People with arthritis may consider CBD products for pain relief. Learn what science and experts say about CBD’s benefits, risks, different ways the product can be used and how to be a smart shopper. Yes, you can rub CBD oil on your skin for pain – but there are better products you can use topically to achieve pain relief. Here we explain how to use CBD for pain. Not all CBD oil can be used topically. Learn more about how to use CBD oil on your skin and which products are right for topical use.
Can I Rub CBD Oil On My Skin For Pain
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CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know
Learn what the science says about the risks and benefits of CBD use for arthritis and what to shop for.
What is CBD? CBD, short for cannabidiol, is an active compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD is not intoxicating but may cause some drowsiness. The CBD in most products is extracted from hemp, a variety of cannabis that has only traces (up to 0.3%) of THC, the active compound that gets people high.
Does CBD work for arthritis? Animal studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, but these effects have not been validated in quality studies in humans. Anecdotally, some people with arthritis who have tried CBD, but not all, report noticeable pain relief, sleep improvement and/or anxiety reduction.
Is CBD safe to use? Research evaluating the safety of CBD is underway. At this point very little is known. So far, no serious safety concerns have been associated with moderate doses. CBD is thought to have the potential to interact with some drugs commonly taken by people with arthritis. Talk to your doctor before trying CBD if you take any of the following: corticosteroids (such as prednisone), tofacitinib (Xeljanz), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), tramadol (Ultram), certain antidepressants, including amitriptyline (Elavil), citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), mirtazapine (Remeron), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and certain medications for fibromyalgia, including gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica).
Are CBD products legal? CBD products derived from hemp are no longer considered Schedule I drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act, but they still remain in a legal gray zone. There are changes underway on federal and state levels that will ultimately clarify the laws and regulations related to CBD-based products and sales. Despite that, they’re widely available in nearly every state and online. People who want to use CBD should check their state laws.
Taking the First Step
Should I give CBD a try? Without quality clinical studies on CBD and arthritis, doctors have not been able to say who might benefit from CBD, at what dose and in which form, who likely won’t benefit and who should avoid it. Still, there is agreement on several points:
- CBD is not a substitute for disease-modifying treatment for inflammatory arthritis.
- Patients who are interested in trying CBD should first talk to the health care provider who treats their arthritis before trying CBD. Together, they can review what has worked or not worked in the past, whether there are other options to try first, how to do a trial run, what to watch for and when to return for a follow-up visit to evaluate the results. Keep a symptom and dose diary to track effects.
- Quality CBD products can be expensive, especially when used for prolonged periods. To avoid wasting money, be completely sure that the product is truly having a positive effect on symptoms.
What type of product should I consider? CBD-based products can be taken orally, applied to the skin or inhaled. There are pros and cons for each.
By mouth. CBD that is swallowed, whether in capsules, food or liquid, is absorbed through the digestive tract. Absorption is slow and dosing is tricky due to the delayed onset of effect (one to two hours), unknown effects of stomach acids, recent meals and other factors.
Capsules can work for daily use after a safe, effective capsule dose has been established. Experts discourage taking CBD via edibles, like gummies and cookies, because dosing is unreliable, and they are appealing to children but do not come in childproof containers. Like any medicine, edibles should be secured out of sight and reach of children.
CBD can also be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by holding liquid from a spray or tincture (a liquid dosed by a dropper) under the tongue (sublingual) for 60 to 120 seconds. The taste may not be pleasant. Effects may be felt within 15 to 45 minutes.
On the skin. Topical products, like lotions and balms, are applied to the skin over a painful joint. Whether these products deliver CBD below the skin is unknown. Topical products may also include common over-the-counter ingredients such as menthol, capsaicin or camphor, making it difficult to determine if a positive effect is due to the CBD or another ingredient.
Inhaled. CBD can be inhaled via a vaporizing, or vape, pen. However, inhalation of vapor oils and chemical byproducts carry unknown risks, particularly for people with inflammatory arthritis. For this reason and because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating vaping in association with widespread hospitalizations and deaths from severe pulmonary disease, vaping is not recommended.
