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  • March 11, 2020

CBD Topicals 101: Understanding The Basics Before Applying

CBD or cannabidiol has quickly become a hot ingredient showing up in every type of topical product from skincare to pain relief, and rightfully so. While much of the initial information has been anecdotal, there is more research emerging that may show positive findings that topical CBD products can have significant benefits like localized pain relief and help with inflammation. While there is still a lot of research to be done, you still may be curious to get your hands on some products to experiment with for therapeutic effects for yourself.

We’ve put together a few basics on things you should know when beginning your journey with CBD topicals.

CBD Topical Facts

  • Because topicals are created for topical use and are not ingested, the CBD is legal to be used as long as it contains less than .3% of THC.
  • According to this 2016 study, evidence indicated that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain and inflammation. 
  • In 2018 the American Academy of Dermatology released this statement that topical applications of cannabis show promise for skin diseases due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • When discussing topicals, it can include salves, lotions, oils, balms, serums, etc. It means any product with the intended use to be consumed through an application on the skin and not ingested.

How do CBD topicals work?

On a basic level, topicals provide terpenes and cannabinoids locally that attach to the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors that are a part of the endocannabinoid system. Topicals are not known to enter the bloodstream; they provide benefits locally. The only exception would be something like a transdermal patch, these are designed to deliver CBD and THC into your bloodstream and can provide a high. But products like salves, oils, lotions, gels, etc. are great methods of topical application to experience some of cannabis’ cannabinoids therapeutic benefits. Also, when working in collaboration with other therapeutic ingredients, effects can be enhanced. The possibilities are only just evolving as to what cannabis topicals can do and how they can be woven into existing beneficial ingredients to create therapeutic products.

What types of ailments do CBD topicals help with?

Muscle soreness and inflammation are the most common uses for topicals. While there isn’t enough evidence as of yet, some anecdotal information is pointing towards other benefits of cannabis topicals such as period cramps, skin irritations, headaches, and more.

How to identify good quality CBD topicals?

You have to be aware. This is an industry a lot of people are trying to get their hands on and will be happy to sell you snake oil for a buck. Make sure you do some research to be sure you are experimenting with the highest quality products you can afford. Some basic guidelines include:

  • Is the cannabis being used US-grown?
  • What’s the THC content potency?
  • Has the product been lab-tested, and can you access that certificate of analysis?
  • Understand full spectrum vs. isolate?
  • Know and understand if you’re buying cannabis or hemp-derived CBD.
  • Be wary of prices that are too good to be true.

Remember, be cautious of the hype; this is not a cure-all product. It is known to help with certain ailments, but it’s not going to have magic powers. Just like many other products and claims, it may provide you temporary relief from certain ailments, but everyone is different and can have different effects. Do some good research from reputable sources, so you understand what-is-what in the industry. Hopefully, some of this information will help you on your way to having a positive and enjoyable experience with CBD topicals.