I have a confession to make…I’ve been dealing with chronic low back pain for about the last 6 months. It’s not a mystery to me - as a bodyworker for the last 17 years I’ve helped plenty of clients work through their sciatic pain, and as a mom of two very large boys (both of whom still climb all over me and insist on being my personal koalas) I get why the pain hadn’t gone away. But what snuck up on me was the way this pain was steering me towards a less active lifestyle. Slowly but surely, I was sitting more, moving less and getting frustrated at times with my clingy cuddle-buddies. I noticed myself fatiguing more quickly, my muscle tone diminishing, and a few extra pounds when I’d step on the scale. Let’s be real: pain stinks. And the way it can insidiously lead to making compromises with how we live our lives stinks even more. When faced with pain we must be proactive, or we’ll be forced to be reactive in our daily lives. I have an incredible care team in Dr. Kevin Clark and Dr. Maddie Brooks and am glad to say I’m back in motion and well on my way to feeling like me again. I also have to throw some love in a direction I’d never have anticipated 5 years ago…
CBD has definitely become a buzzword in the holistic healthcare world, and it's made its way into oils, gummies, brownies, and even lattes. For those that are new to the scene, let’s pause for a moment to clear up what CBD is (and what it isn’t).
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the Cannabis sativa plant (sourced mainly from hemp/marijuana). It's a natural substance that's used in products to create relaxation. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, CBD is not psychoactive, and won’t create an ‘altered state’ for the majority of people. The most commonplace CBD products have traditionally been edible, which certainly can deliver potent results. But a less traditional delivery may prove to be as potent or even more…through the skin.
The skin is our body’s largest sensory organ, is the source and target of several hormones, has its own immune system, and has a remarkable ability to absorb nutrients. That’s not all: back in 1990 a body-wide system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered, affecting many aspects of our health as well as our sensations of pleasure and pain. An extremely high concentration of cannabinoid receptors are actually found in our skin, and the skin’s ‘cannabinoid tone’ can inhibit the development and spread of pain and inflammation.
Are you with me so far?
CBD works by activating the ECS, binding to cell receptors in muscle tissue, skin and nerves. This, in turn, can alleviate both pain and inflammation. So a topical CBD might just be the perfect antidote to stressed-out skin, muscles, joints, and nerves. With powerful anti-inflammatory properties, topical CBD does more than just mask suffering; it can actually turn down the production of inflammatory markers and dispel pain for a period of time. I find the science fascinating, but after hearing so many testimonies (migraines gone, knee pain is gone, sport-and-exercise-related pain gone, rotator cuff injury pain gone), I had to try it myself. And you know what? I’m a believer.
My personal favorite CBD product is the XS CBD Pro Cream. It creates a hot sensation on the skin, has 400 mg of full-spectrum CBD (full spectrum may provide even more benefits since additional cannabis compounds can create the ‘entourage effect’, a synergy of therapeutics more powerful than just CBD alone). But for those that like to play it cool, XS CBD Cool Spray and XS CBD Cream use a blend of arnica, menthol, and aloe vera to ice and soothe the skin.
P.S. - Another benefit to topical CBD application? Beauty. Unhealthy cannabinoid tone also contributes to acne, dry skin, inflammation, rosacea, and eczema. CBD’s anti-inflammatory, powerful antioxidant, and ultra-moisturizing properties may make it the perfect pairing for stressed-out skin! Artistry Studio Zen Daze Ahead blends lavender and cucumber extract to calm with grapeseed extract to energize, creating a nourishing oil that balances and hydrates for happy skin all day long!
CBD ya later! ;)