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  • by Nicola Boulton August 17, 2022 5 min read

    Does Topical CBD Work?

    There are three types of CBD, full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Whether CBD topicals will work depends on how you will use them. The most effective way of delivering active ingredients is by exfoliation. Besides, you need to know how to determine the best CBD topicals.

    CBD Cream are skin products manufactured with various hemp plant extracts to improve your skin's appearance and address various skin diseases. The skin being the largest body organism, which is equally sensitive, you might wonder whether CBD will work best for it. Skin products have been in existence for quite some time. However, manufacturers keep developing better alternatives to give permanent solutions for the skin. CBD products are one of the latest and best topicals you can find in the market. They are manufactured from an organic hemp plant or cannabis sativa. The plants contain various elements such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), flavonoids, and terpenes. The absence of either of the elements helps differentiate full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate, which are the types of CBD.

    Types of CBD

    Each type has its potential health benefit for your skin and poses certain threats to your body, especially if it is highly concentrated. Understanding the types will help you select the most suitable for your health needs.

    Full Spectrum

    Full-spectrum CBD topicals are the most dominant. They are manufactured using all the elements of the hemp plant, including THC. Therefore, full-spectrum CBD topicals contain terpenes, flavonoids, THC, and CBD. THC has been a major concern in any CBD products, including topicals. According to Kim & Fishman (2017), tetrahydrocannabinol has intoxicating side effects that can make you dizzy, change your appetite, and experience migraine. However, Scheau et al.(2020) suggested THC has anti-inflammatory properties suitable for hormone balance, including for the skin.

    Broad - Spectrum

    Broad-spectrum CBD products are manufactured using all the elements of the hemp plant except THC. Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum topicals provide more therapeutic benefits beyond the skin. However, broad-spectrum seems to be safer since it minimizes the potential side effects. The terpenes, flavonoids, and CBD can work for the skin by protecting it from bacteria and early aging. According to Priyanka et al. (2014), terpenes and flavonoids have anti-bacterial properties protecting your skin from infection. However, it should be used responsibly despite the absence of THC. High potencies of CBD can make you dizzy or anxious, among other potential side effects.


    Isolate CBD is suitable for those targeting the health benefits of CBD only. Unlike other spectrums, isolate has a single element of the hemp plant, cannabidiol. It is also suitable for avoiding THC-related risks. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most dominant elements of the hemp plant. According to Atalayet al.  (2020), CBD has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect your skin against UV light and inflammatory diseases such as eczema, dermatitis, and seborrheic.

    Note: CBD might not work unless it is of poor quality or used wrongly. Therefore, people will take you through the proper application of CBD and how to determine the best topicals in the market.

    How To Apply CBD

    The skin sweat often and accumulates dead cells and oils that people use from time to time. It results in blockage of pores, hindering penetration of active ingredients of the hemp plant. Consider the following tips for maximum benefit;

    Take a Shower

    Applying CBD topicals can be either in the morning or evening. Most dermatologists recommend using topical CBD oil in the evening to allow the active ingredients to penetrate while the body is resting and active. However, applying CBD oil in the morning is also an alternative since the cells are still active. Sheth et al.(2011) stated that a hot shower helps a person remove some of the oils, sweat, or dead cells that might have blocked the pores. However, it might not be effective compared to the evening application.


    Skin exfoliation is the most effective way of dealing with unwanted material on a person’s skin that blocks the pores hindering penetration of active elements from the hemp plant. The skin exfoliates at a regular interval of about 30 days, although it leaves some dead cells on the skin. It helps remove such cells, leaving the pores open. Exfoliating the skin is healthy.

    Apply the Topical

    The amount of CBD to be applied depends on the potency levels and experience. Most hemp-based topicals are highly concentrated and should be applied in minimum amounts avoiding the potential side effects of overdosing. Take considerable amounts using a clean and dry finger and place it on your palm. Rub your palms together in a circular motion and apply to the targeted area. Notably, it should be on dry skin.


    Exfoliation makes your skin vulnerable to water loss since the pores are open. However, you can minimize this by applying CBD cream lotion and cream to allow the active elements of the hemp plant to penetrate to skin cells.

    How To Choose The Best CBD Topicals

    With the rise of various hemp-based manufacturers, it might be difficult to determine good and bad quality CBD Balms and Gels. However, some general tips can help you determine the best CBD Cream in the market. Confirm the brand is offering lab results from an IOS-certified lab. Such labs offer accurate results on the product's potency and purity levels. The COA's report is a mandatory requirement for all CBD products. Unless they are unfit for usage, most brands post them. Confirm the elements blended in your CBD topicals. Artificial elements might not work best since they enhance contamination and can cause skin irritation. Confirm the method of extraction. There are various methods of obtaining hemp plant extracts, although scientists recommend CO2 since it minimizes contamination of the environment and end products.


    CBD topicals have shown promising results in most clinical trials. However, neither of the topical use has been approved by FDA. The only approved health benefit of CBD in treating epilepsy. The effectiveness of CBD Balms and Gels relies on how you will use them. Consider exfoliating before applying for maximum benefit. Besides, the quality of your product also matters. Confirm that it has been assessed using an IOS-certified lab and has organic ingredients for maximum effectiveness. CBD topicals are of three types, full-spectrum, isolate, and broad-spectrum. Full-spectrum has THC, which can make you high. It makes broad-spectrum a suitable solution for the entourage effect, offering more than therapeutic benefits.


    Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2020). Antioxidative And Anti-Inflammatory Properties Of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants, 9(1), 21

    Kim, P. S., & Fishman, M. A. (2017). Cannabis For Pain And Headaches: Primer. Current Pain And Headache Reports, 21(4), 1-11.

    Priyanka, A., Nisha, V. M., Anusree, S. S., & Raghu, K. G. (2014). Bilobalide Attenuates Hypoxia-Induced Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, And Mitochondrial Dysfunctions In 3T3-L1 Adipocytes Via Its Antioxidant Potential. Free Radical Research, 48(10), 1206-1217.

    Scheau, C., Badarau, I. A., Mihai, L. G., Scheau, A. E., Costache, D. O., Constantin, C., ... & Caruntu, A. (2020). Cannabinoids In The Pathophysiology Of Skin Inflammation. Molecules, 25(3), 652.

    Sheth, A. H., Sen, D. J., & Doshi, N. B. (2011). New Researches On Acne Vulgaris. Research Journal Of Pharmacology And Pharmacodynamics, 3(2), 48-57.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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