You’ve heard about the benefits of spritzing a CBD oil or swallowing a capsule. But what about CBD topicals? Salves, balms and lotions are a rising trend – and it’s easy to see why. Allowing you to massage your daily dose into achy muscles and tired skin, they take the wellness world’s buzziest ingredient, and elevate it to new, more targeted heights.
Think about it: when you spritz an oil, you know it’s going into your bloodstream. However, from there, it’s down to your endocannabinoid system to send it in the right direction. And yet, by taking the power of CBD into your own hands (literally), you can effectively focus this hero compound on specific areas of your body.
Want to know more? Here, we reveal everything you need to know about CBD topicals, from how they might interact with your skin, to the unique results they offer…
How might CBD topicals work?
Interacting with the endocannabinoid system
First, let’s recap the effects of sublingual and edible CBD. By chewing a gummy or applying an oil, experts believe the compound can get to work internally. It’s been said that CBD may interact with your endocannabinoid system, which is made up of a series of cannabinoid receptors located in various parts of your body. These receptors are traditionally triggered by naturally occurring endocannabinoids, but studies suggest that plant-produced phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, may also have an impact.
So, what kind of impact might you expect? There are two types of receptors you need to know about: CB1s in the central nervous system, and CB2s in the peripheral nervous system, the digestive system and the immune system. When activated, these receptors can create a balancing effect where they’re located, which helps you achieve that all-important internal homeostasis.
Studies on topical CBD for pain and inflammation
Unless it’s transdermal, topical CBD won’t go through your skin to reach your bloodstream and internal receptors. However, there is thought to be a series of receptors that sit near the surface of your skin, as well. While evidence is limited on whether activating these receptors will soothe common skin complaints, there’s a stronger case for topical CBD having an effect on pain.
One 2016 animal study indicated that topical CBD may help with the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Meanwhile, anecdotally, it’s been hailed for providing anti-inflammatory effects, as well as soothing pain and blistering on the skin. And, though research on the topical effects of CBD is still in its early stages, we’re seeing it used more and more to enhance at-home massages for both day-to-day tension and deeper muscle pain.
How to apply topical CBD
1. Pick a soothing balm
Few things work better than a balm when it comes to massaging muscles and eking out knots. That’s why we created the Love CBD Cannabis Balm. Mimicking ‘The Entourage Effect’ in topical form, it combines CBD with nourishing hemp seed oil and a host of terpenes, believed to have therapeutic effects. There’s also a dose of coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter and rosemary, teaming up to repair and replenish parched skin, while helping fingertips glide over achy limbs, shoulders and necks.
2. Work it into sore muscles
Once you’ve got your balm, scoop out a generous dose, warm between fingertips, then apply it to areas of tension. Use firm, circular motions to massage it into aches, helping to warm up the muscles as you go. This is the perfect ritual pre- and post-workout to reduce the impact of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but it’s also good for mid-lockdown ‘work from home syndrome’, aka scrunched-up, tight shoulders.
3. Apply to dry skin
As well as massaging the Cannabis Balm into tight, tense muscles, smooth it over areas of dry skin to let the blend of CBD, shea butter and coconut oil do their work. Applied to elbows, knees, lips and anywhere else you have stubborn patches of dry skin, it will plump and hydrate instantly. Leave on overnight for a burst of intense moisture while you sleep.
4. Pair with a CBD oil
Using CBD topically doesn’t mean you have to swap out your daily dose of oil – providing you stay within the FSA’s recommended limit of 70mg of CBD per day. In fact, by pairing a balm with a sublingual spritz of oil, you can take a holistic approach to your wellbeing. Try the Dutch CBD Oil Spray or the Gold CBD Oil Spray, misting it underneath your tongue between soothing balm applications.
Looking for more ways to incorporate CBD into your daily routine? Discover everything you need to know about drinking hemp tea.