In the realm of topicals, one getting broad thumbs-ups.
For someone who has lived the life that I have "lived," I'm amazed to the degree that it's a pain-free existence. (Physical pain only—you don't want to know about the rest.)
As such, this doesn't make me a great candidate for using, and reporting on, topical pain relievers. And while I have considered imparting tremendous bodily harm upon myself, so as to be a better subject, it's not necessary. Sadly, that's because I have a number of Oregon Medical Marijuana Program patients who are in near constant pain from myriad of ailments—chronic to terminal.
The upside: I sometimes get to share free product samples with these patients, which helps me get a sense of what works for which condition and provides the producer some valuable feedback. That's how I found Nightingale Remedies.
Nightingale's Owner/CEO Patrick Brennan had worked in the Oregon cannabis industry going back to a different era, in the pre-Measure 91 "Medical MJ Program only" days. He used cannabis to treat a variety of injuries from years of intense snow- and skateboarding, resulting in a "chronically out-of-whack back" and four knee surgeries.
"This came from necessity," says Brennan. "I tried all the other patches, salves and oils, none which brought me consistent relief and comfort. So I chose to make a product that I believes delivers on the promise of true pain relief."
Brennan started by purchasing dozens of cannabis-infused topicals from Oregon and other states with cannabis programs, both recreational and medical. He then deconstructed each product by ingredient list, drafted a lengthy spreadsheet and reviewed their effectiveness with the help of a doctor and a pharmacist.
"It allowed me to toss out a number of ingredients that, while commonly used, had no true pain relieving value," he says.
The product has a long label listing over 50 ingredients, which Brennan and his team chose to create a true "Entourage Effect." The ingredients include turmeric (curcumin) Boswellia Serrata, Glucosamine and the cannabinoid CBD, among many more. Brennan says the lengthy list serves to address pain in two ways. (Warning: science ahead.)
"Studies have shown that CBD regulates the release of neurotransmitters and central nervous system immune cells to manage both nociceptive and neuropathic pain levels in the body. Nociceptive pain is the most common type of pain and is caused by the detection of noxious, or potentially harmful, stimuli by the nociceptors around the body. Nociceptors are receptors that are specifically designed to detect stimuli that may cause harm to the body, which may be mechanical, chemical or thermal in nature," Brennan says.
"For example, they may sense when there is physical damage to the skin, muscles, bones or connective tissue in the body, or when they are exposed to toxic chemicals or extreme temperatures. They usually have a high threshold, but when they are activated, they send electrical signals of pain to the central nervous system and the brain to deliver the perception of pain."
(This goes against what Patrick Swayze taught us in "Road House," namely that "pain don't hurt," but I'm going to take Brennan at his word.)
So how well did it work? To be honest, I was skeptical. I've had mixed results using topicals that were dependent upon CBD only, with some patients responding very well, and others receiving next to no relief. It's a frustrating exercise for caregiver and patient alike.
I was floored when I got reports back from users with a near-universal thumbs up. Better still, the product didn't simply address one or two conditions, but offered pain relief for those with osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's, neuropathy from diabetes, and severe muscle and joint pain. One patient was able to swap their opiod pain pills to treat a back injury.
Bonus: The absence of THC allows the product to be used by those with a concern about "getting high" from a topical, including children, and to be shipped to all 50 states.
Anything that moves those in pain to forgo traditional pharmaceutical offerings is a win for well-being, and products with THC and CBD in them are a great start. Because pain actually does hurt.