A growing number of amputees are trying out CBDs (or cannabidiols) for pain management, and the results vary widely. That’s what you’d expect: As a class of products, CBDs are all over the map. Their effectiveness depends on a wide range of factors, including quality of ingredients, integrity of manufacturing, and precision of dosage. Since the science behind CBDs is spotty, and there’s almost no regulation, finding the right product can seem like a fool’s errand.

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It seems a little less foolish now that there’s an amputee-specific CBD line available. A Step Ahead Prosthetics’ two CBD products, Friction Defense and Pain Relief, are designed to combat the particular aches and ailments that plague hard-working residual limbs in tight sockets. Both of these topical CBDs (one a cream, one a spray-on lubricant) check the right boxes: zero THC, fully organic, high-quality extract. And they’re formulated to mitigate the nerve shocks, bone pain, chafing, blisters, inflammation, and other discomforts that active amputees routinely endure.

“A lot of CBD creams use cooling agents such as camphor or menthol that don’t work well inside a socket liner,” says Renato Castilho, A Step Ahead’s director of brand and product development and a below-knee amputee for 26 years. “It starts heating up, and then it burns. We needed something super-pure that would be effective from a CBD standpoint but wouldn’t irritate the skin in the harsh conditions of a liner under stress.”

The two products are meant to be used in tandem—Friction Defense while you’re active and in the socket, Pain Relief when you’re resting (or asleep) and unattached. Brand ambassador Dan Kosick, a former Paralympic skier and current hiker and trail runner, sprays on Friction Defense first thing in the morning. “It works excellent in those hot-spot areas,” Kosick says on his Facebook page. “It doesn’t break down, it doesn’t smell, and it helps ease the nerves in those high-friction areas.” 

Another fan of A Step Ahead’s CBDs, a longtime chronic-pain sufferer named Joanne, swears by Pain Relief. “I was diagnosed [with chronic regional pain syndrome] at 13 years old and have been in pain ever since,” her testimonial reads. “I have tried all types of CBD, and to be honest this is the only one that has improved my pain.”

Learn more about Friction Defense and Pain Relief at weareastepahead.com. For a primer on how to be a choosy CBD shopper, see “CBDs and Amputees: A User’s Guide” on Amplitude’s website.

Four Traits of High-quality CBD Products 

1. No THC. CBDs with THC content of less than 0.3 percent won’t trigger a positive result on a drug test. 
2. Full-spectrum. A full-spectrum product is derived from the entire hemp plant—seeds, stalks, stems, and leaves. 
3. Organic. Pesticides, fertilizers, and other impurities can make CBDs less effective. 
4. Tested. CBDs aren’t regulated by the government, but many manufacturers get independent testing to ensure the quality and purity of their products.

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