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  • by Nicola Boulton August 17, 2022 6 min read


    Cannabinoids. A chemical compound in a cannabis plant strain has sparked interest amongst older and younger folks. With the dramatic ecstasy surrounding this interesting product, it is important to shed more light on it and distinguish how much of it a person needs.

    Topical CBD is different from other forms of CBD, such as CBD gummies, CBD capsules, and oils and tinctures. While these forms of CBD are popular, especially for recreational use, topical CBD is processed in balms, salves, lotions, and creams, majorly for medical and therapeutic purposes. With that said, how much topical CBD should a person use? This article discusses the dosage of CBD topicals, the benefits, and the difference between CBD and THC, among others.


    CBD vs. THC: A deconstruction

    According to Meissner& Cascella (2021)., CBD is a non-psychotropic chemical compound in hemp, while THC is a psychoactive chemical compound found in marijuana. To understand this better, hemp and marijuana are plant strains of the cannabis plant. Both strains contain CBD and THC, although marijuana contains significantly higher amounts of THC (2.5%), while hemp contains higher amounts of CBD and lower THC amounts. It is, therefore, safe to say that CBD does not cause someone to feel “high” after using it.  

    Furthermore, terpenes and flavonoids are other chemical compounds found in CBD. Oleinik (2022) reported that terpenes contain anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, neuroprotective, and anti-fungal properties that alleviate pain, ease body tension, and relax the muscles. Crippa et al. (2004) added that terpenes could treat cancer, diabetes, mood, and anxiety disorders. Examples of common terpenes include linalool, myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene, and limonene.

    Is CBD Legal?

    Congress successfully passed the Farm Bill in 2018. This legislation was viewed as a revolutionary advancement by medics and CBD fanatics. The legislation aimed to redefine hemp according to the Controlled Substances Act and classify it as a legal drug under Federal law. However, state governments hold the power to create laws and regulations concerning CBD administration in their respective states. 36 states have legalized the medical use of CBD, while 14 other states have legalized recreational use of CBD

    The Safety Of Topical CBD

    Topical CBD contains broad-spectrum CBD. To mention it briefly, broad-spectrum CBD contains all other chemical compounds found in hemp, except THC. This exempts it from any psychoactive properties. There are other types of CBD, such as the full spectrum CBD and isolate CBD.

    Topical CBD is usually applied to the skin since it is processed through lotions, balms, salves, and creams. Therefore, topical CBD does not directly interact with the blood as it is not absorbed into the bloodstream, further mitigating possible side effects such as drowsiness and fatigue.

    How Topical CBD Works

    CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the brain (CBD). The endocannabinoid plays a key role in regulating various body functions such as immune response, memory, sleep, and homeostatic processes. Some endocannabinoid receptor locations include but are not limited to the spinal cord, nerve cells in the brain, spleen, and white blood cells. Therefore, when applying topical CBD, endocannabinoid receptors send signals to the brain to reduce pain in the affected area.

    It is worth understanding how topical CBD works on the skin since this is where topical CBD is primarily applied. The skin has two layers: the dermis and epidermis. The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin that contains pores and scars, while the dermis is the inner layer that contains different skin cells, blood vessels, and hair follicles.

    How Much Topical CBD Should I Use?

    Topical CBD dosage would depend on your endocannabinoid system and the conditions you aim to treat. Dosage is usually measured and expressed in milligrams. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for emotions, behavior, and regulation of homeostatic processes. Since topical CBD can be applied on the skin, it is advisable to always start with low doses and slowly increase your dose. Always feel free to consult a certified medic who’s well versed with CBD products to give you further clarifications on the amount of topical CBD you should use. Remember to read the product label to determine the dosage labeled.

