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  • by Nicola Boulton August 17, 2022 6 min read


    CBD topical products have flooded the market as many people turn to them for their wellness. However, CBD isn't under official regulation, and vendors have taken advantage to produce and sell counterfeit products. Nonetheless, there are simple guidelines that you can follow to select a CBD topical product that works for you.

    Cannabidiol, or CBD, has gained prominence over the years. You're likely to spot a CBD topical product everywhere you go today. You'll find CBD in lotions, creams, salves, serums, balms, etc. CBD infusion seems to be trendy in health and skin care. However, most people's concern in the back of their minds is whether topical products are truly effective or it's just a marketing buzz. While the response to this concern isn't clear, some users have reported pain relief from using topical CBD products. Also, when it comes to purchasing CBD products, it's a buyer-beware scenario, owing to the eruption of CBD-infused topical products that may lack what they market. However, this article goes through some ways to identify a topical CBD product that works. Keep on reading to find out.


    Comprehending CBD

    CBD is a short form of Cannabidiol. In the cannabis plant, there are over a hundred chemical ingredients called cannabinoids, and CBD is among them. The other ingredient in the cannabis plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic ingredient associated with cannabis. However, CBD lacks psychoactive properties; using CBD products won't give you a high. Instead, CBD has been thought to have professed health benefits, and because of that, you can find CBD in beverages, foods, lotions, and many other products.

    Additionally, research into CBD is fairly limited, and more research is required to give conclusive results. Currently, manufacturers and consumers depend on anecdotal evidence. CBD products have less than 0.3% THC concentration, so worrying about the high is unnecessary.

    Research And Pain For CBD

    The major medicinal reason why most people use CBD is to control chronic pain, closely followed by controlling joint pain or arthritis. Below is what some research studies have shown regarding this matter.

    Hammell et al. (2016) used a rat model to show that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for arthritis pain relief. Serpell et al. (2014) revealed that CBD might substantially relieve pain for patients with peripheral neuropathy. This condition involves nerve damage and causes numbness, discomfort, and weakening of the hands and feet.

    Factors To Consider When Purchasing CBD Topical Products

    Third-Party Lab Test Results

    CBD isn't yet under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation, so it doesn't assure users of the efficacy and safety of over-the-counter CBD products. Nonetheless, a high-quality CBD product should come with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA). A CoA outlines third-party results by an outside laboratory without a share in the product. You can access the CoA when shopping by scanning the product's QR code using your smartphone. Additionally, most companies have displayed them.

    Type And CBD Source

    You may find CBD extracts as full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Isolates serve clients who want the surety that their CBD doesn't have any THC. Isolates also lack other cannabinoids and terpenes, hindering the entourage effect. The broad-spectrum

    has all the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant except THC. Full-spectrum CBD products have all other cannabinoids of the plant, including terpenes and THC. Hindocha et al.  (2015) showed that CBD and THC function better together than separately. Full-spectrum CBD products only have less than 0.3% THC, which isn't enough to give users a ‘’high.’’

    Study Labels Carefully

    First, you want to ensure that you aren’t allergic to other ingredients that make your topical product. CA (2018) indicated that CBD doesn't cause any allergies. Some users prefer CBD topicals free of some ingredients, such as parabens.

    Consult Your Doctor Before

    It is advisable to consult your doctor before considering trying a CBD product. That's particularly important if you you're under other medications. CBD may interact with other medications you're using, although it may be an important concern for ingested CBD compared to skin products.

    Research Beforehand

    Impulse buying isn't to be applied to CBD products if you want to save cash and frustration. Some CBD products do not state the amount of CBD oil used. So, you spend a lot of money on something you didn't intend; before buying any CBD product, conduct due diligence to purchase a quality product from a reputable source.

    Observe Any Side Effects

    No side effects related to topical CBD products have been reported yet. However, you may experience irritation from other ingredients in your product but not necessarily from CBD. Baswan et al.  (2020) stated that rare CBD adverse effects mostly originate from ingestible and rarely from topicals.


    Study the products' ingredients and their percentages. This helps consumers make an informed decision and remove any ingredients that may cause allergies or be sure about the CBD or THC amount in the products. More importantly, choose organic and naturally US-grown ingredients since they undergo thorough testing and are free from harmful chemicals like pesticides.

    Strength/ Potency

    From a consumer's perspective, a product's strength is among the essential things to consider. It determines how easily the product goes through your skin. Many factors differentiate one CBD oil from another, but strength is key even in establishing a product's cost and optimum therapeutic efficacy. However, this critical factor is often disregarded.

    Your CBD oil's strength is dependent on the amount of CBD it contains. Sometimes the CBD strength of a product may be stated on the label. However, some products can make it harder to identify the exact strength of a product. For such products or those that haven't stated the strength on the label, always ask for the lab test results as they should state.

    Frequency Of Use

    One importance of consulting a doctor before taking any CBD product is that the doctor can assess your diagnosis and response to current medications you may be taking and advise on your dosage. Also, most CBD products on the market aren't regulated by the FDA. So, there aren't any standard doses. You're advised to begin your CBD products at low dosages and slowly work your way up, noting the effects. Topical CBD products are absorbed through the skin and offer a localized effect. Some people use topical CBD products in 4 to 6 hours intervals, depending on the condition you're treating.


    Now that you’re informed about what to look for in a quality topical CBD product, you can shop for your products confidently and identify the one that suits your specific needs. Knowledge before purchase ensures you know what you're getting and not wasting your money. Studying the ingredients ensures you aren't allergic to anything. Confirm the THC amount to ensure it suits your needs if you purchase a full-spectrum topical product. It's safer if you get the CoA of a product for a clearer understanding of the product. Even if a CBD seller makes bold assertions about what the product can do and doesn't have third-party test results, that product isn't worth your money. Always begin with a low dose of a new product and note how you respond before increasing.


               Baswan, S. M., Klosner, A. E., Glynn, K., Rajgopal, A., Malik, K., Yim, S., & Stern, N.

    (2020). Therapeutic potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for skin health and disorders. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 13, 927.

    CA, P. (2018). TALOG.

    Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal Cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain‐related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. European Journal of Pain, 20(6), 936-948.

    Hindocha, C., Freeman, T. P., Schafer, G., Gardener, C., Das, R. K., Morgan, C. J., & Curran, H. V. (2015). Acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabidiol and their combination on facial emotion recognition: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in cannabis users. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 25(3), 325-334.

    Serpell, M., Ratcliffe, S., Hovorka, J., Schofield, M., Taylor, L., Lauder, H., & Ehler, E. (2014). A double‐blind, randomized, placebo‐controlled, parallel-group study of THC/CBD spray in peripheral neuropathic pain treatment. European journal of pain, 18(7), 999-1012.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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