What is the difference between CBD oil and CBD cream?


CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in hemp and marijuana plants known for its therapeutic and non-psychoactive effects. You can take advantage of its benefits by sublingually administering CBD oil or topically applying CBD creams. This article looks at the major differences between CBD oil and cream.

CBD is a chemical compound in hemp and other cannabis plants whose benefits you can reap using CBD oils and CBD creams. The two are CBD deliverable methods with significant variations. The major difference between them is the application method; you can sublingually or orally take CBD oil while CBD creams are strictly applied topically. The ingredient lists for CBD oils and creams might also differ. While CBD oil has a base carrier and flavoring (for flavored CBD oils) and preservatives, CBD creams might also have plant extracts and other plant oils to add to their function. Peer into this article to know the major differences between the two methods of taking advantage of CBD benefits.

Introducing CBD

CBD is no longer the outlawed product that remained below the radar for the longest time. Since the Farm Bill was passed in 2018, it is now part of the mainstream and features almost in every industry, the supplement world has it as a major ingredient and the cooking world has CBD infused in the cooking and baking world. Besides, the trend does not seem to change any soon, and we expect more and more people to embrace it. Thus, many ask what is CBD, and why is there much hype about it?

CBD studies are limited but they have explained what the compound is. For instance, according to Massi et al. (2006) and Bauer et al. (2020), CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical compound and one of the many in cannabis plants. Such compounds are called cannabinoids and are more than 100 in number. Still, CBD takes the day’s cake for its non-intoxicating nature and something else. According to Watt & Karl (2017), CBD is therapeutic. Although more studies are needed to prove its therapeutic potential, many believe in it and are after CBD products, all the more why CBD gets popular every other day.

CBD Formulations

Do you want to enjoy CBD benefits? There are three formulations you need to know about as you contemplate this venture. CBD is an umbrella term with subdivisions, depending on composition. Whether you want CBD oil or cream, you can enjoy it in the following formulations;

  1. Full-spectrum CBD; comes with CBD and the whole range of cannabinoids in hemp plants, as well as terpenes and flavonoids. Following the multiple compounds therein, VanDolah et al. (2019) state that this formulation has a full entourage effect.
  2. Broad-spectrum CBD; is more like full-spectrum CBD, except that it does not have THC. It still has every other compound in full-spectrum CBD.
  3. Isolate-based CBD; has no other compound but CBD. It has no terpenes, flavonoids, or additional compounds.

CBD Oil and CBD Cream- What Are They?

The body does not absorb CBD as it is. As a compound, it is not directly absorbed into the body and must come with compounds the body can benefit from. CBD oil and creams are two deliverable methods for the cannabinoid featuring compounds the body can easily absorb. As the name suggests, CBD oil has an oil base, mostly MCT coconut or hempseed. Meanwhile, CBD cream may also have an oil base but is cream-like. The major differences between CBD oil and cream follow the ingredient list and application method, as explained below.

CBD Cream vs. CBD Oil: Ingredient List

CBD oil majorly features CBD in an oil base such as MCT coconut, extra virgin olive, or hempseed oils. Besides, they may have flavorings to mask the bitter taste of CBD. In addition to this, CBD oil might also have preservatives to lengthen its shelf life. Meanwhile, the JustCBD CBD pain creams feature additional compounds, including plant extracts and oils to add to their benefits. In some cases, CBD creams may also feature vitamins, also adding to their overall benefits. Of course, they also have preservatives like CBD oil, but the composition certainly differs.

CBD Oil vs. CBD Cream: Uses

CBD oil and CBD cream share one thing in common; they deliver CBD to the body. Thus, they should not have widely varying uses since they feature the same compound. According to Vučković et al. (2018), CBD helps with different forms of pain, specifically chronic. The JustCBD cream line has CBD heat pain roll-on cream designed to help soothe pain. Besides, the capsule line also features the Ease Discomfort Formula that manages pain. Moreover, many brands offer CBD oil people use to manage pain, suggesting that the oil and CBD cream have more or less the same function in the body.

CBD Oil vs. CBD Cream: Application

The other significant difference between CBD oils and creams is how they are applied. CBD oil is strictly for oral or sublingual application in which one places the CBD drops on or below the tongue and swallows them instantly or allows time to pass. Meanwhile, CBD cream is neither taken orally nor sublingually. You have to apply it topically on the affected area. Still, each of the two deliverable methods is easy to use and requires no special knowledge to incorporate into your regime.

CBD Cream and CBD Oil: Which Is More Effective, and Which One Should I Go For?

Many ask about the effectiveness of CBD oil and creams and wonder which one to go for. CBD studies are ongoing and it is currently not easy to measure how each deliverable method is effective. However, more studies are needed to establish the effectiveness of CBD cream since the existing ones have paid more attention to CBD oil. Still, your ultimate choice for either method depends on your preference. If you want to deliver CBD fast to the system, you should go for oils. However, creams are more effective when you don’t want the cannabinoid to interact with the blood.


CBD creams and oils are two ways to deliver CBD to the body. CBD oils are meant for sublingual administration while CBD creams are applied topically. Although the two might have oil bases, the individual ingredients differ across. Find out more about the differences between CBD oil and cream by peering into this article.


Bauer, B. A. (2020). What Are The Benefits Of CBD–And Is It Safe To Use? In Mayo Clinic.

Massi, P., Vaccani, A., Bianchessi, S., Costa, B., Macchi, P., & Parolaro, D. (2006). The non-psychoactive cannabidiol triggers caspase activation and oxidative stress in human glioma cells. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS, 63(17), 2057-2066.

VanDolah, H. J., Bauer, B. A., & Mauck, K. F. (2019, September). Clinicians’ guide to cannabidiol and hemp oils. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 94, No. 9, pp. 1840-1851). Elsevier.

Vučković, S., Srebro, D., Vujović, K. S., Vučetić, Č., & Prostran, M. (2018). Cannabinoids and pain: new insights from old molecules. Frontiers in pharmacology, 1259.

Watt, G., & Karl, T. (2017). In vivo evidence for therapeutic properties of cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s disease. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, 20.


Barbara Santini

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