    To treat certain conditions, certain doses are recommended since they are moderate in amount and work effectively for most people. To treat arthritis, it is advisable to take a maximum of 250mg when applied topically and 30mg daily. Other common dosages include:

    • 300-600mg a day to treat anxiety
    • 400-800mg a day to treat opioid addiction
    • 30mg per day to treat cancer-related pain

    Benefits Of Applying The Right Amounts Of CBD Topically

    According to Curcio et al. (2021), topical CBD primarily alleviates pain in joints and muscles. Lord et al.  (2022) showed that applying CBD topically has proven to treat arthritis, jaw pain, acne, and peripheral neuropathy, which refers to nerve cell damage that otherwise results in numbness and discomfort. The ability of topical CBD to help reduce pain or treat these diseases can be accredited to the anti-inflammatory properties that topical CBD has.

    CBD Overdose And Possible Side Effects

    Is it possible for someone to overdose on CBD? Häuser et al.  (2018) reported that CBD has anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties, and there are various dosage recommendations. It is advisable only to consume a maximum of 1500mg of CBD per day.

    Possible side effects of overdosing on CBD include drowsiness, diarrhea, dry mouth, stomach upsets, lightheadedness, and vomiting. In extreme cases, liver damage is possible, although this is quite rare.

    It is important to understand that CBD may interact with certain medications and cause several problems. For example, people taking thyroid and heart rhythm medications must be careful not to overdose while taking CBD.

    What To Look For When Purchasing CBD Topicals

    There are certain factors to consider when purchasing topical CBD. It is important to take heed of these precautions, as they are aimed to ensure you maximize the benefits of topical CBD products while minimizing possible health risks.

    Purchase topical CBD products that have undergone thorough independent third-party testing. Laboratory testing is important in ensuring that the purity levels are high and that there are no toxic chemicals in the topical CBD product.

    It is advisable to purchase products extracted by pressurized CO2, as this extraction method maintains higher purity and potency levels than alcohol extraction.

    According to  Argueta et al. (2020), purchasing low-quality CBD topicals can cause acne and detrimental skin breakouts.

    Furthermore, ensure you conduct proper research about the particular product you perform. The price of the product may not always be an intuitive guide to the quality of the product; therefore, it is incumbent on you to read customer reviews and the company’s policies. Learn more about can cannabis topicals get you high?


    Topical CBD comes in various forms, such as creams, lotions, balms, and salves. Remember to start using low doses of CBD before advancing higher. Overdosing can cause many side effects; thus, you should not consume more than 1500mg of CBD products daily. Purchase high-quality CBD products to maximize health benefits and minimize possible health risks.CBD topicals have anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate the pain in arthritis and neuropathy patients. It is advisable that before using any CBD product, consult a health professional to determine the suitability and the appropriate dosage.


    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.

    Curcio, A., Nano, F., Pironti, M., Marchitto, N., Pannozzi, A., & Bilo, L. L. (2021). In vitro Study Evaluating the Influence of Vehicle in the Permeability Process of a Topical Composition Containing Cannabis Sativa Oil, Escin, Bromelain, Glucosamine Sulphate, Methylsulfonylmethane, Methylsalicylate and Boswellia Extract, Designed for Local Treatment of Musculoskeletal Painful and Inflammatory Conditions. J Clin Chem Lab Med, 4, 188.

    Crippa, J. A., Guimarães, F. S., Campos, A. C., & Zuardi, A. W. (2018). Translational investigation of the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD): toward a new age. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 2009


    Häuser, W., Finn, D., Kalso, E., Krcevski-Skvarc, N., Kress, N. G., Morlion, B., ... & Brill, S. (2018). Vaporizing flower/bud in a vaporizing device, or a regulated cannabis vape pen (cartridges). European Journal of Internal Medicine, 40, 12-19.

    Lord, S., Hardy, J., & Good, P. (2022). Does Cannabidiol Have a Benefit as a Supportive Care Drug in Cancer?. Current Treatment Options in Oncology, 1-12.

    Meissner, H., & Cascella, M. (2021). Cannabidiol (CBD). In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing

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

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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