How much CBD should I use? While there are no established clinical guidelines, the medical experts consulted by the Arthritis Foundation recommend the following for adults:
- When preparing to take a liquid form, be aware that the CBD extract is mixed with a carrier oil, so there are two measures to know: the amount of the liquid product to take (the dose) and the amount of CBD in each dose.
- Go low and slow. Start with just a few milligrams of CBD in sublingual form twice a day. If relief is inadequate after one week, increase the dose by that same amount. If needed, go up in small increments over several weeks. If you find relief, continue taking that dose twice daily to maintain a stable level of CBD in the blood.
- If CBD alone doesn’t work and you are in a state where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, talk to your doctor about taking CBD with a very low-dose THC product. Be aware that THC, even at low levels, may get you high, creating cognitive, motor and balance issues. Try THC-containing products at home or at night first, so you can sleep off any unwanted effects.
- After several weeks, if you don’t find relief with CBD alone or with a combination of CBD and very low THC, CBD may not be right for you.
- If you experience any unwanted side effects when using a CBD product, immediately discontinue use and inform your doctor.
What to Look for When Shopping
There is good reason to be a cautious shopper. CBD products are largely unregulated in the U.S. market. Independent testing has shown mislabeling and lack of quality control. The biggest issues are strength of CBD (significantly more or less than the label says), the presence of undeclared THC, and contamination with pesticides, metals and solvents. Here’s what to look for:
- Find products manufactured in the U.S. with ingredients grown domestically.
- Choose products made by companies that follow good manufacturing practices established by the FDA for pharmaceuticals or dietary supplements (a voluntary quality standard because CBD products are not federally regulated under either category) or required by the state where they are manufactured.
- Buy from companies that test each batch and provide a certificate of analysis from an independent lab that uses validated standardized testing methods approved by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), or the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC).
- Avoid companies that claim their products have disease benefits.
- Be aware that marketers and people behind retail counters are not health professionals; they are salespeople. That’s why your doctor is your best source for guidance and monitoring when using an unregulated product.
Our gratitude to the following experts for their guidance and review:
Kevin Boehnke, PhD, a researcher at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan, focuses on medical cannabis as an analgesic and opioid substitute in chronic pain.
Daniel Clauw, MD, a professor of anesthesiology, rheumatology and psychiatry at the University of Michigan and director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, leads research on arthritis pain and fibromyalgia, and the effects of cannabis, particularly CBD, in pain.
Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, MD, an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, conducts research on pain and rheumatic diseases. She is the lead author of the 2019 Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) position statement for medical cannabis.
During Pain Awareness Month in September and all year long, we’ve got you covered with unique pain management tools and resources you won’t find anywhere else.
Can I Rub CBD Oil on My Skin for Pain?
CBD oil has a myriad of potential therapeutic uses, but the pain is the most popular reason why people take CBD supplements.
The question is, can you rub CBD oil on your skin for pain?
This may sound like an appealing idea, but before you proceed, read this article so that you don’t waste your hard-earned money.
Today, we explain how CBD works for pain and whether you should rub it on your back.
Can I Rub CBD Oil on My Skin for Pain?
Yes, but that’s not the best way to use CBD oil for pain.
The reason is simple: when you rub CBD oil on your skin, it has poor bioavailability, not to mention the formula lacks other supportive natural painkillers from oil.
Rubbing CBD oil on your skin for pain may provide some relief, but it will be nowhere near the results you would have achieved with a CBD cream or another skin-dedicated product.
Why Is CBD Cream Better for Pain?
CBD is fat-soluble, meaning it dissolves in fats. That’s why CBD oils use carrier fats like MCT oil, and CBD creams are based on coconut oil, hemp seed oil, and fruit oils.
Since CBD creams include more fats than CBD oil, they will absorb better into the skin.
Another advantage of using CBD creams over oils topically is the level of moisture your skin receives from the said fats.
Not only can CBD creams ease pain and soothe irritation, but they can also help replenish the natural skin barrier by interacting with CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
Last but not least, CBD creams contain an array of supportive ingredients, such as natural analgesics (e.g. menthol, arnica, cayenne pepper), essential oils (terpenes), and regenerative compounds (e.g. manuka honey, aloe vera).
