CBD cream and other topicals may not be the most well-known forms of CBD, but that’s changing. And something you should be aware of if you suffer from any skin issues. CBD creams come in various forms, which are all celebrated for their pain relief qualities and skincare benefits. CBD topicals go by a handful of names that range from salves, lotions, and balms. Why do they have so many names? Whenever we have a question like that, we usually blame the marketing department. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have benefits.
The number of brands producing hemp-infused CBD creams and lotions is increasing every day. Mainly because there is such a large market for them. And for a good reason. Many people find CBD topicals to be a helpful way to soothe pain, inflammation, and skin issues. Keen to use these products for yourself? Here is everything you need to know about CBD creams and other topicals.
How does CBD cream work?
CBD creams are products that are typically applied directly to the skin to address certain issues. Known for its healing properties, CBD has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Which can be beneficial for redness, dry skin, acne, and muscle soreness.
CBD is able to penetrate the dermal and subdermal skin layers. So it can affect the skin at a deeper level than many other ingredients.
What to consider in CBD creams and topicals
Like with any other product you’re exposing to your body, there are some basics you should think about.
As previously mentioned, the skin is thick and so CBD does not easily pass through it. This is why you should use a potent product for the best results.
The average CBD topical product contains between 3 and 8mg of CBD per recommended application. High-potency products contain at least 8mg per recommended application.
You may have seen the terms CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD, and broad-spectrum CBD before. These terms refer to the contents of the CBD product, and whether it contains other cannabinoids or not.
Isolates, on the other hand, contain zero THC. So they don’t contain other cannabinoids and terpenes. Which means the overall therapeutic benefits of the CBD are reduced.
Broad-spectrum products contain most cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, excepting for THC.
Full-spectrum products, on the other hand, include all cannabinoids and terpenes that are found in the plant. This includes THC. Many people prefer full-spectrum products because CBD and THC may work better together than they do alone. But isolate and broad spectrum are better for anyone who doesn’t want to consume any amount of THC.
Opt for all-natural, organic ingredients whenever available — you’ll get all the benefits of the ingredients without the chemicals and pesticides.
When looking at facial products, look out for ingredients that could irritate sensitive skin.
Also Read: Can CBD lower blood pressure?
Most CBD topicals are safe to apply and reapply as needed. But one problem is CBD creams and lotions usually cost a bit more.
Most CBD topicals fall in the $30–$60 range. However, there are many luxury products that cost over $100 per product.
Before you spend this much on CBD topicals, ask yourself whether the product is truly high-quality. Does it contain additional beneficial ingredients? Is the CBD from a high-quality source? Is it potent enough?
Be sure to compare prices to other brands’ products.
Also Read: 5 ways to increase CBD absorption
The advantages of CBD Cream
The topical application of CBD is great because it can be applied directly to the area that’s affected. This way it can provide targeted relief to the specific area where it is needed.
CBD cream can help with inflammation, pain, and skin irritations
Most cases of chronic pain and inflammation are related to medical conditions. These can include joint degeneration, autoimmune disorders, and acute injuries. For instance, many people who suffer from arthritis often report pain in their joints and muscles.
Many people also suffer from psoriasis, which is characterized by an abnormal division of skin cells. Psoriasis can cause visible white flakes and red patches on the skin. Not only can this be painful, some patients report that these symptoms cause them emotional distress.
Topicals are an excellent option for localized pain because once they are applied. They interact with the endocannabinoid receptors that are found under your skin, offering relief.
A promising treatment for acne
Acne is the most common skin condition in humans. And while we usually equate it to a teenage problem, it affects many adults, too. It is the result of sebum mixing with dead skin cells, dirt, or other pollutants. All of which then become trapped inside a pore.
A 2014 study looked at the effects of CBD on human sebocytes. They produce sebum – the natural oils that are produced by your skin to keep it healthy. The researchers found CBD regulated sebum production, preventing it from producing too much oil.
Additionally, a 2016 review highlighted that cannabinoids have antibacterial and anti-fungal effects. Which can be useful in treating certain skin issues.
It’s important to note that CBD hasn’t been tested as a potential acne treatment in any human trials. It’s still too early to say whether CBD can help issues around acne.
Limited potential side effects
When used topically or taken orally, CBD is generally considered safe. There are, however, still a few common potential side effects to be aware of. Even though most are likely to be mild.
- drowsiness and sedation
- appetite changes
- interference with other medications you’re taking
- gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea
Since CBD topicals don’t enter the bloodstream once they are applied, there is a reduced risk of potential side effects. Especially when compared to oils, capsules or vapes.
The drawbacks of CBD creams
As with other CBD delivery methods, topicals do have their drawbacks too. Here are some of the cons you should know.
CBD creams won’t work on deeper, internal issues
CBD topicals aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream as much since they are applied to the skin. So they won’t necessarily work on deeper, internal conditions. If you want to use CBD for something like anxiety or sleep, we recommend using an oil or capsule. CBD creams won’t be as effective for those types of issues. And it will cost you a whole lot more.
And we always suggest consulting your physician whenever starting a CBD regimen or increasing your dosage.
It’s more suitable for a small area
CBD topicals are great for treating patches of skin. As well as localized pain like a joint, muscle, or the abdomen for menstrual cramps. But it’ll likely not be economical to use for full-body pain and conditions.
If you find that you need multiple applications throughout the day that may cost you an arm and a leg. We recommend exploring other forms of CBD-infused products. CBD oil, capsules, or even pre-rolls may be a better alternative.
Is CBD cream legal?
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabinoids derived from industrial hemp, containing less than 0.3 percent THC, are legal. So if you’re in the United States, hemp-derived CBD products are federally legal, no matter what state you’re in.
CBD cream has some interesting potential benefits to a wide array of skin issues. We recommend trying it if you have a localized problem area. As it can become extremely expensive if you need to use it on large parts of your body. It’s not ideal for issues like anxiety or sleep, either (stick with oils, capsules or vapes). But if you have a anything from dry skin, redness, inflammation or something more serious like psoriasis, a CBD cream is worth trying.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer based in Cape Town, South Africa and she has written for publications such as Healthline, Greatist, and Psych Central to name a few.