Much like oils, tinctures, and edibles, topicals are another popular CBD delivery method. CBD topicals come in various forms, which are all celebrated for their pain relief qualities and skincare benefits. These include salves, lotions, and creams. But what are some of the pros and cons of CBD topicals? Should you slather yourself up in CBD? In short: It depends on what you’re looking for.
Salves are a semi-solid substance that’s usually made with oils and waxes, such as coconut oil and beeswax. They are not as easily absorbed as lotions and creams so they stay on the surface of your skin longer. Hence their effects can be longer lasting – for up to 6 hours.
On the other hand, lotions and creams are made with a combination of oil and water. They not only hydrate the skin, they can also protect against moisture loss. As with CBD bath bombs containing epsom salts and essential oils, many CBD-infused lotions and creams contain additional ingredients. These can include ingredients such as shea butter and aloe vera gel. Those ingredients improve lotions and creams’ skin-soothing and rejuvenating properties. In addition to moisturizing your skin, the effects of CBD lotions and creams last between 4 – 6 hours.
Here are some of the pros and cons of CBD topicals.
The advantages of CBD topicals
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.
Pro #1: CBD topicals can help with inflammation, pain and skin irritations
Most cases of chronic pain and inflammation are related to medical conditions. These can range from joint degeneration, autoimmune disorders, diseases 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 that can cause visible white flakes and red patches. Not only can this be painful – some patients report that these symptoms make them feel embarrassed.
Whether you’re dealing with localized pain in your back or knee, a skin condition like acne or psoriasis, or post-workout pain. CBD topicals can provide relief to these specific areas.
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.
Pro #2: Limited potential side effects
CBD is generally considered safe when used topically or taken orally. There are however, still a few common potential side effects to be aware of. Although though most are likely to be mild. These include drowsiness and sedation, appetite changes, interference with other medications you’re taking, and gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea. Dry mouth – also known as “cotton mouth” – is more common with THC, it can happen with CBD too.
Unlike with other CBD-infused products such as oils, tinctures, and vapes, topicals don’t enter the bloodstream once they are applied. This means that the risk of experiencing the potential side effects is significantly lower.
Also Read: Everything you need to know about CBD cream
Pro #3: CBD topical can form part of a relaxing ritual
Using CBD topicals can be an excellent addition to your relaxation and self-care rituals. Various CBD-infused products can be used as part of your daily skincare ritual. Alternatively, you could try a CBD-infused massage, or in a luxurious bath soak with a CBD bath bomb. But do CBD bath bombs have the same effect as other CBD products you ingest? We don’t think they absorb the same, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value.
These rituals are inherently therapeutic for your mind and body. And if adding CBD to your soak makes it feel a little more therapeutic, then do it. That’s an important part of why you’re taking a bath in the first place.
Also Read: 5 ways to increase CBD absorption
The drawbacks of CBD topicals
As with other CBD delivery methods, topicals do have their drawbacks too. Here are some of the cons you should know.
Also Read: Is CBD-infused makeup legit?
Con #1: CBD topicals won’t work on deeper, internal issues
CBD topicals aren’t significantly absorbed into the bloodstream when they are applied to the skin. So they won’t necessarily work on deeper, internal conditions. For instance, CBD can be used as part of a treatment plan for anxiety disorders. But in those cases it still needs to be ingested as an oil or capsule rather than applied topically.
Don’t swap out a CBD topical if If you’re treating conditions such as anxiety disorders or even migraine headaches. Rather, speak to a CBD-friendly doctor who can guide your use of CBD as part of your treatment plan.
And as our Dr. Neil Shah points out: CBD topicals works best on the skins sites with the best penetration of drugs. Your face and neck will absorb more than your arms and chest.
Also read: Consider this before using CBD vape oil
Con #2: It can be pricey
Most CBD topicals are safe to apply and reapply as needed. But they cost more than non-CBD infused products. So always make sure you’re getting a high quality product that’s worth your hard earned dollars. And ask what other ingredients do they have? We always like to see products with fewer ingredients. And with names that we can pronounce. The more natural the better. If a company is skimping on their non-CBD ingredients, that’s usually a bad sign.
Con #3: It’s more suitable for a small area
CBD topicals are great for treating patches of skin like in the case of acne or psoriasis. 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. And who wants to cover their entire body in a lotion. That’s…not so comfortable.
It may be better to explore the use of other forms of CBD-infused products, such as CBD oil or CBD capsules if you need to cover larger areas of skin or your whole body.
In Conclusion: The Pros and Cons of CBD Topicals
As with all things, knowing the advantages and drawbacks of the products is important. And knowing your particular needs can help you to make a more informed decision about what’s ultimately best for you. Many people have found CBD topicals to be a helpful addition to their daily routine.
Still not sure if CBD topicals will suit your specific lifestyle and needs? Feel free to experiment with the different delivery methods. And as always, you should speak to your doctor before starting any CBD regimen. They can help you make the best decisions for you CBD topical needs.
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.