Together, these botanicals work synergistically with CBD, either enhancing or complementing its painkilling potential.
How to Use CBD Oil for Pain the Right Way
You can use CBD oil for pain, but make sure you pick the right format. As mentioned, rubbing CBD oil on your skin isn’t the best way to address physical discomfort.
However, you can support your natural pain resistance and thwart the causes of pain, such as inflammation, by using the following products.
We’ll explain the analgesic mechanisms of CBD later in the article.
Here are the best ways to use CBD for pain besides creams
1. Take Sublingual Drops
CBD oil drops are the most popular format of hemp supplements. It comes in glass bottles, with a dropper attached for accurate dosing.
To use CBD oil for pain, measure out the desired amount using the dropper — and transfer it under the tongue.
Once there, hold the oil for up to 60 seconds, swishing the tongue around the inside of your gums to increase the surface area for absorption.
You should be able to notice the first signs of relief around 20 minutes after ingestion.
If you suffer from chronic pain, CBD may need more time to start working. It’s best to test different doses for around 2 weeks to let your endocannabinoid system level its deficiencies.
2. Eat a Gummy
Gummies are the most enjoyable form of CBD. If you don’t like the taste of full-spectrum CBD oil or don’t want to mess with the dropper all the time, gummies are a perfect alternative.
A CBD gummy contains a fixed dose of CBD per serving. The sugars and juice concentrate mask the hempy aftertaste, making them fun and convenient to use.
With that said, CBD gummies have one downside. Namely, they kick in with a delay — around between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
But on the other hand, the effects last longer – around 8 hours – making CBD gummies a considerable pick if you’re looking for long-lasting pain management.
3. Vape CBD Resin
CBD vape pens offer the fastest and most effective way to deliver CBD to your system. They contain CBD distillate (a highly concentrated extract) and a blend of terpenes that pushes the effects in a specific direction. You can choose CBD vape resin infused with analgesic terpenes if you’re using CBD oil for pain.
However, despite their high bioavailability, the effects of CBD vapes are relatively short-lasting – up to 3 hours.
How to Rub CBD Cream on Your Skin for Pain
Let’s say you’ve bought a high-quality CBD cream for pain, and you want to rub it on your skin instead of the oil.
First, ensure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients in the cream. Run a quick patch test by applying a tiny amount of the cream to the inside of your wrist.
If you don’t see any signs of irritation, you can use a larger amount.
CBD creams are difficult to dose. If you suffer from serious physical discomfort, you may need to use a more liberal amount a few times a day.
Generally speaking, it’s best to apply CBD cream for pain as needed. Topicals won’t prevent pain, but they can reduce the intensity of flare-ups.
Does CBD Oil Help with Pain?
Yes, pain is actually one of the best-researched areas when it comes to the therapeutic potential of CBD.
CBD has been touted as a novel anti-inflammatory drug, and its positive effects on chronic pain are well documented in the scientific literature.
Let’s look at how CBD targets pain — both its roots and the communication between pain messengers.
How Does CBD Work for Pain?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and is the modulator of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) – the primary self-regulatory network in all mammals.
The ECS is made from receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes; together, they work to promote and maintain homeostasis throughout the body.
The receptors of the ECS are found all over the body, with the largest concentrations in the central nervous system, immune system, blood cells, and peripheral organs.
The ECS controls essential homeostatic functions, such as mood, memory, body temperature, sleep cycles, immune function, appetite, reproduction, and pain perception.
Inflammation and pain signaling is mediated by both cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2.
CBD & Resistance to Pain
CBD signals the ECS to produce more anandamide.
Anandamide is one of your main endocannabinoids, also known as the bliss molecule. It controls your reactions to fear, pleasure, and pain, on top of many other important functions.
Insufficient amounts of anandamide are linked with low hypersensitivity to pain.
CBD also inhibits an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, making it more available to the body.
With higher levels of anandamide in the bloodstream, the ECS may restore proper responses to pain in your body.
