If you’re over 50 and you work out (and even if you’re not, and you don’t) you're going to be acquainted with pain. It might be diagnosed as arthritis, or you might recognize it as the normal progression of aging. Or you might just wake up one day and go, “Shit. That hurts.”
For me, the pain is occasionally in my knees, and that's no surprise, as I’ve been running since… uh, the Carter Administration. Yeah, Running on Empty was a new song back then. Anyway, it has served me well, and I’m still committed to running every other day or so. But there are times when my knees feel persistently creaky, like they could use a squirt of WD 40. Aches and pain creep in when I’ve increased my mileage a bit, or my shoes are getting worn. Or when there’s a change of weather. And on those days when the decades of wear and tear just catch up with me.
Arthritis or not, you don’t want to be hurting
There are other pains too, of course. Recently in my quest to stay somewhat fit, I was experimenting with the Turkish get-up. This involves lying flat on the ground, holding a kettlebell straight over you, then sort of rolling up to one knee, and eventually standing straight up while you hold that kettlebell high above your head. I watched a few YouTube videos on how to do it, then tried it several times at the gym. How tough can it be, right?
The 10-pound kettlebell seemed safe. But I bent my wrist the wrong way, and that resulted in a forearm strain that bedeviled me for months. I took naproxen, iced the forearm, stretched it, contorted into a position where I could foam-roller it, and tried, daily for three or four months, to get it to heal. Nothing doing. It occurred to me that I might have contracted the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome — not unheard of for a writer. Or I might be getting old. Nah, couldn’t be that. Anyway, last week I finally rubbed a pea-sized blob of CBD hemp balm into my forearm.
Amazingly, the pain disappeared. Coincidence? Could be. So I considered my achy right knee. It was actually waking me up in the middle of the night sometimes. So I rubbed another pea-sized blob of CBD hemp oil into the problem knee. And I slept better that night. It did not kill the pain completely, but almost. It went from feeling like a red-hot poker in my joint to the mild awareness of some minor impingement.
CBD hemp balm for aches and pains
This morning, my wife was getting ready to go to the gym, She mentioned an odd pain in her ankle. Seeing an opportunity to reduce her suffering, I suggested a pea-sized blob of CBD hemp balm. I even rubbed it in to her quite-lovely ankle. Then I went off to work, she went off to the gym, and we didn’t speak until dinner time.
It was like one of those cheesy commercials.
Me: “How did that CBD work on your ankle?”
Her: “Oh my God! It was amazing! I was worried I might not be able to do the class, and I went through two classes, and it didn't hurt at all!” (When something works, my wife is enthusiastic.)
Me, having scored points: “I could use a back rub.”
Her: “Yeah, so could I.”
No back rub yet, but hey, a guy can dream. So we are working Elixinol Hemp Balm into our pain-relief regimen. It comes in a 4 oz tube, and is ointment-like, and absorbs quickly when you rub it in. I’ve been using on my knee and it feels a lot better. Pain-free actually. It doesn't take a lot, and the 4 oz tube seems like it will go a long way. But I'll definitely be getting more of it.
Is there evidence that topical CBD can help relieve arthritis pain?
Is there science behind this, or is it some placebo effect at work? Research on cannabis is ongoing and in many cases inconclusive, but there’s this from the European Journal of Neuroscience:
Increasing evidence from preclinical studies supports the interest of the endocannabinoid system as an emerging therapeutic target for osteoarthritis pain. Indeed, pharmacological studies have shown the anti-nociceptive effects of cannabinoids in different rodent models of osteoarthritis, and compelling evidence suggests an active participation of the endocannabinoid system in the pathophysiology of this disease.
We can wait for the clinical studies that prove tiny amounts of CBD help rats keep their little treadmills spinning. In the meantime, I’m using Elixinol Hemp Balm, as it seems to work for me. I'm also on the hunt for other CBD topicals that work — if you've found one, please let me know!