CBD companies are coming out with new products that blur the line between cannabis and pharmaceuticals. I tried two “high strength” roll-on products that are marketed to relieve muscle and joint pain. Both helped relieve the tendonitis pain in my hands that wakes me up at night. Both contain CBD along with ingredients like lidocaine (in the cbdMD product); and menthol, cayenne extract, and capsaicin (in the Green Roads product). These are ingredients available in other OTC products meant to treat joint pain. The U.S. FDA (as of 12/20) has not finalized their rules about CBD.
Green Roads and cbdMD are using slightly different approaches for their products.
Green Roads uses terms like “heat relief” for their CBD Muscle and Joint roll-on. They also have the disclaimer that “this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” Their “mighty” strength roll-on has 750mg of broad spectrum CBD in a 3 oz. roll-on.
CbdMD takes a different approach. They have a “Drug Facts” panel that lists Lidocaine HCL 4% as the lone active ingredient. They add a whopping 3000 mg of broad spectrum CBD to their 2.5 oz. roll-on. Because 4% lidocaine is FDA approved for topical pain relief they are free to label their product “for temporary relief of pain.”
I found some obvious differences between the two products. The Green Roads roll-on smelled like menthol and my hands tingled a bit after using it. This actually felt good, and it gives the immediate sense that something is working. Products like Icy Hot and Ben Gay work this way – as a “counter irritant” that tricks the brain into not feeling the pain. Capsaicin sometimes feels hot to the touch too, but it also blocks pain transmission from the periphery to the central nervous system. I don’t think there is actually much capsaicin in the green roads product, as it is the very last ingredient listed.
The cbdMD product soaks into the skin quickly, like the other roll-on. There is no fragrance, no tingle, no immediate sensation at all. I just noticed some pain relief after a few minutes. This product takes longer to work, but it seems to relieve pain longer. I never woke up needing a second dose with this product. I don’t know if it’s the lidocaine or the super-strength of CBD that contributes to the longer pain relief.
I’d give a slight edge to the cbdMD roll-on. I like the initial sensation from the Green Roads roll-on and I would be happy continuing to use it. The cbdMD roll-on gave me longer-lasting relief.
We’re getting pretty far from the plant with these products, but I imagine they will be accepted by consumers who may shy away from other cannabis products. If you want to make your own CBD topical try our salve recipe. The menthol makes it more like the Green Roads product.