Is CBD Effective Topically

Best Reasons to Use CBD Oil

Does CBD Oil Work in the Body

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has become extremely popular in the health wellness industry over the last handful of years as a natural supplement that aids the relief of pain. When taken internally, CBD works to relieve the pain of muscle ache, arthritis, cancer, anxiety, and insomnia. There has been an explosion of pain-relieving products manufactured, such as oils, gels, lotions, ointments, salves, and patches containing CBD that propose to relieve pain when administered topically. But do they work? There seems to be conflicting information about how CBD is derived, how it works in the body, what it is used for, and what topical products are available to try.

Where is Cannabis Derived

Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant, marijuana, a cousin to the hemp plant, which is also used to manufacture skincare products. While both are cannabis plants, there is a significant difference between them. Marijuana contains a greater diversity of cannabinoids, including THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation, than hemp. Hemp contains very little to no THC, which is why products containing marijuana-derived CBD oil work better for pain than those made with hemp.

Put another way, hemp is naturally very high in CBD while having only trace amounts of THC. Most commercial strains of cannabis from marijuana contain high amounts of THC with almost no CBD.

Furthermore, unless CBD oil, for example, is purchased from a marijuana dispensary, the CBD oil came from the hemp plant and not marijuana, which is not to say hemp has no health benefits, just that it is not as potent and will not work as well for specific conditions.

Cannabis terminology adds to the confusion. For example, CBD oil products made from hemp are referred to as hemp oil, CBD oil, or CBD hemp oil, which have no traces of THC.

Products made from cannabis (marijuana) oil, on the other hand, will usually have some percentage of THC. These products add even more confusion, as CBD oil is generally referred to as cannabis oil without specifying that it was derived from marijuana.

How Does Cannabis Work in the Body

Assuming one has done their homework and purchased the proper topical product, just how does cannabis work in the body?

As previously mentioned, marijuana-derived cannabis contains hundreds of different phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are compounds that can interact with receptors (neurons) that exist within the body’s nervous system, mitochondria, and even white blood cells.

Phytocannabinoids activate the release of endocannabinoids, unique neurotransmitters, which perform a broad assortment of functions that typically involve regulating receptors from other body systems.

Some CBD companies choose to leave the THC in products intended for ingestion for a synergizing effect. Meaning, the phytocannabinoids will work better together when the THC is present.

When it comes to topical relief, however, unless a transdermal CBD oil, gel, or patch is used, THC does not cross over into the bloodstream, making it safe to use without any chance of experiencing a “high” or having to worry about trace amounts in the bloodstream that might cause a failed drug test. While most topical products do not penetrate the skin deep enough to reach the bloodstream, transdermal gels, oils, and patches can.

Choosing a hemp-based topical CBD ointment, lotion, or salve to avoid the chance of THC leaching into the bloodstream is an option for sensitive individuals. Hemp has high CBD levels without the THC, and it is the CBD that is the working agent.

Additionally, those who have plant allergies would be wise in choosing a hemp-based CBD oil, as marijuana growers tend to use pesticides and other chemicals that could irritate or worsen skin conditions in those who are sensitive to them.

How are Topical CBD Products UsedCBD Topical Salve Ointment

Highly-concentrated topical CBD products are a natural, healthy option for individuals who prefer not to use typical over-the-counter creams and ointments for pain relief.

As mentioned, the cannabidiol does not penetrate directly into the bloodstream when using a cream, ointment, salve, or balm. The active ingredient, CBD, still interacts with receptors located in the skin to provide relief.

Salves and balms are great options for healing wounds and small cuts. Salves and balms are typically more solid than ointments and warm to body temperature for smooth application. They tend to cover and protect areas of skin. Creams, lotions, and ointments have a softer consistency, spread easily over larger skin areas, and absorb quickly. They are best reserved for alleviating burns, dry or itchy skin, rashes, and other inflammatory skin conditions.

They can help to relieve inflammation, soreness, and associated skin irritations. Because CBD contains anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, and anti-spasmodic compounds. It has also been reported to help ease the following skin-related conditions.

  • Eczema
  • Dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Rashes
  • Fungal infections
  • Dry skin
  • Blisters
  • Arthritis pain (knuckles, elbows, knees)
  • inflammation
  • nerve pain
  • muscle and ligament soreness
  • sprains
  • cuts
  • scrapes
  • bruises

What Are Some of the Most Popular CBD Topical Products

The following topical CBD products are highly rated by consumers worldwide.

  • Mary’s Medicinals CBD transdermal patches help to heal inflammation and back pain. Also available is their Muscle Freeze CBD lotion that soothes and cools sore muscles and joints. Mary’s Medicinals provide long-lasting relief and are easy to use for the person who needs constant and stable relief.
  • Sweet Releaf offers a high-CBD ointment that comes scented or unscented. They also provide an extra-strength formula, if needed. All ingredients are cruelty-free and organic, and their salves are handmade. Customers say Sweet Releaf reduces back and joint pain, swelling, spasms, inflammation, and more.
  • Nature’s Best CBD topical product is designed specifically for pain relief and is THC free. It has a high absorption rate and deeply penetrates the skin’s deepest layers to provide fast relief in just minutes. As long as one is not sensitive to menthol, those with diabetic neuralgia, fibromyalgia, and eczema can benefit from using Nature’s Best CBD.

Is There a Way to Make CBD Oil at Home

Some creative individuals choose to make their own CBD remedy products at home. The following recipe is an example of how a safe, reliable, homemade CBD hemp oil can be easily achieved.


Gather together a grinder, such as a coffee grinder, a large jar with a tight-fitting lid, and a saucepan.


20 grams Organic Hemp

Carrier oil, such as Extra Virgin Olive oil, Coconut oil, Almond oil (or some other organic food-grade oil)

The Heat-Method Directions

Grind the hemp, place it in the jar, cover the hemp entirely with oil, and cap the jar tightly.

Fill the saucepan with 2-3 inches of water, place the jar in the water, and simmer for three hours, always checking to ensure the water level stays at about three inches deep.

Remove the jar from the water and allow it to cool. Repeat the boiling process over the next three days, so the recipe is boiled a total of three days in a row.

On day four, strain the mixture to remove traces of the hemp and place the oil in a Pyrex measuring cup. Again, place the cup in a saucepan filled with 2-3 inches of water. Add 1-2 heaping teaspoons of beeswax. Bring to a simmer and allow the beeswax to melt. Do not let water splash into the mixture. Stir gently. When the wax is melted, remove the measuring cup and pour the contents into a clean jar. Allow the CBD Salve to solidify before capping and storing. If it is too soft, more beeswax can be added and remelted to create a firmer ointment.

The Cold-Infusion Method

Rather than heating the recipe on the stove right away, grind the hemp, place it in the jar, cover the hemp oil entirely, and cap the jar tightly. Place the jar in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks. Shake the jar gently once each day to release the compounds. After 4-6 weeks (no less than two), follow the stovetop method above for adding beeswax to create the ointmentOver the Counter Medication.

Still, although CBD oil can be made at home, it will always be easier to purchase a reliable product that is consistent every time.

What to Consider When Shopping OTC CBD Products

When shopping for a topical over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products, always consider the CBD source, the ingredients, such as the THC/CBD ratio and base ingredients, and check out quality control.


While information about CBD’s effectiveness as a topical reliever is scarce, many people have reported its effectiveness to relieve a wide variety of conditions with minimal adverse side-effects, if any.