CBD for Inflammation
CBD offers significant anti-inflammatory properties. These effects stem from CBD’s interactions with the CB2 receptor.
Once CBD binds to it, the ECS inhibits the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, reducing the occurrence and intensity of inflammation.
CBD can also suppress an overactive immune system in specific regions without shutting it down completely like conventional immunosuppressants.
Last but not least, CBD demonstrates immunomodulatory effects, improving communication between the cells of the immune system.
CBD & Pain Signals
CBD may alter pain transmission from the presynaptic nerve ends in the CNS to the postsynaptic nerve ends in the brain.
It does this by interacting with the TRPV1 receptor, the same receptor involved in seizure activity (that’s why CBD can help with seizures).
So, not only do you receive less pain from inflammation, but your brain also receives weaker pain signals.
What to Look for in the Best CBD Products for Pain
- Organic ingredients: both hemp and other ingredients should come from organic sources. Hemp is an effective bioaccumulator, meaning it will absorb and accumulate every substance from its environment. Other botanical ingredients in the formula may also be contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals if not sourced organically. These toxins may irritate the skin and mess with your nervous and immune systems.
- Additional painkillers: there are plenty of natural analgesics out there. Some of them enhance the painkilling effects of CBD, while others add an additional layer of relief on their own. Popular ingredients in CBD products for pain include menthol, honey, arnica, cayenne pepper, lavender, limonene, and aloe vera.
- Certificates of Analysis (CoAs): reputable companies test their products in third-party laboratories for potency and purity. The certificate of analysis contains the list of all ingredients in the CBD product, including common contaminants, such as the aforementioned pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and mold. Only purchase from brands that publish these certificates on their websites or send them to customers with their orders.
Is CBD Safe?
Yes, CBD has a decent safety profile. Even doses as high as 1,500 mg taken daily for several weeks were well-tolerated by humans.
CBD may cause a few mild side effects in large doses, including drowsiness, dry mouth, changes in appetite, sedation, and diarrhea.
If you take any medications, talk to your doctor before buying CBD oil or cream for pain. CBD interacts with the majority of pharmaceutical drugs, so a consultation with a doctor will save you some undesired and potentially dangerous side effects.
Is it Legal?
Yes, CBD oil is legal in all 50 states as long as it comes from hemp. In 2018, President Trump signed the amended Farm Bill that removed hemp from the list of controlled substances.
Today, hemp can be grown and sold for any purpose — including health supplements like CBD oils and creams.
The only condition is that all hemp-derived products must contain 0.3% THC or less.
Final Verdict: Can You Rub CBD Oil on Your Skin for Pain?
Theoretically, you could rub CBD oil on your skin for pain, but it’s not worth the hassle.
CBD oil is made for sublingual uses, meaning you take it under the tongue for the best results.
Rubbing it on your skin only wastes its potential – there are skin-dedicated CBD products out there.
We recommend using a CBD cream or roll-on gel for pain. Common pain-relief formulas include ingredients like menthol, cayenne pepper, essential oils, and honey; all of them work alongside CBD to reduce discomfort.
Topicals are great for easing localized pain. For general pain management and wellness support, use other forms like vapes, oil drops, or gummies.
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- Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future medicinal chemistry, 1(7), 1333–1349. https://doi.org/10.4155/fmc.09.93 
- Argueta, D. A., Ventura, C. M., Kiven, S., Sagi, V., & Gupta, K. (2020). A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain. Frontiers in pharmacology, 11, 561. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.00561
- Kaur, R., Ambwani, S. R., & Singh, S. (2016). Endocannabinoid System: A Multi-Facet Therapeutic Target. Current clinical pharmacology, 11(2), 110–117. https://doi.org/10.2174/1574884711666160418105339
- Deutsch D. G. (2016). A Personal Retrospective: Elevating Anandamide (AEA) by Targeting Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) and the Fatty Acid Binding Proteins (FABPs). Frontiers in pharmacology, 7, 370. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2016.00370
- Henshaw, F. R., Dewsbury, L. S., Lim, C. K., & Steiner, G. Z. (2021). The Effects of Cannabinoids on Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Cytokines: A Systematic Review of In VivoStudies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 6(3), 177–195. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2020.0105 
- Nichols, J. M., & Kaplan, B. (2020). Immune Responses Regulated by Cannabidiol. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 5(1), 12–31. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2018.0073 
- Kaplan, B. L., Springs, A. E., & Kaminski, N. E. (2008). The profile of immune modulation by cannabidiol (CBD) involves deregulation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT). Biochemical pharmacology, 76(6), 726–737. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2008.06.022 
- Costa, B., Giagnoni, G., Franke, C., Trovato, A. E., & Colleoni, M. (2004). Vanilloid TRPV1 receptor mediates the antihyperalgesic effect of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol, in a rat model of acute inflammation. British journal of pharmacology, 143(2), 247–250. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjp.0705920 
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
Can CBD Oil Be Used Topically?
Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about the “best CBD oil for…” any number of issues. Sometimes, that’s exactly what they’re looking for—the best CBD oil for sleep or certain skin conditions.
But, in many cases, people are really looking for CBD creams and other topicals. For example, if you’re looking for the best CBD oil for acne, the best CBD oil for rosacea or eczema? You’re really looking for a CBD cream or similar CBD topical.
Most CBD oil is actually formulated to be taken orally. So what is the difference between topicals and CBD oil? That’s exactly what we’ll focus on here.
CBD Topicals vs CBD Oil
Although it is already massive, CBD and skin care are two growing markets that have merged to create a ton of new products. This means that while companies are still developing many new ways to use CBD, the basic CBD oil that is taken orally is still the most common way of administering the cannabinoid.
When you use a CBD tincture, you just place several drops or whatever your serving size is under your tongue. Hold it there for at least a minute, if you can, to hasten the benefits, which you can feel in minutes.
Still, especially for those with skin issues or joint and muscle pain, CBD topicals are often more effective and quicker. Topical CBD formulations typically include additional ingredients to enhance an analgesic, anti-inflammatory effect. So although there are many ways to try CBD, a topical may be your best bet if you need to treat skin issues or relieve aches and pains.
A CBD topical is any CBD-infused lotion, cream, or salve that can be applied directly to the skin. They don’t have enough tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, of course, to get you high.
However, many have other cannabinoids and terpenes and are therefore capable of producing the entourage effect–the effect that happens when all of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce benefits.
Science on CBD topicals (and the cannabis plant as a whole) is in its infancy, but we do know some promising things:
We already know that cannabis sativa has anti-inflammatory properties. CBD topicals may help manage inflammation and pain associated with arthritis more effectively by avoiding the GI system, resulting in more constant plasma levels.
Experts from the American Academy of Dermatology have also suggested that topical CBD products might be used to treat eczema, acne, and psoriasis. As a bonus, these products don’t have the typical side effects of oral medications, and they provide additional skincare benefits.
Just like other forms of CBD, however, the effectiveness of topical CBD varies depending on things like dosage or serving size, quality, and source.
Unlike edibles, topicals serve a different and unique purpose. They are used mostly to target surface areas to treat muscle pain, spasms, and tension because topical CBD does not reach the bloodstream. Instead of treating your entire body or system, you’re just spot treating a place where you’re having chronic pain.
Can You Use Oral CBD Oil Topically?
What type of product will work best for you? There are pros and cons for both oral and topical CBD products—so if you apply a tincture or oil to your skin, do you get the same benefits of CBD you’re used to?
A lot of this is related to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system all mammals share. The ECS is mostly composed of enzymes, endocannabinoids, and CB1 and CB2 receptors for the endocannabinoids. The ECS regulates many functions in humans, including memory, appetite, pain sensation, mood, reproduction, and sleep.
The ECS helps achieve and maintain homeostasis in the human body—or in some cases re-establish it. Homeostasis is the balanced, healthy zone within the bounds of which biological systems stay well-regulated. Imagine a human body with ideal blood pressure, blood sugar levels, etc.
What are cannabinoid receptors and why do we have them? Much like a thermostat, cannabinoid receptors collect data on conditions just outside the cell upon whose surface they sit, allowing them to then respond to changing conditions by “kick-starting” the correct cellular response.
