6 Uses for Topical CBD

man applying CBD topical ointment to hands with skin condition

Advocates tout topical CBD as the new big thing in health and skincare.

The uses for topical CBD seem to be many. Its use is promoted everywhere and for nearly every health purpose imaginable. Users claim that CBD, often combined with other ingredients, fights skin conditions, pain, and inflammation.

Topical CBD comes in many forms.

Topical CBD comes several forms: oils, salves or balms, lotions, as well as patches and CBD-infused bath soaks and salts. It’s used in the same way any cream or ointment might be used—rubbed on or otherwise applied directly to the skin as one would with Saving Grace Relief Rub.

A full-spectrum CBD oil is rich in phytocannabinoids and terpenes that occur naturally in cannabis. The oil will also include some combination of flavonoids, waxes, amino acids, and other active compounds found in Cannabis sativa. CBD is the active ingredient in topical balms, lotions, and salves.

CBD paste is not a paste in the traditional form. It’s a dense liquid-like combination of CBD extract and waxes or butter. The addition of beeswax or butter allows for a more standardized level of highly concentrated CBD. The extract can be from cannabis, hemp, or a pure CBD isolate.

CBD balm contains full-spectrum CBD oil that also includes some combination of other botanicals and shea butter, coconut oil, or other saturated fatty acids as a carrier mechanism. Also, it contains beeswax or soy wax.

Another common form for topical CBD is a salve or ointment, similar to CBD balms or pastes, but dryer.

The decision about which form of topical CBD largely depends on how it’s used and personal choice.

Topical CBD uses for skincare.

CBD is a potent antioxidant that strengthens the skin’s defense and regeneration mechanisms. People who use CBD in topical applications argue that it potentially relieves or heals several skin problems. Eczema, psoriasis, acne, and chronically dry skin are the more common uses for topical CBD. There are also claims that topical CBD applications are useful for wound care, speeding the healing process.

Human skin only absorbs just so much CBD; the skin is designed to block substances from entering the body. What does penetrate works with nearby receptors, so relief is targeted in a specific area. For general facial skincare, research suggests that CBD helps to balance and stimulate oil production. Wrinkles and fine lines are especially visible on dry skin. Increased oil production will help reduce the effects of aging on the skin.

The skin’s absorption rate is very low. The use of topical CBD for skincare works best when it’s applied generously—thickly enough to permeate the dermal barrier. It’s best if lotions, balms, salves have a very high CBD concentration.

Hemp seed oil is expressed from hemp seeds, as its name suggests, and high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. There is no CBD in hemp seed oil. CBD oil is extracted from the entire hemp plant. With hemp seed oil as the carrier oil, CBD lotions offer natural and effective nourishment and moisture for all skin types.

Topical CBD uses for pain and inflammation.

Pain and inflammation are symptoms of many complex skin conditions, especially psoriasis and eczema, as well as acne. Arthritis and fibromyalgia sufferers also experience joint pain and inflammation. Research is ongoing into the underlying effects of oxidative stress on these conditions.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. When free radicals outnumber antioxidants, oxidative stress occurs. The body’s immune system uses oxidative stress to fight infections and to promote tissue repair.

When it occurs too often, oxidative stress can lead to chronic pain and inflammation, as well as organ and tissue damage. Redness, swelling, and pain, as well as stiffness, are symptoms of oxidative stress.

Research into the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) has shown that it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in distinct ways. Researchers believe CBD has promising potential for development as an anti-inflammatory treatment for neuropathic pain and ischemia-reperfusion injury (similar to what happens in severe frostbite cases). CBD also shows promise for the treatment of as eczema, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and arthritis, as mentioned above. Reducing inflammation can help to alleviate pain.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease typified by red, scaly patches on the skin. It usually appears on elbows, knees, and the scalp. Symptoms include pain and discomfort, as well as self-esteem issues. So far, limited research has shown that topical CBD slowed the growth and skin cell division that typifies a psoriasis outbreak. It also helped to relieve the pain and itchy, irritated skin that psoriasis sufferers endure.

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that makes skin red and itchy. Though someone with eczema may experience periods of nearly healthy skin, eczema tends to flare from time to time. Although it’s treatable, there is no known cure. Using CBD for eczema helps soothe eczema because it reduces inflammation. Also, the added moisturizers that are combined with CBD in balms and lotions relieve dry skin. Additionally, CBD soothes itching and relieves pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks joint cartilage and bone, especially in the knee, hip, and bone joints. As a result, it causes pain and stiffness in the affected joints. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease, affects the same joints in the same way: pain and stiffness. Together, the two forms affect more than 50 million people in the US, and it’s the leading cause of disability.

CBD use for arthritic joint pain appears to be useful for many people. CBD balm has also been shown to be effective for more minor muscle aches and pains, such as post-workout. Because of the dermal barrier, CBD doesn’t enter the bloodstream, making CBD balms especially useful for localized pain and swelling.

The growing body of CBD research has shown that its topical use has applications as an anti-inflammatory, although more research is needed. Inflammation and the resulting pain and stiffness of arthritis and fibromyalgia make CBD an appealing topical treatment. Research the use of CBD for skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis also shows promise.

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Andrew Mattison

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