So, you’ve decided to try topical CBD products, but you aren’t sure where to start? Knowing the benefits of CBD skin creams, conditions they might treat, reasons to try them, possible side effects, and how to shop for CBD creams can actually take a lot of research.
Whether your goal is general wellness or treating aches and pains, there are probably more options out there than you think when it comes to CBD products. And the variety in delivery routes can verge on confusing, with everything from CBD gummies to CBD tinctures of many strengths, to capsules.
Here are some surprising health benefits and uses for CBD cream, and some facts you may not have known.
Most CBD Lotions and Creams are THC-free
In nature, the Cannabis sativa plant creates many chemicals, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the chemical that has psychoactive qualities.
Typically, CBD skin creams are made with broad-spectrum CBD. These CBD skin care products contain CBD along with other naturally occurring cannabinoids, but little to no THC. So most CBD creams can benefit people who want to avoid any THC. There are also many topical creams made with CBD isolate, which has no THC at all, and is just pure CBD extract.
Palliative Care and Major Pain Management
A recent study found that many patients receiving palliative care use CBD and medical marijuana products safely and regularly, especially topical products, to treat pain caused by many different medical conditions.
Can CBD Topicals Nourish Dry Skin?
Definitely! Manufacturers typically extract CBD and suspend it in hemp seed oil, coconut oil, or other carrier oils. They then use these CBD oils as the base for a rich skin cream or lotion. From there, additional moisturizing ingredients can create CBD topicals that are highly effectively at treating dry skin and other skin conditions. Look for CBD balms and ointments with ingredients such as shea butter, aloe vera, beeswax, coconut oil, and vitamin E.
General Anti-inflammatory Qualities
Research suggests that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat joint pain and reduce the symptoms of several skin conditions. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it remains unclear whether CBD is as effective at treating pain as NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.
CBD Topicals Can Treat Arthritis
Topical CBD products may help treat inflammation and related long-lasting behaviors related to arthritis according to some research.
Treat Surface Irritation and Acute Pain
Unlike oral medications, you can apply CBD pain relief salves, creams, ointments, balms, and lotions and massage your skin wherever you experience acute pain. For example, massage the CBD cream right into an injured shoulder or get a friend to give you a CBD massage to treat back pain. CBD topicals treat pain and surface irritation and can sometimes also treat deeper muscle aches and inflammation.
Many CBD topicals can produce the entourage effect. This happens when CBD and THC work together to produce more benefits as the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors and the various plant chemicals interact. For this reason, many consumers prefer full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products. Full-spectrum CBD products preserve all the cannabinoids, flavonoids, essential oils, and terpenes from the hemp plant. They have traces of THC, but less than 0.3 percent.
Botanicals for Pain
CBD topicals with specific pain relief ingredients can feel cool or warm on the skin. Test how your skin experiences them on your wrist first, especially if you have sensitive skin, with just a small amount of the CBD cream to rule out irritation. To treat aches and pains, look for CBD topicals with additional non-GMO pain-relieving ingredients such as menthol, arnica, or camphor. Some CBD transdermal patches also deliver CBD with these kinds of botanicals.
A 2019 study indicated that the jaw pain and stiffeness caused by temporomandibular disorder (TMD) can be reduced or improved by CBD products.
Treat Eczema, Acne, and Psoriasis
CBD may help treat eczema, acne, and psoriasis due to its anti-inflammatory properties according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD).
Good Brands are Open With Customers
Right now there is not much regulation on this market, but the good news is that the best brands are very open with customers. You should be able to see certifications, evidence of manufacturing processes, customer reviews, proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab, and other reputation evidence online.
Verify that the third-party lab is reputable, that they performed contaminant testing, and that the product description and certificate of analysis (COA) match. CBD creams should pass tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, be free of residual solvent if they use a solvent-based extraction method, and contain no more than 0.3 percent THC.
If the brand has made unsupported health claims, they should have been subject to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) letter.
CBD Creams and Peripheral Neuropathy Pain
A 2020 study found that peripheral neuropathy patients can use CBD oil as a significant pain management tool.
CBD Source and Environmental Impact
The best CBD topicals are made from all-natural, organically grown hemp from right here in the USA. Some CBD extraction processes use harsh solvents that may harm the environment and leave traces in the product.
Potency and Dosage Varies
Most topical CBD products deliver about 3 to 8 milligrams or mg of CBD per application or dose. For people new to CBD, low potency hemp extract products are ideal, but people with chronic pain, more CBD experience, or both may prefer products with more CBD.
Cost Doesn’t Mean Everything
When you decide whether or not a CBD cream is “worth it,” consider the whole picture, especially how many doses it will provide and how the particular product meets your needs. Costing more isn’t always a mark of higher quality products.
CBD Cream is Safe
Although you should never use any CBD cream other than as it is intended, research proves that CBD is generally safe to use and reapply as needed. Occasionally internally taken CBD can produce side effects, such as tiredness, diarrhea, and a change in appetite or weight tiredness, diarrhea, and a change in appetite or weight according to a 2017 review, yet CBD products have fewer side effects compared to other drugs used to treat the same conditions.
According to the AAD, like any topical lotion, contact dermatitis may be a side effect of CBD skin cream, but CBD creams will not make users feel high. CBD topicals are also less likely to absorb into your bloodstream and cause full-body effects.
CBD skin cream may help treat arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, and any other issue caused by inflammation. There are many brands out there, but for the best CBD cream possible, pick a potent CBD cream made with high-quality ingredients by a reputable company.
Is CBD Legal? It’s confusing. CBD products that are made from industrial hemp plants are legal at the federal level, because they have less than 0.3 percent THC. They remain illegal under the laws of some states, so check the law of your destination state before you travel. CBD products made with cannabis plants or “marijuana” which is a legal definition for plants with more than 0.3 percent THC are legal in some states but illegal federally. Remember, nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved so they may be inaccurately labeled. Always check with a doctor or other health care professional about medication interactions before starting new products or supplements.