10 and $40), bath balm ($9), lip balm ($12), tincture ($70), and travel kit, which contains a small body lotion, tincture, and salve, as well as CBD massage oil ($20 for the kit).
Products containing CBD should not be used directly on cuts, lesions, or open wounds. The Red Door does not offer CBD services for our pregnant guests. We do not offer CBD services or retail to minors under 18. The Red Door does not assume any responsibility for the improper use of CBD. If you have any concerns about the safety of CBD or conflicts with medicine you may be taking, ask your doctor prior to your spa visit.