There are several different ways to take CBD, but most of them focus on getting the CBD into the systemic circulation of the body – either by ingesting it or inhaling it. The topical application of CBD works a bit differently – it focuses on the localized beneficial effects, which CBD exerts on the skin, as well as the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects it exerts on nearby ligaments, joints, and other tissues. However, as we’ll discuss later, topical CBD still possesses all of the ‘systemic’ benefits of CBD as well, such as relief from anxiety.
Is CBD Absorbed Topically?
In studies, CBD has been shown to have a topical bio-availability of around 45%, which is almost as high as its bio-availability when inhaled. For comparison, when taken orally, only about 15% of the CBD will be absorbed by the body, and that’s in the best-case scenario, with 10% being more typical. Various lotions or creams on the market may also include absorption-boosting carrier ingredients, like DMSO, which further increases the bio-availability of topical CBD.
Why Use CBD Topically?
Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider using CBD topically, instead of ingesting it or inhaling it.
Achieving A Higher Concentration of Cannabinoids In A Specific Place
When you ingest CBD or inhale it, it reaches your bloodstream and quickly gets evenly distributed throughout the systemic circulation and tissues. By applying CBD topically, we can achieve a much higher concentration of cannabinoids in a specific area of the body. This is a great thing if you’re looking for pain relief or to treat an inflammatory skin condition.
Higher Bio-Availability And Faster Effects
As we already mentioned, topical application is one of the most efficient delivery routes for CBD. It may also produce a faster effect when it comes to relieving pain. Although inhaling vaporized CBD or ingesting a CBD capsule seems like it would work much faster compared to a topical application, this may not be the case.
After ingesting CBD, it may take up to two hours for it to be distributed throughout the bloodstream. After that, the CBD has to work indirectly with the cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. Because of the low concentrations of CBD in the blood, it may take a long time for you to experience the full pain-relieving effects. With topical CBD, the fast absorption, combined with the high localized concentration can provide you with almost instant pain relief.
Topical CBD is very easy to use: you just apply the oil or lotion on your skin and rub it in. If you suffer from a chronic pain condition, applying topical CBD at night can be very convenient and effective and you will notice the beneficial effects immediately after waking up.
Forms of Topical CBD
Any type of CBD can be applied topically, provided that it has undergone decarboxylation – this happens when it is heated for a sufficient amount of time for the CBDa to turn into CBD. Regular CBD oil can also be rubbed into the skin. Because of the large size of the CBD market, there are countless products to choose from, including specifically formulated creams and lotions.
What Conditions is Topical CBD Most Suitable For
There are two main applications for the therapeutic effects of topical CBD – treating skin conditions and treating deep tissue pain. Almost all skin conditions and pain conditions are immune-mediated, and involve, or are caused by inflammation, which is probably why CBD is so effective in managing anything from psoriasis to arthritis. CBD may also speed up wound healing and the recovery from burns, as well as help with minor skin infections and acne.
But you don’t have to suffer from a medical condition to benefit from topical CBD. CBD lotions and creams can also improve the complexion of your skin and exert an anti-aging effect. This is because CBD also possesses powerful antioxidant effects, which in clinical studies have been compared to the antioxidant effects of Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Systemic Effects From Topical CBD
Topical CBD does not produce only a localized effect – after the CBD is absorbed, it gets distributed normally throughout the body by the systemic circulation. This means that topical CBD still carries all of the beneficial effects, which oral and inhaled CBD possess, including reduction of anxiety levels and improved sleep.