My desire to learn more about CBD
and other cannabinoid compounds has grown exponentially in the last few years
and I have found the benefits of cannabis far outweigh the skepticism of the
My passion has grown so much that I
have started developing my very own line of CBD infused bath & beauty products
and I think these products could benefit my loved ones tremendously. I recognize
that many people are still unaware of all the benefits that cannabis can bring to
the table so I wanted to take a few minutes to explain from a topical perspective.
The talk of CBD is practically new
in the mainstream media and the attention that it has been getting lately has
really rocked my world, and for good reason! Americans are steady pushing to
end the prohibition of marijuana, so much so, that even THC’s little cousin CBD
has jumped into the spotlight. Since more and more people are discovering the
healing properties of CBD, it is showing up in everything from bath bombs to hair
treatments and everything in between. Due to the over saturated CBD market which
has drastically increased in the last 3 years, it is easy to get confused on
which products are legitimate and which ones will leave you confused.
Don’t you worry! In this article, I
am going to give you everything you need to know about the world of CBD
topicals. Whether you have been using CBD for years or diving in to the world
of cannabis treatment for the first time, this guide will help you become the
CBD wiz of your group of friends.
What is a
“Topical” is a word that means balm,
lotion, cream, salve, oil or any other substance that is applied directly to the
body with the intention of treating a specific area. These substances always
have some sort of medicinal element to them like in this case, CBD.
There isn’t much difference in a
cream or body oil, lotion or salve. These products all have the same job
description: to allow the most absorption possible to gain the desired effects
of a CBD treatment. In fact, aside from in unique marketing, the words “salve,”
“balm,” and “ointment” are virtually the same word with little to no real
There will however; always be
differences in the consistency and viscosity of each substance and that will
make a difference in how our skin absorbs the CBD. Lotions and creams tend to
have a higher concentration of water which allows them to spread over the skin
easier and are more quickly absorbed. Balms, salves and ointments, on the other
hand, tend to have a higher concentration of oil, which stays on the skin
longer so that the CBD absorbs more slowly over time.
The topical you choose will largely
depend on what you want to use it for.
Note: If you are using a CBD topical
for a specific medical condition, it is always a great idea to talk with your
doctor about the delivery method that best suits your needs. Otherwise, follow
your gut and your own personal preference for what feels best on your skin.
Does CBD Work?
Before we can understand topicals, we
must first understand how CBD works. Lets get started!
Basically, every living thing with a
spine has receptors all throughout its body that interact with chemicals called
“cannabinoids.” These chemicals are naturally produced by the animal itself. Yes,
it is safe to say that your body is producing cannabinoids all by itself at this
These receptors form a unique network solely for the process of producing and interacting with cannabinoids in the body. This process is called the “endocannabinoid system” (ECS), and is responsible for the regulation of pain, appetite, mood, memory, and the immune system. In short, the ECS helps the body maintain some of its most basic and important functions. Who knew?!?!
Think of it this way: just like a bird knows to eat seeds, a horse knows to eat hay and a tiger knows to eat meat… it is no wonder that we found our self on the topic of cannabis application!
An even more amazing fact is that we
have found cannabinoids which are naturally produced in plants that can
interact with our own ECS and help it do its job. We call these plant-based
chemicals “phytocannabinoids.” They work as vitamins for your ECS.
When we apply CBD directly to the
skin using a topical, it absorbs through the skin and binds with the
cannabinoid receptors near the location of your ailment. Depending on there you
apply the topical, it will bind to the receptor that is closest to the
topical CBD get me high?
No, and there are two main reasons
why it won’t:
First, CBD is NOT psychoactive the
way that its rambunctious cannabinoid cousin THC is, meaning it won’t give you
a feeling of being “high.”
Second, even if there are trace
amounts of THC in your topical (which is common and is always under .3%,) like I
said before, topicals rubbed into the skin don’t make it all the way down to
the bloodstream. The best CBD products will have a little THC because the THC binds
with the CBD and increases the potency of the healing effects up to 60%! Think
of it this way: have you ever used a skin lotion that contains alcohol (check
your ingredients, I bet you have!) or sanitized your skin with rubbing alcohol?
Did you get drunk? I’m guessing not.