For example, when bacteria attacks the body and causes infection, the immune system triggers inflammation to help battle the infection. This also triggers the ECS to release endocannabinoids which assist in signaling other immune cells and help limit the inflammatory response so it isn’t excessive. The receptors in turn help the body fight infection, and return to normal without damaging itself.
The skin also has its own endocannabinoid system, which helps keep the skin healthy and balanced. Just like for the rest of the endocannabinoid system throughout the human body, the goal is stasis. In fact, CBD topicals are useful and can also produce healthy skin because the root cause of most skin problems is usually some kind of an imbalance in the skin.
Either way, depending on the type of issue you’re trying to treat and pain management you’re seeking, it is possible to get the effects of CBD topically or orally—if what you’re taking is made for that kind of use. But you wouldn’t eat hand cream, right? So would you put CBD oil on your skin?
The best method will depend on all of the details.
Taking CBD by mouth. You absorb CBD that you swallow in capsules, gummies, food, or liquid, through the digestive tract. This makes absorption slow and dosing a bit challenging due to several factors, including recent meals, unknown effects of stomach acids, the delayed onset of effect which is one to two hours, and other factors.
You can also take CBD using a tincture, oil, or spray by holding it under your tongue (sublingual) and allowing it to absorb directly into the bloodstream for 60 to 120 seconds. You can feel effects within 15 to 45 minutes, although you will also taste the preparation. Full-spectrum CBD oils in particular have a strong plant taste.
Taking CBD topically. Apply topical products such as balms, creams, lotions, and salves directly to the skin over a painful area. Simple! But do not apply CBD oils that are designed for taking orally to the skin; they have nothing to suspend them on the skin or make them work there, and they are intended to be in the bloodstream.
If you’re not sure if it would be better to use CBD orally or topically, you may need to refocus your question to decide which type best suits your needs. Using CBD topically works best if you have a targeted area where you need CBD the most because it allows the cannabidiol compounds to work with the cannabinoid receptors right where you apply the topical cream.
With CBD topicals, the effects are more concentrated because the cannabinoid compounds never get absorbed into the bloodstream and they aren’t spread thin throughout the entire body. This makes it a great choice for treating minor, local discomfort in muscles and joints, or soothing skin.
What CBD Products Can You Use On Your Skin?
CBD topicals are any CBD products you can use on your skin: lotions, creams, balms, roll-ons, and salves that have CBD in their formulations. CBD lotions, creams, and balms are typically not edible and are intended to be applied directly to specific affected areas of the skin.
CBD topicals generally can be used to provide localized relief by delivering CBD to the outer layer of the skin. They often have particular formulations, such as CBD creams for skin-related issues like eczema, acne, rosacea, and psoriasis, and for injuries and problems like insect bites and stings and burns.
Some of the most common types of CBD topicals that you might find on the market include these, and here are some of their applications:
Creams, lotions, and salves: These are typically used for inflammation and pain relief.
Oils, ointments, and serums: These are typically used to treat skin-related conditions such as burn ointments or ointments for eczema, acne, dry skin, and psoriasis; and in beauty applications, including anti-aging serums, beard creams, anti-aging products, tattoo ointments and other hair and skin products.
There are other miscellaneous CBD topicals, too, like CBD soap and CBD lip balm—all have specific uses.
In a CBD topical, the base, whether it is oil, cream, wax, or something similar, works as a carrier agent. If you recall our other discussions of how cannabinoids work, you remember that THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids bind with fatty acids. This is why carrier oils are so common.
The carrier agent works, usually alongside essential oils and other natural ingredients, to smoothly apply the CBD to skin conditions and other affected areas and help it cling there long enough to work.
What will happen if you use a CBD oil that isn’t a topical on your skin? For one thing, it won’t have the right carrier to hold it on your skin well enough to interact with the ECS locally. To be effective, CBD must interact with the endocannabinoid system in some way, either by entering the bloodstream or the skin’s layers. Simply placing oils on the skin won’t necessarily make that happen.