There’s a common misconception that CBD topicals are less effective than other types of hemp products, but the truth is that topical CBD products like lotions, balms, and creams simply have different effects. These unique properties are actually more desirable for certain conditions, and millions of people across the country have embraced the benefits of CBD topicals for pain, anxiety, aging, acne, and lots of other conditions. Depending on the reason you want to use CBD, topicals might be the best choice, so learn the top seven reasons you should start using CBD topicals today.
1. Localized relief
CBD topicals deliver their effects directly at the site of application. If you have a bad knee, for instance, and you apply your hemp-infused topical on and around your knee, the CBD in your cream or balm will absorb directly into the affected joint before spreading throughout the rest of your body.
As the largest organ in (or on) your body, your skin works hard to protect you from foreign substances. Your skin is the most important part of your immune system, but this bodily defender can still be penetrated by certain types of oil-based or water-based substances.
Oil-based CBD topicals don’t absorb as well, but their effects remain at the site of application without spreading very much throughout the rest of your body. Water-based CBD topicals, however, deliver their effects at the site of application, but they also absorb better and spread throughout the rest of your bodily systems. In addition to providing localized relief, water-based topicals also offer system-wide effects that even reach your central nervous system (CNS).
Compared to other types of CBD products, which usually only provide widespread effects, CBD topicals are the best tools available for deploying the effects of cannabidiol in one particular area. While water-based topicals spread throughout the rest of your body as well, their primary effects are at the site of administration, which helps explain the enduring popularity of topically-applied CBD products.
2. Higher bioavailability
Every substance you ingest eventually has to make its way out of your body in one form or another. As it moves through your system, CBD has to pass through a variety of organs that may reduce its effectiveness, and your body processes CBD differently based on how you apply this cannabinoid.
With CBD or any other substance, the measurement of how much of a substance your body can use before it is excreted is called bioavailability. CBD formulations that pass through your liver, for instance, have decreased bioavailability, and all oral CBD products are processed by your liver as they move through your digestive system.
Therefore, oral CBD products have reduced bioavailability when compared to CBD topicals or CBD products you can vape or smoke. Capsules have such low bioavailability that purchasing these products is like paying four times as much for the same amount of CBD, and it’s possible to mitigate the severely limited bioavailability of oral CBD by offering it in tincture form.
Oral tinctures are designed to be applied under the tongue, which allows CBD to absorb into your lingual artery, a major blood vessel that connects directly to the brain. CBD products that you ingest via pulmonary administration, which is the scientific word for inhalation, similarly bypass your liver, making CBD flower one of the cannabidiol formulations with the highest bioavailability.
CBD topicals, on the other hand, have the unique benefit of providing high bioavailability in any area of your body. If you want to experience the potent effects of topical CBD in your feet, for instance, you can simply apply your CBD lotion there, or you can apply your CBD cream to your temples if you have a headache. No other CBD product type offers this combination of high bioavailability and diversity of potential areas of application, carving out a lasting place for CBD topicals within the cannabidiol product pantheon.
3. Easy & discreet
The benefits of topical CBD extend far beyond the effects this cannabinoid has in your body. CBD lotions and creams are also easy to use, and with these types of products, nobody has to know that you’re using hemp.
While highly effective and useful in the right context, CBD tinctures can be messy, and they aren’t the best products to bring with you when you expect you might need relief on the go. CBD flower could provide the most potent effects of any type of cannabidiol product, but we’ll be honest—hemp smells almost exactly the same as the intoxicating forms of cannabis, and using CBD flower in public might give people around you the wrong idea.
CBD topicals, on the other hand, are easy to apply no matter where you are or what you’re doing. You can bring your CBD lotion with you on a hike in case your ankle gets sore, or you could put your tub of lotion on your desk at work for a little help when the arthritis in your fingers acts up.
Perspectives toward hemp and cannabis are changing across the country, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to broadcast your CBD use for everyone around you to notice. If you want to use CBD discreetly without compromising on bioavailability or effectiveness, CBD topicals are the obvious choice.
4. Commonly used for topical conditions
In most cases, oral or vaped CBD products are used to treat widespread conditions like anxiety, depression, or systemic pain. CBD topicals, on the other hand, are more commonly used to treat localized issues including common skin conditions.
In this section, we’ll explain how to use CBD creams and point out why topical CBD products are better for skin ailments like acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. Some people even use CBD topicals to prevent the signs of aging, and this trend is only becoming more popular with time.
CBD cream for acne
For decades, the prevailing viewpoint in medical science was that acne is caused by a particular bacterium called P. acnes. While there’s no denying that this bacterium helps acne spread and makes this condition worse, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that inflammation in the sebocytes is actually the root cause of acne flare-ups.
Your skin contains tiny glands called sebocytes, which express sebum through your pores, a special oil that keeps your skin lubricated and protects against environmental stressors. If there is too much inflammation in your pores, however, they become clogged with sebum, increasing inflammation even more and eventually leading to a comedone, which is the technical term for the hard plug of oil that sebum turns into inside of an affected pore.
Antibacterial treatments for acne do not address the underlying inflammation that is causing the problem—in fact, they may make the problem worse. Only by reducing inflammation can you stop acne in its tracks once and for all, which is the primary reason that so many people are now using CBD for acne.
When applied topically, CBD appears to exert its inflammation-modulating effects directly at the sebocytes, making this use of CBD much more efficient and gentler than existing oral acne treatments such as retinoids. Plus, CBD does not cause any of the drying, redness, or irritation that is commonly associated with mainstream acne treatments, making this natural, hemp-based substance even more attractive for treating acne.
CBD topicals for psoriasis
There are quite a few different types of psoriasis, and not all forms of this condition express topical symptoms. Every type of psoriasis, however, is caused by an overactive immune response, which is why this condition is classified as an autoimmune disease.
