August 23, 2022 5 min read


How effective are CBD topicals? Are you well conversant with CBD topicals? How quickly does CBD topical work? This article has discussed the effectiveness of CBD topicals.

CBD and skincare are two growing markets that have merged to create many new products. While companies are still developing ways to use CBD, the most common way of administering the cannabinoid is oral. When using a CBD tincture, place a few drops under your tongue. Hold it under your tongue for a minute, if possible, to hasten the benefits. Topical CBD formulations have additional ingredients to enhance an anti-inflammatory effect. Though there are many ways to try CBD, a topical may be your best option if you need to treat your skin issues or relieve aches and pains, as Eskander et al. (2020) explained. According to McEwen, a topical CBD is any CBD-infused lotion or cream that can be applied directly to the skin, and they don't have enough THC to get you high.

CBD Topicals

According to Wang et al. (2020), cannabis sativa has anti-inflammatory properties. However, Khaleghi (2020) stated that CBD topical may help manage inflammation and pain associated with arthritis more effectively by avoiding the GI system. This will result in more constant plasma levels.

According to Baswan et al. (2020), topical CBD products might be used to treat eczema, acne, and psoriasis. As a bonus, these products don't have side effects of oral medication and provide skincare benefits.

Like other forms of CBD, the effectiveness of topical CBD varies depending on factors such as dosage, quality, and source. Unlike edibles, topicals serve a different purpose. CA (2018) explained that topicals mostly target surface areas to treat muscle pain and tension because topical CBD does not reach the bloodstream. Instead of treating your entire system, you treat a place where you're having chronic pain.

Can Oral CBD be Used Topically?

There are pros and cons of oral and topical CBD products. Much of this is related to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system all mammals share. According to Tam et al.(2011), the ECS comprises enzymes and CB1 and CB2 receptors for the endocannabinoids. The ECS regulates many human functions, such as memory, appetite, mood, reproduction, pain sensation, and sleep. Jikomes (2016) further explained that ECS helps achieve and maintain homeostasis in the human body or some cases, re-establish it.

Cannabinoid receptors collect data on conditions outside the cell on whose surface they sit, allowing them to respond to changing conditions by kick-starting the right cellular response. For instance, when bacteria attack the body and cause infection, the immune system triggers inflammation to help battle the infection. This also triggers the ECS to release endocannabinoids which assist in signaling other immune cells and help to limit the inflammatory response, so it's not excessive. The receptors help the body fight infection and return to normal without damaging itself.

The skin has its endocannabinoid system that helps keep the skin healthy. Like the rest of the endocannabinoid system throughout the body, the goal is stasis. CBD topical is useful and can produce healthy skin because the cause of most skin problems is usually an imbalance in the skin. Depending on the issue you're trying to treat, it's possible to get the effects of CBD topically.

Taking CBD Topically

Apply topical products such as balms, creams, and lotions directly to the skin over the affected area. However, do not apply oral CBD oils to the skin. If you're unsure if it's better to use CBD topically, you may need to refocus your question to decide which type best suits your needs. CBD topically works best if you target the affected area because it allows the cannabidiol compounds to work with the receptors where you apply the topical cream.

With CBD topicals, the effects are more concentrated because the cannabinoid compounds don't get absorbed into the bloodstream and aren't spread throughout the body. This makes it a great choice for treating minor discomfort in muscles and joints.

What CBD Products Can You Use on Your Skin?

CBD Cream are any CBD products you can use on your skin, such as lotions, balms, roll-ons, and creams with CBD in their formulations. CBD topicals are not edible and are intended to be applied directly to the affected area on the skin. CBD Balms and Gels can be used to provide relief by delivering CBD to the outer layer of the skin. They often have formulations such as CBD creams for skin-related issues like eczema, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and injuries and problems like stings and burns.

Some of the most common types of CBD topicals you may find on the market include:

  • Creams, lotions, and salves are used for inflammation and relieving pain.
  • Oils, ointments, and serums: These are used to treat skin-related conditions, such as acne, eczema, and dry skin, as Oleinik(2020) explained. Also, they can be used in beauty applications, such as anti-aging serums, tattoo ointments, and other hair and skin products.

A CBD topical base, whether oil, cream, or wax, works as a carrier agent. THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids bind with fatty acids, which is why carrier oils are so common. The carrier agent works to smoothly apply the CBD to skin conditions and other affected areas and help it cling there until it works.

How to Apply CBD Topicals

Effective CBD topicals aren't cheap, so start low and use as little as possible to achieve your desired results. The right amount of CBD cream will vary depending on the condition's severity. Start by cleaning the specific area to give the topical product a chance to work. Test a small area first to ensure you're not allergic. Remove clothing around the area you are treating. Only use CBD topicals on dry skin. Moreover, don't apply CBD cream directly to open wounds, sores, or cuts. Apply a small amount and wait for it to absorb into the skin before re-applying.


There are many topical CBD products out there waiting to be tested. However, that does not mean you should randomly put every CBD product you come across on your skin. It may fail to work, and it is expensive.


Baswan, S. M., Klosner, A. E., Glynn, K., Rajgopal, A., Malik, K., Yim, S., & Stern, N. (2020). Therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD) for skin health and disorders. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology13, 927.

CA, P. (2018). TALOG.

Eskander, J. P., Spall, J., Spall, A., Shah, R. V., & Kaye, A. D. (2020). Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment of acute and chronic back pain: A case series and literature review. J Opioid Manag16(3), 215-8.

Jikomes, N. (2016). What Is the Endocannabinoid System and What Is Its Role?.

Khaleghi, M. (2020). New arthritis foundation guidelines on CBD use could be first of many more to come. Alternative therapies in health and medicine26, 8-11.

McEwen, L. CBD as a Topical Treatment.

Oleinik, G. Best CBD Creams & Topicals for Eczema: Reviews & Guide (Mar. 2022).

Tam, J., Liu, J., Mukhopadhyay, B., Cinar, R., Godlewski, G., & Kunos, G. (2011). Endocannabinoids in liver disease. Hepatology53(1), 346-355.

Wang, B., Kovalchuk, A., Li, D., Ilnytskyy, Y., Kovalchuk, I., & Kovalchuk, O. (2020). In search of preventative strategies: novel anti-inflammatory high-CBD cannabis sativa extracts modulate ACE2 expression in COVID-19 gateway tissues.