Does Topical CBD Work? 

CBD is a hot topic – and now CBD topicals are, too. But does topical CBD really work? 

With all the possible products to purchase, you want to make sure that you choose the one (or, let’s be honest, two or three) that brings you all the best benefits. 

Whether you’re looking to do a little self-care or curb some chronic pain, skeptical, or a superfan, here is what you need to know about how well topical CBD works. 

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, a chemical compound produced by the hemp variety of the cannabis Sativa plant. 

Though similar to its relative tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), (the cannabinoid compound that creates psychoactive effects in weed), which is derived from the marijuana subspecies of cannabis, CBD will not get you high. 

CBD has been applied for centuries and has been traditionally used to help aid pain and inflammation. 

Modern-day CBD has expanded to include remedies for sleeplessness, anxiety, and overall health and wellness additives. 

The most recent CBD advancements include scientific studies that show CBD can be used as an anti-seizure medication and help reduce cancer growth. 

Today, cannabidiol is put in beauty and skincare products and ointments made for targeting medical conditions – a rebranded sector of CBD known as CBD topicals. 

How Does Topical CBD Work? 

Applying CBD topically works because it is processed through one of our body’s biological systems. 

The endocannabinoid system or ECS is a complex structure that regulates homeostasis or a natural, physiological balance within the body.

The ECS network monitors sleep, appetite, immunity, anxiety, inflammation, and even pain. 

It also acts as an internal communication grid, facilitating connection with the rest of your body’s system and organs. 

The communication provided by the ECS also includes the Central Nervous system or CNS – a prominent aspect of pain and pain management. 

The ECS is the infrastructure that allows CBD to enter and travel throughout your body. 

When CBD interacts with your body topically, it is absorbed into your body through your skin.

As the CBD is absorbed, it is met by endocannabinoid receptors that are a part of the ECS tract. 

The receptors function as communication transmitters and alert the rest of your body what kind of responses, actions, or effects need to occur.  

As the receptors are translating messages, enzymes break them down, and they are sent through your bloodstream to the rest of your body. 

The ECS receptors receive the intake of CBD, and the ECS system processes and distributes it. 

Without the ECS, the effects of CBD wouldn’t be able to be felt. 

How Well Does Topical or Transdermal CBD Work? 

Many CBD users will readily offer their testimony when it comes to CBD. But can the stories really be true? 

One study conducted on patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy, numbness, or weakness resulting from nerve damage found that applying CBD transdermally can significantly improve pain. 

Another study on arthritis (swelling of the joints) concluded that transdermally applied CBD can minimize joint swelling and inflammation and subsequent pain without producing any side effects. 

The reason that topical CBD is so often used to alleviate pain and swelling is that when it contacts your ECS receptors, it can change the sensitivity of those receptors. 

These alternative states make the painful feeling less apparent and reduce inflammatory responses. 

A study also showed that CBD assisted in blister reduction and wound healing in pediatric patients.

Research posits that transdermal administration of CBD (applying CBD through your skin) not only produces similar results to that of other ingestion preferences, but it provides other benefits as well. 

For example, topical or transdermal CBD is not subject to the same metabolic processes that sublingual or oral ingestion are, which strengthens the CBD’s bioavailability. 

Topical application will also facilitate a slow, steady absorption of CBD. 

This means that although initial CBD onset may take longer than other ingestion methods (usually between an hour or two), the effects will last longer and bypass peak concentration.

Avoiding drug peaks better suits patients looking to temper chronic pain or for those looking to target specific, localized symptoms such as acne.

Topical CBD can offer them a more constant, consistent form of relief or remedy.

CBD Skincare

In addition to pain relief and anti-inflammation, research indicates that CBD can treat dermatological conditions as well.

CBD could help prevent the development of skin disorders, such as psoriasis, by inhibiting uncontrolled skin cells. 

CBD has also been shown to deter sebum production and inflammation and operate as an antibacterial and antifungal agent. 

Oil secretion is one common cause of acne. Because CBD can enter your body through your dermal follicles (the hair on your skin) and move into your sebaceous glands, it can mitigate oil secretion.

For those dealing with acne or skin issues on the other, drier, end of the scale, CBD can help with dry, itchy, or irritated skin, too.

CBD has the potential to reduce symptoms of eczema or dermatitis, conditions that can make your skin feel itchy or appear red.

The carrier oils your CBD is mixed with can also elevate CBD’s skincare benefits. 

Common carrier oils include coconut, olive, and hempseed oil. 

Coconut, olive oil, and hemp seed oil are naturally moisturizing. Hemp seed, in particular, moistures your skin without clogging your pores. 

It can also prevent aging and atopic dermatitis and foster new skin cell generation and growth. 

Inflammation and redness are also characteristics of ance. CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation can lead to reduced swelling, blemishes, and scars. 

What’s more, the antioxidant properties in CBD can prevent collagen loss and promote wrinkle prevention.

All of CBD’s anti-acne efforts are aided by its potential for reducing stress and anxiety, underlying pro-acne antagonists. 

Relieving stress, pain, and inflammation and preventing collagen loss, wrinkles, and oil production means CBD can help you put your best face forward. 

How Should I Use Topical CBD? 

With CBD lotions, balms, salves, scrubs, chapsticks, bath bombs, sunscreens, rubs, ointments, and other topical skin products, choosing the right product can feel a bit overwhelming. 

Start by thinking about what symptoms you want to target and where you will be using your topical, and then you can consider how much you might need.

Applying CBD to specifically impacted areas can provide a more concentrated effect and permit elevated blood absorption. 

The higher amount of CBD topical product used, the more intense the relief will be. 

Transdermal patches are also available to those looking for an even more direct approach. 

Transdermal patches can be applied directly onto your skin and afford users a more potent dosage that can be released over hours. 

Using other CBD products in combination with your topicals can help offset any overlap in CBD dosage onsets, too. 

Various levels of pain management or symptom suppressing might call for doubling up on prevention and protection. 

Using topical CBD in tandem with sublingual, edible, or vape CBD products might be the dual-action you’ve been looking for. 

For those combating medical conditions or chronic ailments, talk to your doctor about topical CBD products and recommendations for use. 

Still feeling unsure how or where to begin or what product to switch to? Try a few different CBD topicals and allow them some time to work- because it can- and the best person to give a review is you. 


author avatar
Jack Studebaker

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