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Our feet carry us through life, walking thousands of steps each day, but they often get forgotten when it comes to personal care. That is, until the pain sets in, and we find ourselves hobbling around in discomfort. Foot pain affects a considerable proportion of the population every year, and there are varying factors that can bring the onset of pain.
Sources of foot pain can range from bunions to ill-fitting shoes, to more severe conditions such as arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, and Achilles tendonitis. Regardless of the cause of pain, it has been found that many people choose over-the-counter relief to try and manage the problem themselves from home.
One increasingly popular remedy for foot health that more and more people are turning to is cannabidiol (CBD). There have been overwhelming anecdotal reports of CBD topical products working wonders for people trying to manage foot pain. This is excellent news for our aching soles, but how does CBD work?
The Basics of CBD
CBD (scientifically referred to as cannabidiol) is a natural compound found in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, the cannabis compound responsible for causing a 'high', CBD has no intoxicating effects. Instead, CBD has been found to have many potential benefits and has no severe reported side effects.
Some people are a little cautious of using products deriving from cannabis, as they are concerned it is illegal, and they will experience adverse effects. It is understandable why there are so many misperceptions where cannabis is concerned. Much of the confusion stems from the fact that cannabis, hemp, and marijuana often get jumbled together as if they are indistinguishable.
They are all terms for plants in the Cannabaceae family, but there are some significant differences between them:
- Cannabis – The word "cannabis" is a term used to refer to a group of flowering plants which are members of the Cannabeceae family. There are currently around 170 of these plant species, which are generally divided into three core groups:
In simple terms, "cannabis" is a broad classification containing both hemp plants and marijuana plants. So, regardless of their content and side effect disparities, both hemp and marijuana are cannabis plants.
- Hemp – A Hemp is a specific type of cannabis plant known as Cannabis Sativa. Even though hemp and marijuana are both in the same plant family, the hemp plant has vastly different characteristics compared to marijuana. Hemp has low THC levels but high concentrations of CBD, which is the opposite of marijuana.
- Marijuana – This is the intoxicating counterpart of hemp. While marijuana and hemp share a species, the plants are chemically different and legally distinct. The marijuana plant is illegal in most countries due to its containing high THC content. The THC compound itself has been legalised in many jurisdictions, but with some strict maximum threshold rules. For example, the European Union currently only allows cannabis products containing less than 0.2% THC content.
Historically, the word "marijuana" was used to distinguish between cannabis that is hemp and other cannabis strains that are not, depending on the THC levels. As the term "cannabis" scientifically refers to the entire genus of the flowering plants (which includes marijuana and hemp), it is not technically correct to exclude hemp when referring to "cannabis". However, the cannabis industry has implemented this methodology when new varieties of cannabis plants are bred, keeping the THC threshold in mind.
It may also seem peculiar that cannabis plants, which contain many cannabinoids (not just THC and CBD) along with other significant chemical compounds, would be divided simply by THC content. However, arbitrary this classification system may seem, the method has become the standard for the CBD industry. In many ways, it is quite practical, as those who take CBD don't typically wish to become intoxicated- their reasons tend to be more health and wellbeing-based.
So, what does CBD have to do with foot health? It has a little something to do with a fantastic anatomical discovery in the 1990s: the endocannabinoid system. Let's learn about how CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid system to have the potential to help support overall foot health and those with pains in their soles.
CBD Lotion and the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (also well-known as the ECS) is a network of receptors responsible for regulating vital bodily functions often associated with homeostasis, such as inflammatory response, sleep cycles, and stress levels. Hemp-derived CBD lotion interacts directly with receptors in our endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is not created when we use cannabis-derived products; it is a natural part of our bodies which we are born with. The system is so complex that scientists have not yet unearthed all of its functions; however, we are aware that it comprises three fundamental components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.
- Endocannabinoids – These are molecules that are produced naturally by the body as and when needed. Two main endocannabinoids have been discovered so far: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). It is thought that the two endocannabinoids aid in the smooth running of our internal functions.
- Endocannabinoid Receptors – These receptors are located all throughout the body. The endocannabinoid molecules bind directly to the endocannabinoid receptors. They do this in order to signal that the endocannabinoid system needs to complete a function. So far, two types of endocannabinoid receptors have been discovered: cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2).
- Enzymes – Once the endocannabinoids have carried out their job, the enzymes then break them down. The two primary enzymes responsible for this are FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) which breaks down anandamide (AEA), and MAGL (monoacylglycerol lipase), which breaks down 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
One of the tremendous potential benefits of CBD is that it does not directly activate cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) like THC is thought to. Although experts still have much research to do before they can understand the endocannabinoid system entirely, it has been confirmed that CBD does not bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This means CBD will not cause a "high" and comes with no typical adverse effects.
There are a few cannabis-orientated scientists who believe that CBD may work by stopping endocannabinoids from breaking down. In theory, this would enable the endocannabinoids to have a more powerful impact on the body. Other experts, however, believe CBD binds to a receptor that has not been discovered yet. Therefore, it is generally agreed that further studies are needed to back-up the anecdotal reports of CBD supporting overall wellbeing and foot health, but in the meantime, there is little risk in using CBD lotion for foot health.
