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  • August 23, 2022 5 min read


    Are you experiencing sore and painful muscles after a workout? Have you used synthetic medications, but the pain persists?  CBD cream has been approved to be an effective pain reliever that reduces inflammation and muscle pain.

    More people are turning to CBD topicals such as creams or using them in addition to other medications to treat specific areas of the body experiencing pain. Anecdotal evidence suggests that if you consume CBD oil for a sore muscle, you'll experience general pain relief in your entire body, although the muscle pain may not disappear. On the contrary, if you apply CBD cream to your sore muscle, CBD alleviates pain alleviates on that localized area. Therefore, does CBD work for sore muscles? Extensive research has been brought forward. Let's discuss.

    What is CBD?

    CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant comprises hemp and marijuana. CBD is mainly extracted from industrial hemp since hemp has traces of THC ( tetra cannabidiol ). THC is the other most abundant chemical component in marijuana that has psychoactive properties and causes a’’ high’’. According to  Crippa et al.(2018), CBD can treat sleep disorders, but it is mainly used as a pain-relieving cream. Most people have used CBD to treat chronic pain, and question CBD as a post work out relief to help muscles recover and reduce soreness. Jackson & Schwinn (2020) suggested that CBD could help replace hot or cold creams and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. There is a wide variety of CBD products to select from, such as oral and topical, and the type one picks all the difference for your aches and pains.

    How A CBD Cream May Work for Muscle Pain and Soreness?

    CBD creams are ointments infused with        CBD, and manufacturers state that CBD can offer relief against muscle soreness.  CBD is not the same as THC, does not have intoxicating effects, and won't get you high, making it preferred by most users. Sunda & Arowolo (2020)  showed that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is said to cause several muscle problems, including muscle soreness. Therefore, applying cream rich in CBD to an aching joint can help boost recovery and optimize workouts.

    Furthermore, the study above argues that CBD relaxes your muscles, allowing you to have a more efficient workout, and thus can be used for muscle relaxation and any joint pain. However, note that there isn't enough research on this area; consumers suggest that CBD offers a soothing effect, and pain recurs.

    CBD creams' final formulations also contain herbs or other skin penetrating ingredients such as menthol to enhance the effectiveness of the creams. Additionally, the CBD concentration is often low in the CBD creams, and the soothing sensation you experience may be a product of other ingredients. As a result, it's critical to review the ingredient list and the Certificate of Analysis (CoA), which shows different cannabinoid concentrations in a product. CoA shows the weight percentage of CBD and other cannabinoids, including THC, so that you can interpret the amount of CBD per serving of topical application. Furthermore, ensure that an independent, third-party lab does the CoA.

    Therefore, high-quality, potent topical CBD creams are said to alleviate muscle pain and soreness temporarily. Due to a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the skin, when CBD cream is applied topically, it activates the endocannabinoid through those receptors. Baswan et al. (2020) noted that CBD binds to the cannabinoid receptors in your epidermal and dermal skin resulting in pain and inflammation alleviation. Also, according to the study, the anti-inflammatory effect is why CBD is an effective treatment for some skin disorders such as acne.

    Additionally, CBD creams work on the specific area applied, in other words, in a localized area. For example, applying CBD cream to your legs when your back is sore won't help you. Also, it’s important to identify the exact source of your pain before applying your CBD cream pain manifests in one place, but the problem may be located elsewhere. For instance, if you have a headache, it may be because your neck is tight, but you'll not get the relief when you apply the cream to your lower back. Therefore, identifying the source of your pain helps the CBD cream effectively alleviate the symptoms. If you're unsure about the source of your pain, begin by applying your cream to trigger points such as the neck, knees, elbows, wrists, and the soles of your feet. Follow the following steps:

    Prepare the Area Where You Are To Apply the Cream

    The aim of applying a CBD cream on your skin is so that the cannabinoids may soak through into your muscles, loosen them up and relieve the pain. However, if there's dirt and dead cells on the surface of your skin, they'll inhibit the CBD molecules and prevent them from getting to the source of the pain and muscle tightness. As a result, you can ensure that all the cannabinoids reach their target area by cleaning the area before applying the cream. Preparing the skin removes dirt, opens pores, and ensures that the CBD cream has perceptible effects.

    Massage the Cream into Your Skin Several Times

    It is advised to rub the cream vigorously to create heat. It helps to push the cream into the lower layers of your skin. Subsequently, gently massage the skin and muscles to bring blood to the area. The blood, in turn, helps to spread the cannabinoids deeper into the muscles and tissues and over a wider area.  It is important to use enough CBD cream for it to be effective. Be careful, read the directions on the product and employ the recommended amount; multiple applications may be necessary if the pain is intense.

    Clean Your Hands

    After applying the cream, ensure you wash your hands properly.  Most CBD-based topicals contain menthol, camphor, mint, and citrus ingredients. These ingredients are considered harmful when in contact with soft tissues such as the eyes, mouth, and nose. Therefore, escape unwanted irritation by cleaning your hands after applying your CBD cream.


    CBD creams are an effective way to alleviate muscle pains and inflammation. Unlike other synthetic pain relievers (NSAIDS) that may lead to addiction after prolonged use, CBD creams are made from natural extracts and are hence safe to use. However, it is important to note that CBD creams are not an alternative to a doctor’s prescription. In intense pain, CBD cream may not make the pain disappear immediately. CBD creams make the symptoms more manageable and are not a cure to the underlying problem. Seek medical advice before using CBD cream for pain, especially if you're on other medications.



    Baswan, S. M., Klosner, A. E., Glynn, K., Rajgopal, A., Malik, K., Yim, S., & Stern, N. (2020). Therapeutic potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) For Skin Health And Disorders. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 13, 927.

    Crippa, J. A., Guimarães, F. S., Campos, A. C., & Zuardi, A. W. (2018). Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age. Frontiers in Immunology, 9, 2009.

    Jackson, L. M., Schwinn, D. A., & National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2020). A Review of the Safety and Effectiveness of Select Ingredients in Compounded Topical Pain Creams. Compounded Topical Pain Creams: Review of Select Ingredients for Safety, Effectiveness, and Use.

    Sunda, F., & Arowolo, A. (2020). A Molecular Basis for the Anti‐inflammatory and Anti‐fibrosis properties of Cannabidiol. The FASEB Journal, 34(11), 14083-14092.