CBD Creams for Pain: How to Spot Quality
CBD topicals (creams, salves, skin care, and beauty products) are popping up all over the place. A multitude of products from top names like Sephora down to a myriad of brand new upstarts are showing up on the shelves of high-end beauty salons, health food stores, and even the corner drugstore. (Okay, it’s a big box store now, but it is still on the corner!)
And, bargain hunters can find great deals at hundreds of online retailers. We have used and recommend products from MadeByHemp. But PureRelief has some attractive starter bundles and AvidHemp offers some unusual flavors (Creme Brulee, anyone?) and formulations, like CBD gummy bears.
When it comes to CBD cream for pain, there are some great offerings to be found online. However, there is a rub (pun intended): Some products are better than others. If you are expecting CBD pain cream relief you can count on and a great bargain, then you may have to do a little homework. Before you buy, make sure you are looking at these quality indicators to make sure you are getting your money’s worth:
The first place to look for quality is the label. Let’s get a little more specific:
Hemp Seed Oil is not CBD!
The first thing to look for on the label is to make sure the product ingredients list hemp oil, CBD oil, or cannabidiol as an ingredient. Note that this list does not contain Hemp Seed Oil – a different thing altogether. And, it’s a common scam.
Due to some concerns about shifting laws at the federal level, as well as curious rules at certain online retailer sites, a “get around” for some manufacturers is to market products made from hemp seeds, which are not as closely regulated. These products often contain little to no CBD either. Avoid them.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck in a CBD pain topical, then a higher concentration of CBD is what you’re after. After all, you use less; it lasts longer. More relief, less money.
Any product you are considering buying should clearly state the amount of CBD (usually listed in milligrams) to the amount of product (usually listed in ounces). To give you a sense for scale, 50mg/oz is near the low end, and 500mg/oz is pushing the limits on the high end.
If you have some math skills, you can go one step further to get the real bargain hunter index: Cost per mg of CBD. Just take the total cost and divide by the total mg of CBD in the jar, and now you have something to compare across brands to find the best deal.
Finally, take a peek at the other ingredients. One sign of high-end quality is the use of natural (and where possible, organic) ingredients that are also known to aid with pain relief, soreness, and inflammation. Quality CBD companies will choose their additional ingredients with intention even if though it costs a little more.
Here are a few excellent ingredients that are also reported to help with pain relief to look for:
- Willow Bark
- St. John’s Wart
- Valerian Root
If you decide to buy CBD Cream for pain online, you need to do a little homework on the company you are buying from. Trusted review sites such as CBD Oil Geek will do the work for you, or you can do a little digging on your own. Our choice for CBD Oil products is MadeByHemp, a family business in Michigan. Here’s what to look for:
Third Party Labs
If you are going to buy CBD pain topicals online, it is a MUST to see the third party labs first. As the FDA recently noted, there are too many CBD products on the market that are mislabeled, some of which don’t contain a drop of cannabidiol.
Responsible manufacturers have responded by including third-party batch testing right on their website for customers to review before buying. These results usually show pesticides, residues from extraction, and a cannabinoid profile (for full spectrum products).
In addition to the testing for the raw oil they use, be sure to verify the concentration for the specific product, usually a separate lab test found on the product page.
Full Spectrum Verses Isolates
There are two main categories of CBD products on the market. “Full Spectrum” refers to extractions that keep intact all of the delicate cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp strain used for the source.
There is research to back the claim that the so-called “Entourage Effect” gives full spectrum products more power. According to this theory, even trace amounts of additional compounds enhance the pain relieving and other healing properties of hemp oil.
On the other hand, you will find products that are made from CBD that has been chemically isolated before being added to the cream. These products tend to be cheaper (particularly when compared at a cost/mg level). Why?
Well for one thing, when you chemically isolate CBD from the hemp plant, it really doesn’t matter the quality of the source – it won’t have any residues or contaminants left in it. In addition, the methods for chemical isolation are cheaper, faster, and easier to scale.
For some, CBD isolate pain creams are just as effective, so the cost savings is worth it. For others, only full spectrum oils provide reliable relief. This may take a little trial and error to see what works best for you.
Sourcing is a matter of quality, particularly for full spectrum products. And, for some, it is a matter of politics. Domestic CBD growers and manufacturers are getting increasingly easy to find – and supporting those companies means investing in the domestic cannabis economy. That’s a win!
Domestically sourced hemp can be pricier than that source from say, China. And, the cost is usually passed on to some extent.
All that being said, the choice is yours. However, you should at least expect the manufacturer to be transparent about where they source their hemp. Otherwise, it’s a sign they are not quality focused and that is a culture issue that is likely to make its way into the final product – your CBD pain cream.
This post is courtesy of our friend William Horton, the founder and editor of CBDOilGeek.com. He is a big advocate of cbd oil as a natural and safe alternative to traditional medicine. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and likes to spend weekends hiking and eating.