CBD lotion's possible effects on the endocannabinoid system may have a full-body effect that many users have reported. It has helped them manage foot problems due to its potential pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory properties. CBD lotion also has the added benefit of purportedly providing temporary relief without the psychoactive properties associated with products containing THC. In fact, CBD products in the UK must have no more than 1mg or less THC content per container.
Although all high-quality CBD infused lotions have potential anti-inflammatory properties and may effectively impact various symptoms related to foot pain, choosing the best product for your foot ailment will give you the most effective results. However, before we take the first steps towards how to identify the best CBD lotions, let's get to grips with the nation's common foot problems.
CBD Lotion For Common Foot Problems
The list of conditions that can be classified as foot problems is extensive, but a few have been reported by a large fraction of the population at some point or another. Most of these widespread foot ailments result in pain and inflammation, which can make moving about on our feet very difficult. Here are seven of the most commonly reported foot issues and the suggested CBD lotion to provide a holistic approach to foot health:
- Achilles Tendinitis – This results from an injury of the Achilles tendon that connects the lower leg's calf muscles to your heel bone. It is an injury that is widespread among runners who overexert themselves during training sessions. Some people who run moderately but are in great shape may also experience tendinitis.
Achilles tendonitis-related pain is typically described as a dull ache in the calf or the back of the leg. On occasions, the pain can intensify if there is not enough time given for the injury to heal, or if the tendon tears. When a gentle massage with CBD cream is completed on the painful area, it may assist in reducing discomfort and inflammation. A CBD cream with capsaicin (which works as a warming agent) could be an effective supplement for this condition.
- Diabetic Neuropathy – Many of us are aware of just how damaging diabetes can be to our bodies, but are you aware it can also affect your feet? Diabetic neuropathy is a kind of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. Nerves can be badly damaged throughout the body due to high blood sugar (glucose) levels. That being said, this condition is found to primarily damage the nerves in one's feet and legs.
Diabetic neuropathy can bring about a range of severe foot problems, such as bone and joint pain, ulcers, infections, and even deformities. This painful condition is a severe complication triggered by diabetes. It is thought to affect almost 50 percent of people with the condition. Diabetic neuropathy generally develops gradually, and comprises four main types of this condition:
- Peripheral Neuropathy – First, the feet and legs are affected, leading onto the hands and arms.
- Autonomic Neuropathy – This condition affects the neural system controlling the heart, lungs, bladder, etc.
- Proximal Neuropathy – This is sometimes referred to as diabetic amyotrophy; this condition is more common in older adults and those living with type 2 diabetes.
- Mononeuropathy – This is an aggressive condition that can attack suddenly and severely. It involves damage to a specific nerve, resulting in foot pain, thigh pain, or pain in any other areas of the body.
In addition to those with diabetes, the risks of developing diabetic neuropathy are significantly increased for people who are substantially overweight, smoke, or who have kidney disease. When CBD lotion is used alongside recommended treatments, it may help with pain management, inflammation management, and neuroprotection of the foot. CBD lotions containing compounds with warming properties, such as capsaicin, may bring some relief when used in a supplementary role, alongside mainstream treatments for the condition.
- Gout – This well-known condition is a form of arthritis that occurs when there is a buildup of excess uric acid in the bloodstream. Eventually, uric acid crystals form in the joints, causing intense pain and swelling. Gout is especially prevalent around the big toe area.
Unfortunately, gout can be an inherited condition. However, some develop this painful form of arthritis due to high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, chemotherapy, and even stress. Limiting the consumption of particular foods and beverages can help reduce the risks of developing gout. For example, cutting out red meat, offal (organ meats), shellfish, red wine, and beer is a positive way to start.
If you suffer from gout, rubbing in some CBD lotion into the painful areas may supplement the discomfort in the feet and joints. CBD lotions containing lidocaine or capsaicin are great for supporting gout treatments.
- Degenerative Hallux Disorders – The big toe (known as hallux in medical terminology) is susceptible to multiple painful conditions, and not just getting stubbed. Some of the most common big toe ailments include traumatic conditions (sesamoiditis or turf toe), gout, bunions (hallux valgus), and degenerative arthritis (hallux rigidus).
Pain and inflammation management often calls for heat or cold compresses, change of diet, and (in some cases) surgery. When symptoms are moderate and easily managed, a high-quality CBD lotion may be able to provide some temporary effects alongside traditional treatments.
- Plantar Fasciitis – This condition is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is when the onset of heel pain occurs due to inflammation with a thick band of tissue that runs straight across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).
Plantar fasciitis mostly affects people with very flat feet or high arches. It can also affect people who spend too many hours on their feet without the appropriate supportive footwear. The inflammation in the foot is what causes the pain. Through massaging the painful area on the foot with CBD lotion, you may potentially find help in managing symptoms due to CBD's purported anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
- Neuroma – It is often referred to as a "pinched nerve" or "nerve tremor". A neuroma is a severe foot problem. It is a benign expansion of nerve tissue generally located between the third and fourth toes. It causes considerable pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness in the middle of the toes and in the ball of the foot. The most typical cause of neuroma is wearing poorly fitted shoes, such as high heels or shoes with a tapered toe box.
