CBD Topicals: Everything You Must Know

Cannabidiol (CBD) topicals have become incredibly popular for a variety of reasons. These creams, lotions, and salves allow for localized applications. There are a lot of reasons why people use CBD topicals from help with pain and inflammation and helping reduce scarring.

However, these creams and lotions have a few nuances of which would-be users should be aware. If you’re looking into CBD topicals (or if you have already started using them and aren’t feeling the relief you’d expect), this guide will help you better understand what these topicals are, what dosage you need, and what you might feel.

young man applying lotion to face

Some of the basics of CBD topicals

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As noted at the beginning, CBD topicals are creams, lotions, and salves. Manufacturers infuse these products with cannabidiol, a cannabinoid compound found in the hemp plant.

In recent years, CBD has been rising in popularity, mainly due to the fact that there has been a lot of research on CBD and its potential benefits. In particular, one of the unique advantages is that it has been reported to reduce pain. Researchers have also found evidence that it is a potent anti-inflammatory. For these two reasons, it isn’t surprising that CBD is a popular skin product.

By mixing CBD with lotions, salves, and other things that you rub on your body, you may put most of the CBD in one place, which has the potential to reduce inflammation in that particular area. The CBD that is in the topicals never actually moves much beyond the area that it has been place. CBD doesn’t cross the skin into the bloodstream normally. If there is a compound in the topical, commonly called a dermal driver (menthol and DMSO are two examples) that escorts CBD across the skin barrier, then it is possible to have CBD enter the bloodstream.

Of course, even if the CBD does help you, you shouldn’t stop taking any medication prescribed to you without talking to your doctor first. It would be best if you viewed CBD as a supplemental substance that you may rub on to provide increase skin health. While the research into CBD’s potential benefits is ongoing and is incredibly promising, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not cleared it as a replacement for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of any diseases.

salve in a jar

How much of a CBD topical should I use?

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When people start using these topicals, the biggest question they often have is: how much do I apply? The answer to that is a little more in-depth than you might initially think.

There are two main kinds of CBD products for you to choose from. Manufacturers infuse these topicals with CBD isolate, or they put full spectrum CBD extract in them. These different types of topicals may have very different effects. Topicals that have been made with CBD isolate have nothing from the hemp plant but CBD. On the other hand, full spectrum CBD lotions contain multiple different cannabinoids.

Some people find that these cannabinoids work together in harmony to provide maximum benefit. While full spectrum is stronger, many people find that CBD isolate works better for them. There’s no hard rule on which type of topical is better. Your best bet is to try multiple versions until you find one that you like!

One other thing that needs to be considered when dealing with CBD topicals is how much CBD is in the product. If you are using a cream with 500 mg of CBD per 4 oz, then that’s going to require a lot less to feel the same effects as a salve with 100 mg per 4 oz.

With that all said, most creams work if you apply them like you would any other lotion. You probably won’t want to use any more or less than you would normally use for any other CBD product. Rub the cream in well so that way it penetrates the skin. If you don’t feel any effects, don’t be afraid to apply more until you reach the comfort level you’re looking for.

But don’t apply too much to the point where your skin feels oily. If that happens, then you won’t have a desirable feeling!

How long do the effects last?

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CBD topicals can last anywhere from four to six hours. After that point in time, the body has absorbed most of it, and you’ll need to put more on to reduce the pain again.

As with most substances, the more you rub onto your skin, the longer – usually – you will be able to feel effects. But everyone is different, some people will experience longer lasting effects than others.

man applying cbd topical to elbow

What are common types of CBD topicals?

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If having these topicals sounds appealing to you, you’re in luck! There are a lot of different kinds of CBD topicals out there.



You may rub lotions with CBD all over your body. Lotions are here to provide two different functions. One is that it gives your body CBD. Second, they moisturize your skin, which keeps it feeling good – especially in the dry winter months!

If you are looking at CBD to help moisturize your skin, then a lotion is likely the best solution for you. So, not only will you get the potential benefits of CBD, but you also get some great moisturizing.


Bath bombs

If you’re looking to have a soak after an intense workout to soothe muscles, the bath bomb topical is for you! You can add these to your bathing routine to get a nice CBD boost to your bath.

CBD has the potential to be particularly useful for these types of situations as muscle soreness is due, in part, to inflammation. When you work out, you damage these muscles. The inflamed parts heal stronger than they were before. When you work out, much of the soreness that comes afterward is due to that inflammation.

By adding a potent anti-inflammatory to your tub, you may help your body heal faster and be able to exercise again more quickly. CBD can, therefore, be an excellent part of an intense workout routine.


CBD salves

Salves usually contain relatively high concentrations of CBD, thereby providing one of the most efficient ways to target specific problem areas. Other CBD topicals tend to be used it a way that provides more of an overall effect.

“Using a topical that has CBD in it is a safe and quick way to possibly promote skin health and restore immune balance.”

Using a CBD topical is safe, easy, and has a lot of potential benefits

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Using a topical that has CBD in it is a safe and quick way to possibly promote skin health and restore immune balance.

There are even more CBD topicals than the ones we went over. If you want something to help you relax and unwind, a bath bomb might be right for you. On the other hand, if you want something to moisturize and protect your skin, a CBD lotion might be perfect. If you’re trying to deal with pain, a CBD balm or salve may be better. No matter what outcome you want, there’s a topical on the market that will fit your goals.

Cannabidiol has become one of the most sought-after health products in recent years for good reasons – it is versatile and may have lots of health benefits.