When most people think of CBD products, they think of ingesting them somehow, such as taking a tincture or gummy by mouth or incorporating it into food or drink. But CBD is often used without going anywhere near your mouth. We are, of course, talking about topicals. We’ve compiled a quick guide to CBD topicals and what you should know about them.
People often use the term “topical” to refer to medicine. A topical is basically a medication that’s applied to a part of the body—in other words, a balm, cream, lotion, or ointment.
CBD topicals aren’t much different than their counterparts in the world of medicine, at least when it comes to how they’re applied. CBD topicals are creams, lotions, or balms that are applied directly to the skin. They contain CBD oil as well as other nourishing or moisturizing ingredients. People who are new to the world of CBD and who want to ease into using CBD often choose to start out with a cream before they begin using a tincture.
What Are They Used for?
One of the more common ways people use CBD topicals is by applying ointments to aching or even spasming muscles. The skin is the biggest organ in the body, and it absorbs CBD very quickly when the CBD is applied directly to the parts of the body that need it the most. CBD topicals also enhance CBD’s pain- and inflammation-reducing effects with other ingredients that are proven to reduce pain, such as eucalyptus. Our CBD topical creams even contain heating or cooling elements, which can dull soreness and relax muscles, whether you hurt from a long day at work, have a tension headache from bad neck posture, or just went a little too hard at the gym.
CBD topicals don’t just use the skin as a doorway to get to the muscles underneath—the skin itself also responds to CBD. Because of this, CBD topicals are often used for a number of skin issues as well. The potential anti-inflammatory nature of CBD makes it a possible treatment for acme, psoriasis, and even eczema. CBD lotions have also been used to combat dry skin since they can be applied almost anywhere on the body, and CBD has even been incorporated into beauty products such as face masks.
Hair care is a new addition to the assortment of things for which CBD is used, and there’s plenty of reasons why. Along with all the cannabinoids we’ve come to know and love, CBD also contains vitamin E and some good fats such as Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9. All of these promote hair growth and strength. Some people have even suggested that CBD hair products may help with hair loss, though the jury is definitely still out on that one. The attributes that make CBD topicals good skin care products also help it fight dry and itchy scalps.
However, it should be noted that, although both contain CBD, topical creams for skin and hair contain different ingredients. As such, a skin care product might not necessarily have the same benefits for hair as a hair care product, and vice versa. The all-natural ingredients in both probably won’t hurt your hair or skin, but they probably won’t be as effective as the product intended for the purpose.
What’s in CBD Topicals?
Obviously, CBD topicals contain some kind of CBD—often a distillate—but they usually contain other types of natural ingredients as well. Lotions and balms often contain shea butter or coconut butter and essential oil. As we mentioned, balms made for muscles will often include ingredients such as eucalyptus, peppermint, and juniper, which are associated with healthful benefits for the skin and muscles. Hair care products often contain all of these as well as moisturizing ingredients such as hemp seed oil (which is different from CBD oil) and avocado.
Can They Be Ingested?
For the love of all things CBD, do not try to eat a topical. It contains things other than CBD that make it a great product for your skin, but not good for a midday snack. (You can eat aloe vera, too, but that doesn’t mean you should nosh on aloe vera-based body wash.) If you want to ingest CBD, stick to tinctures and gummies.
Are There Risks?
The nice thing to know about CBD topicals is that very few risks are associated with them. Afterall, CBD itself is perfectly safe, so why wouldn’t a lotion made of it be? The biggest possible risk related to CBD topicals comes not from the CBD itself, but from the other ingredients found in them. Typically, CBD topicals use all-natural ingredients (we know ours do). However, if you’re allergic to one of them and you don’t realize it before you apply the topical, you could have a reaction. As with any product, be sure to review the ingredients before using it.
The other major risk comes when you use the product incorrectly—and this goes beyond trying to eat it. Because lotions are so good for this skin, some people may be inclined to apply it to a cut or burn. But in general, this isn’t recommended unless a physician has advised it or if the lotion or balm was intended for the purpose. That’s true of most CBD lotions as well. Because CBD isn’t officially approved to treat any disease or condition, you shouldn’t apply it thinking it will help the wound heal.
What Should I Know about Dosage?
The Federal Drug Administration does not have an official dosage chart for any CBD product—topicals included. As always, it’s good to start slow when you’re trying a new CBD product to see how it affects you, though manufacturers will usually have recommendations for proper use. Keep in mind that even though CBD topicals are absorbed quickly, they may still take some time to kick in, so don’t be too hasty to put more on.