Luckily, a benign neuroma can usually be managed with padding, orthopaedic devices, or modifying your everyday activities, which put too much pressure on your feet. CBD lotion could be included in your pain management, inflammation management and protective routines.
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – If you have painfully swollen ankles and feet, it could be an indication of tarsal tunnel syndrome. This is the compression or squeezing of the posterior tibial nerve. These nerves run from the inside of the ankle right through into the foot.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is very akin to carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that affects the wrist. CBD lotion may have the potential to help support treatment for this painful condition, including symptoms of pain and inflammation.
Whether you have one of the common foot ailments listed above, generally have tired, aching feet, or are looking for an organic, natural way to support your foot health, CBD lotion could be an excellent option for you. If you are going to embrace the potentials of CBD, it is essential to understand that not all products are created equal. In the following sections of this article, we will go through what to look for in top quality CBD lotions.
How To Choose The Best CBD Lotions
The CBD industry currently lacks some much-needed regulations. The consumer is often left to conduct their own research to ensure the products bought are safe and made from high-quality CBD oil. A study completed in 2017 found that 79% of 84 CBD products tested were incorrectly labelled with the wrong CBD content.
There is no reason to fret, however- as long as you do your research. Here are some simple tips and things to look for to help get you on the right track to purchasing high-quality CBD lotions:
- Produced using organically grown hemp - Hemp plants are hyperaccumulators, which means they readily absorb everything from the soil they grow in, the good and the bad. The elements absorbed can be useful, such as vitamins and minerals, but some may be harmful, like toxic chemicals, lead, and other metals.
To be on the safe side, CBD oil should be sourced from farmland where the local government ensures their farmers are certified and have the land regularly tested for toxic substances. The extracted CBD oil itself should then be tested by an accredited third-party laboratory. The laboratory tests will ensure the extract going into the lotions does not contain any heavy metals, pesticides, solvent residue, bacteria, fungus, or any other foreign matter.
- The price isn't too good to be true – As tempting as it may be to grab what seems like a good deal, high-quality CBD oils are not cheap to make. This means if the price of a CBD lotion is very low, it may indicate the product contains CBD which has been made from substandard or contaminated raw materials, inadequate solvents, or it doesn't actually contain much, if any, actual CBD.
This does not mean you have to purchase the most expensive product on the market to be safe, but you should look for reasonably priced CBD products with favourable customer reviews. CBD enthusiasts are keen to share their CBD lotion experiences and will flag up a product they feel is damaging the industry's reputation.
- The product label displays the CBD content - Quality CBD oil made by a reputable company will clearly state how much CBD is in the product. The content will generally be listed on the product label, and if not, it will be on their website. Try to Identify the CBD concentration level, or the total number of milligrams in the container. Higher numbers usually signify a higher CBD potency.
- Third-party laboratory test results - Before buying any CBD products, you must check that the company has its products verified by a third-party testing laboratory. All reputable CBD companies make their test results public, as good results are something most reputable producers will be very proud of.
The confirmation of testing can be found on the bottle, the packaging it came in, on an insert, or published on their website. Read the results carefully, as they will state the levels of both CBD, THC, and a heavy metals analysis. If you can't find the information, it's best to look into an alternative CBD lotion.
- Contains less than 1mg THC – Lotions which are infused with CBD may contain trace amounts of THC, but usually only 0.2% or less. This is not nearly enough to get you high, especially when using a topical CBD product. However, sub-standard processing can result in increased levels of THC. This is not only a sign of low-quality CBD lotion, but it could also make the CBD product illegal. Always check the labels and laboratory test reports for exact figures before you make a CBD purchase.
There is a massive variety of CBD lotions to choose from, and selecting the most appropriate product for your feet will be down to your own individual taste and supplementary requirements. Whatever your reason for using CBD lotion, as long as you follow the above tips, you will be able to select a high-quality product. It is essential you know the CBD dosage and THC content contained in the product. The maximum volume legally permitted in the UK is 1mg THC per container.
It is vital we look after our feet, from our first day to our last. We have 52 bones in our bodies, and 25 percent of them are in our feet. The foot has 107 ligaments, 33 joints, 19 muscles, and multiple tendons, keeping everything together. With so many components, the foot is susceptible to a variety of injuries and ailments which are likely to cause pain and even immobility at some point in our lives.
CBD lotion has some great potential to benefit our overall foot health, even when we may be suffering from a painful and inflamed condition. If discomfort can't be alleviated by removing shoes and elevating aching soles, a CBD lotion massage may help. It is a genuinely natural holistic approach with no severe side effects.
Next time your feet feel sore or just a bit tired, why not apply some CBD lotion? As long as you conduct your research before buying cannabis-derived products, you will have a high-quality CBD lotion that could help you take a comfortable step.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD Oil.
Contributor | Angus Taylor CEO
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.