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  • by Nicola Boulton August 17, 2022 5 min read


    You may have heard about how CBD can be used to manufacture creams, oils, and lotions. Some may be worried that since CBD is a cannabis compound, it may have psychoactive effects, but does it? Look no further as we shall delve deeper into CBD, how CBD topicals work, the benefits, and possible side effects. 

    For novices or experienced users, there is no doubt that they have heard of the term "CBD." The first thing that comes to mind when cannabinoid (CBD) is mentioned is cannabis. At this point, conversations surrounding CBD have taken the country by storm. This may be accrued to the recent legalization of hemp in 2018, which led to the distinction of hemp from other cannabis products.

    Does Topical CBD Work?

    Why Should I Be Concerned About CBD?

    According to Williams et al. (2021), CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in hemp. CBD cannot make the user feel "high" as commonly mistaken because it does not contain THC.

    Hemp and marijuana are plant strains of the cannabis plant, and both contain CBD and psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is largely responsible for the "high" effect felt by the user and is contained in marijuana at relatively higher levels (about 2.5%).

    Furthermore, terpenes and flavonoids are other chemical compounds found in hemp. Examples of terpenes include myrcene, limonene, linalool, and pinene. Gupta et al.  (2018) discovered that terpenes have vast medical benefits due to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotective, and anti-bacterial properties. On the other hand, Flavonoids are key in preventing oxidative damage to brain cells that would otherwise cause a stroke.

    Is CBD Legal?

    In 2018, Congress passed the Farm Bill. This legislation led to the redefinition of hemp according to the Controlled Substances Act. It was determined that as long as a hemp product contained less than 0.3% psychoactive THC, it was considered federally legal. However, state governments were mandated to develop laws that would regulate the use of CBD. Currently, 26 states have legalized the medical use of CBD, while 14 other states have taken the bolder step of legalizing CBD for recreational use.

    Types Of CBD

    Full-spectrum CBD is a type of CBD that contains all the chemical compounds found in hemp, which include CBD, THC, CBC, CBT, terpenes, and flavonoids. However, THC levels present in the full spectrum of CBD are relatively low, relieving it from any possible psychoactive properties.

    Broad-spectrum CBD is a type of CBD that is similar to the full spectrum CBD. The main difference is the THC levels between them, with broad-spectrum CBD having zero traceable amounts of THC due to its extraction from it.

    Isolate CBD is the purest form of CBD since all other chemical compounds are extracted from it.

    What exactly is topical CBD?

    According to Oleinik (2022), CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory properties that are instrumental in treating various skin conditions. CBD topicals are designed uniquely, making them conducive to the skin. CBD Cream come in several forms, such as creams, lotions, salves, cleansers, oils, and serums. What's unique about CBD topicals is that they can't  reach the bloodstream compared to vaping or consuming CBD gummies. Therefore, CBD Cream have very few, if any, side effects.

    CBD skin creams usually contain a broad spectrum of CBD. There are three types of CBD: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and Isolate CBD.

    How Do CBD Topicals Work?

    CBD Balms and Gels work by reacting with the brain's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is also responsible for maintaining homeostatic processes in the body. Shannon et al.  (2019) discovered that the interaction of CBD Cream with the ECS helps alleviate pain, improve sleep, improve mood and reduce anxiety.

    How To Use CBD Topicals

    As mentioned, CBD Cream are quite different from CBD oils in their method of consumption. CBD oils can be consumed through capsules, oils and tinctures, and vape oil pens. However, CBD Balms and Gels can be applied to the area of the skin affected to relieve pain.According to CA. (2018), CBD topicals can aid in relaxing body muscles at both deeper and surface levels. Additionally, applying CBD creams can be beneficial in improving sleep due to their antidepressant properties.

    There are essential oils contained in CBD Balms and Gels. These oils include vitamin E, coconut oil, aloe vera, cocoa butter, peppermint oil, and beeswax. These oils are majorly natural and are widely used in other skincare products. Due to its unique properties, skincare enthusiasts insist on adding CBD Balms and Gels to your skincare regimen.

    How Important Are CBD Topicals To The Skin?

    CBD Cream are key in treating acne. Zanclean et al. (2018) explained that acne is a skin disorder that occurs when hair follicles are blocked by oil and dead skin cells. One can notice the effects of acne on the face by spotting scarring and pimples on the face. Acne can also appear on your chest, back, shoulders, and other body parts. Some of the causes of acne include:

    Inflammation of skin cells responsible for the sebaceous gland

    Overproduction of sebum. Sebum is a waxy, oily substance that protects and moisturizes your skin.

    Topical CBD can also treat jaw pains, arthritis, and peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage to the nerves that cause numbness and discomfort. Silver (2020) reported that   Topical CBD contains neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties that help alleviate pain and relax the mind.

    Is Topical CBD Safe?

    As mentioned, CBD topicals do not contain psychoactive THC. Therefore, CBD Cream do not cause any intoxication. Since CBD Balms and Gels are applied to the skin, they cannot directly reach the bloodstream. This ensures that using CBD Cream does not cause drowsiness.

    Factors To Consider When Choosing CBD Topicals

    Always ensure that the product you purchase has undergone intensive independent laboratory testing. This is done to ensure that the purity and potency levels are relatively high and that the CBD Balms and Gels you apply to the skin do not contain any harmful chemicals to your skin. Remember to check the ingredients to determine if you have allergic reactions to them.

    According to  Argueta et al. (2020), purchasing low-quality CBD Balms and Gels can cause further damage to your skin by causing skin breakouts and skin disorders such as acne.

    Furthermore, it is important to always read the label on your CBD topical product to familiarize yourself with the appropriate dosage. Start with a lower-dose cream, especially if you are a new user.

    Purchase CBD products extracted through pressurized CO2. This maintains the purity and potency levels as compared to alcohol extraction.

    The Bottom Line

    CBD topicals are usually in the form of creams, balms and salves, and lotions. They are key in relieving pain, treating acne and arthritis, improving mood, and relieving muscle spasms. Always remember to purchase high-quality CBD Cream to minimize possible health risks.


    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

    CA, P. (2018). TALOG.

    Gupta, S., Summuna, B., Gupta, M., & Annepu, S. K. (2018). Edible mushrooms: cultivation, bioactive molecules, and health benefits. Bioactive molecules in food, 1, 1-33.

    Oleinik, G. The Best CBD Creams & Topicals for Acne (March 2022).

    Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: a large case series. The Permanente Journal, 23.

    Silver, R. J. (2020). Veterinary Cannabis: Regulatory, Pharmacology, Safety, Applications (Pain & Cancer).

    Williams, C., & Nutbrown, D. L. (2021). A Review of Research into the Health Benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD). The Neighborhood Academy: Pittsburgh, PA, USA

    Zaenglein, A. L. (2018). Acne vulgaris. New England Journal of Medicine, 379(14), 1343-1352.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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