CBD is currently being researched as an immunomodulator, which means that this cannabinoid could potentially exert effects on your immune system directly. The reason that topical forms of psoriasis cause red, itchy scales on your skin, however, is because your immune system mistakenly identifies your skin cells as foreign bodies that it must eliminate. This immune action causes inflammation, and reducing this inflammation helps with the symptoms of psoriasis.
People use CBD for psoriasis both internally and topically. When used internally, it’s with the hope that CBD will exert widespread immunomodulatory effects that stop psoriasis at its source. Applied topically, CBD users hope that this non-intoxicating cannabinoid will reduce inflammation, the primary symptom of psoriasis.
CBD lotion for aging
Medical views on the causes of aging have shifted dramatically in recent years. For decades prior, medical scientists were convinced that aging was an inevitable process that could not be slowed or halted. In reality, however, the process that most of us call “aging” is actually a premature breakdown of body tissues that could easily be prevented by arresting the action of a few biochemical mechanisms.
Every cell in your body contains DNA molecules, and every DNA molecule contains end caps called telomeres. Each time that a DNA molecule splits apart and reproduces itself, the telomeres at the end of the molecule break off. Scientists have identified telomere degeneration as the primary marker of the onset of senescence, which is the medical term for the gradual breakdown of bodily tissues leading to death.
This much has been known for quite some time, but it’s only recently that scientists have discovered that telomere degeneration is primarily caused by oxidative stress, which goes hand-in-hand with inflammation. Natural substances that reduce systemic oxidative stress and inflammation, therefore, naturally slow down the aging process.
When applied topically, CBD exerts its effects most strongly in the cells surrounding the site of application, meaning that its oxidation-modulating effects will be most apparent in your skin. Wrinkles and sagging skin are the most commonly reported negative effects of visible aging, and in addition to being related to telomere degradation, these symptoms are also caused by age-related decreases in collagen and elastin levels, which can be mitigated by antioxidant and anti-inflammatory therapies.
CBD cream for dermatitis
There are many forms of dermatitis, the most common being contact dermatitis, and atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. While dermatitis can be caused by a wide variety of different underlying mechanisms, this condition’s primary symptom is skin inflammation, which can be reduced by both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory therapies.
Some CBD users with dermatitis ingest this hemp-based substance internally in the hopes that it will treat the underlying mechanisms supporting their condition. With certain types of dermatitis, such as eczema, this approach might make sense. Others apply CBD topically as well in an attempt to reduce the topical symptoms of this condition.
Since water-based CBD topicals pass through the rest of your system after exerting their effects at the site of application, oral use of cannabidiol may not be indicated for eczema and other forms of dermatitis. Using this cannabinoid topically, however, is an alternative to mainline dermatitis treatments that people around the country are embracing with open arms.
5. Non-intoxicating effects
Before you start wondering how to make CBD lotion, it’s important to remember that manufacturing high-quality CBD is complicated. To ensure that your results are high-quality, you need to start by extracting your own cannabinoids from hemp. Settling for CBD that’s been extracted by someone else could contaminate your product line, and if you don’t extract your CBD yourself, there’s a chance that the non-intoxicating properties of this cannabinoid could disappear.
As a result of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp manufacturers must make sure that their CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC. There’s a reason this percentage was chosen—higher concentrations of THC may cause psychoactive effects, which is the last thing most people want when using CBD topicals.
Out of all the different CBD product types that are available, topicals exert the least potent effects in the central nervous system, so higher levels of THC may not have psychoactive effects even at concentrations exceeding 0.3%. With concentrations below this amount, however, it’s guaranteed that CBD topicals will not cause any paranoia, mental confusion, or the other common negative effects of THC.
While CBD isn’t intoxicating, it can exert mild psychological effects like relaxation or sleepiness. If you want to remain entirely clear-headed when using hemp products, therefore, using topicals is the best way to experience the impressive benefits of this hemp-derived cannabinoid.
6. Safe for drug tests
The benefits of topical CBD may go so far as to protect your job and keep you on the right side of the law. There are no drug tests in existence that test for CBD and the chances of testing positive for THC after using hemp are slim to none.
Let’s start with some hard facts. It’s technically possible to fail a drug test for THC by using CBD. However, you’d have to use so much CBD that breaking the bank would be much more likely than failing a drug test.
You’ve probably heard stories in the news of people failing drug tests for THC after using CBD products, and here’s what happened in every case: The people who failed these tests were either using CBD products from recreational marijuana stores, which can contain higher concentrations of THC, or they were using incredibly vast quantities of CBD tincture or CBD vape products, which deliver higher overall concentrations of cannabinoids into your system.
If you were going to fail a THC drug test after using CBD products, it would only be after a period of almost impossible volumes of CBD consumption or after using CBD products with too much THC. The chances of failing a THC drug test after using a CBD topical are even more infinitesimally low, and we’ll explain why.
CBD topicals deliver overall lower concentrations of cannabinoids into your bloodstream, which means that fewer cannabinoids accumulate in your system. Since CBD topicals concentrate their effects at the site of administration, less CBD is required to achieve the desired effects.
Because they have higher bioavailability, less of the CBD you apply topically is processed by your liver, which stores substances it classifies as contaminants for up to a month. If you’re worried about the slight chance of a CBD product causing you to fail a THC drug test, CBD topicals are the safest option you can choose.
7. Diverse product formulations
There are only so many ways that you can make CBD tincture, and aside from CBD flower, which also offers diverse product options, CBD topicals deliver the greatest product variety. CBD practically begs to be paired with other beneficial ingredients when it’s formulated into topical products, and some of these natural ingredients may even boost the beneficial effects of CBD.