A guide to CBD topicals, balms, and lotions


CBD products are not only popular, but also far easier to get your hands on than widely prohibited THC products. There are many ways to use CBD, but topicals are one of the most accessible. However, before choosing one off the shelf or online, there are a few things to know first.

What are CBD topicals?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound produced by cannabis and hemp plants. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t produce a feeling of being high.

CBD topicals such as lotions, balms, gels, or creams are infused with CBD to produce skin-friendly products that contain the medicinal properties of CBD. In topical form, CBD is most popularly used for managing pain and inflammation.

Is a CBD topical right for me?

CBD topicals penetrate the skin to provide targeted relief, without entering the bloodstream. This makes them a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to focus the healing properties in specific problem areas rather than feel the effects throughout their body. CBD topicals can potentially provide relief for a variety of pain, headache, and skin issues such as:

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Foot or hand pain
  • Arthritis

Lo Friesen, lead chemist for cannabis wellness company, believes CBD topicals are also a fantastic preventative medicine. She says using these topicals every day, multiple times a day allows the body to not only uptake CBD quicker, but also build a CBD level in those areas and prevent worsening inflammation.

“It’s just preventative maintenance,” says Friesen. “For example, people who have arthritis in their hands who use [CBD topicals] on their hands every day are going to have less pain, less inflammation. They’re going to have less pain in their hands over time than people who use it to treat [the pain as it happens].”

What other ingredients are in CBD topicals?

Some CBD topicals may have bases such as shea butter, or oils like coconut, avocado, jojoba, or vitamin E. These nourishing ingredients are great for the skin, providing added benefit to the medicinal properties of CBD. It’s also possible to find more traditional lotions with CBD or products with an Aquaphor base.

While lotions will be water based, creams usually have a fat or oil base, and balms a thicker base such as beeswax. Water-based lotions absorb more quickly into the skin, but oil-based CBD topicals are more easily absorbed and get into the skin deeper. Meanwhile, gels can be useful for easier thicker application, making them possibly preferable for those with reduced hand dexterity, such as arthritis patients.

At the end of the day however, Friesen says, “Just take your favorite skin care product and find something with similar ingredients, add CBD, and you’ve already made it better.”

Source: Leafly (Rae Lland)

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