Can I use
Studies keep showing that CBD is 100%
safe and has no known level of toxicity, making it virtually impossible to
overdose. The amount of CBD absorbed through topical application is relatively
low, so you should feel confident in using as much topical CBD as you like. Either way, you should always start any new
skin care routine by using a small amount on a test patch of skin to make sure
there are no adverse effects. Start small and work your way up. Plus, you could
have a reaction to one of the other, non-CBD ingredients, so be sure to take
How to use Topical CBD
I want to keep it real, when I see
claims that another brands CBD products can cure everything under the sun from
cancer to hair loss … I start looking for the words “unicorn potion” written
somewhere on the bottle. I want to be clear that CBD is not a magical substance
that will fix anything and everything that’s wrong with you. These implications
are faulty and unethical. I don’t want to leave anyone feeling tricked or
mislead. However, CBD does seem to have some life-changing effects, and even
though scientists are still learning, there is more than enough reason to assume
this is just the beginning of wonderful things for people and CBD.
Here are a few things that CBD is known
We have all felt the effects of our
bodies getting banged up and dinged. Our bodies are like our vehicles. Could
you imagine what a car would look like after being constantly driven around for
80 years? We undoubtedly feel this wear and tear from time to time. Then we add
being a parent, working a day job and playing recreational sports to the mix
and we have a space for CBD to act aka: serious aches and pains. Luckily for us
all, this is a safe haven for CBD to come into our lives and treat our pain
without worrisome addiction fears.
Since we now know about the Endocannabinoid
System and how it helps regulate pain, there are two ways it helps to achieve
this. Firstly, the endocannabinoids in your body naturally helps regulate the
sensations of pain that you feel, and CBD elevates the number of pain-fighting
cannabinoids in your system.
Second, a lot of pain is the result of inflammation, and CBD is a proven anti-inflammatory. In fact, recent studies have shown that topical CBD is effective at reducing pain caused by inflammation in animals! This is particularly good news for those suffering from inflammatory conditions like arthritis and those with acute soreness caused by tissue damage during exercise.
Although more research needs to be done,
I’ve seen enough research on topical CBD to feel confident in saying that everyone
should keep an open mind about using CBD to treat:
It is easy to see why so many companies are turning to CBD to spice up their product line. Since CBD has such strong anti-inflammatory properties, absorbing it directly into the site of the inflammation is a no brainer. Not only that, but you can pack the CBD in a salve or lotion that carries other (hopefully natural) ingredients with tons of skin-healing properties.
The coolest part is that some researchers
found that CBD can help treat acne! When CBD is absorbed into the skin it tends
to inhibit lipid synthesis which limits the amount of sebum (oils) that your
skin produces. In other words, it prevents your skin from overproducing the oils
that clog your pores and generate break outs. How neat!
Again, scientific research is just beginning,
but CBD looks like a great way to treat the body’s largest organ. Here are some
of the skin conditions that CBD might help:
puffy, or inflamed skin
and patchy skin
Although these could be described as
“skin conditions,” it felt worthy enough for its own portion in this article.
Researchers have shown that CBD has strong antibiotic and anti-microbial
properties. Combine that with its anti-inflammatory abilities and you have a
perfect solution for fighting infections of the skin. Researchers
are even turning toward CBD as a way of potentially fighting drug-resistant
bacteria like those that cause staph infections.
But in general, topical CBD might be a
good way of treating:
The ECS is the system responsible for
the euphoric feeling called “runner’s high” that a lot of people experience during
and after physical exercise. So, it’s no surprise that early research is
showing that CBD might be effective in fighting anxiety, depression, and other
sorts of mood regulation.
This goes for CBD that has been ingested,
not CBD that is applied topically. Many companies are putting CBD in products
like head ache oils and bath bombs claiming to induce relaxation. This is a
stretch for me. Remember, topical CBD does not enter the bloodstream, so it has
little chance of getting to the receptors in the brain that would largely be
responsible for shifts in mood.
Many continue to report finding some
success with topical CBD as a way to relax after a long day. I always find a
hot bath/muscle rub to be very relaxing therefore, these claims could be from
the other ingredients in the product, from aromatherapy, or the good ol’
placebo effect. Like I said in the beginning, I am here to be real with you all
so be careful which companies you trust as many can unintentionally be making
CBD is a compound that we are only beginning to better understand, and the early signs are very promising. Given what we know about CBD and how it interacts with our bodies, applying it topically makes perfect sense and has some solid early research to back it up. The thing I love the most about CBD is that all signs lead to it being a safe alternative to other potentially dangerous or side-effect ridden treatments. I look forward to what future researchers discover, and I encourage you to give it a try for yourself!
For those of you who have already taken the plunge into topical CBD, what have your experiences been? I invite you to share your stories and results, good or bad! Send me a message! While the researchers slowly begin to give us the information we need, let’s get a conversation going and help each other through this new and exciting frontier!