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A woman smiling while massaging CBD topicals into her face.

The Beauty of CBD Topicals

Have you ever heard of a little something called CBD? Who are we kidding—of course you have! CBD is everywhere nowadays. Whether online or in person, you are we are all bound to stumble upon a CBD product one way or another, and while some consumers prefer CBD oil, and others taking their CBD in gummy form, many people are starting to catch on to the new CBD trend: topicals. These innovative products take an entirely different approach to CBD-ing, one with equally as many possible benefits and much fewer risks (granted CBD’s list of risks is already very small). 

What Is CBD? 

CBD, more formally known as cannabidiol, is one of over 400 naturally occurring chemical compounds found cannabis plants. In particularly, the hemp plant is naturally high in CBD. Another well-known cannabis derived chemical compound can be found in the hemp plant—tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. However, THC naturally occurs in low levels in the hemp plant. Rather, THC is especially prevalent in the marijuana plant, which is conversely low in the hemp plant. Fun stuff, right?! 

These two famous chemical compounds are two of over 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. What separates a cannabinoid from the chemical compound pack? It’s ability to communicate with receptor cells in the brain—that’s what! Cannabinoids have an ability to interact with cannabinoid receptor cells in something called the endocannabinoid system, which is a network of communication in our brain related to roles like mood, sleep, and fertility. The way in which each cannabinoid communicates with these receptor cells is quite different. 

CBD is a weak communicator, to put it simply. It binds indirectly with the receptor cells, and as a result does not alter one’s mental state to the point of intoxication. In other words, it is not psychoactive. Despite this, CBD can still product some pleasant effects after ingestion! Many people report feelings of calm and a lift in mood. THC, on the other hand, is a strong communicator. It binds directly to the receptor cells and products an intoxication, commonly referred to as a high. Unlike CBD, THC is psychoactive.  

It is because of this crucial difference that CBD was made legal on a federal level with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, while THC remained federally illegal. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, as long as a CBD product contains less than 0.3% THC, it is within the parameters of what constitutes a legal CBD product. 

What Are Topicals? 

Topicals are a CBD product that, unlike oils, gummies, and others, is not ingested! This means that it does not enter your blood stream, and some of the effects people experience are avoided. These effects include the mild and minimal unwanted side effects ingesting CBD may cause, including diarrhea, nausea, and fatigue. That being said, CBD topicals come with their very own beautiful benefits, and also come in a variety of forms! 

Much like your everyday topicals, the purpose and consistency of CBD topicals can vary, and some forms are more ideal for certain concerns. You are likely familiar with skin products like lotion, creams, balms, salves, so on and so forth. Now imagine those and all their diversity, but with CBD in it! CBD topicals essentially take a normal product and raise it to the next level. The basic recipe for making a CBD topical includes some kind of fat, wax, oil, water and whatever other scents and essential oils one desires—oh, and the CBD oil, of course. However, this basic model varies depending on the type of topical one is looking to make. For instance, lotions have a smoother, more fluid consistency, so the recipe would include more water. Salves tend to be more viscous, so they would have little to no water content and a higher wax content.  A balm meant to soothe aching muscles might also include peppermint for cooling relief, while a gentle face cream may include lavender for a soothing effect. 

What Can CBD Topicals Be Used For? 

There are many ways you can enjoy the bountiful benefits of these extra magical topicals. To simplify things in, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular and inclusive ways to use topicals to get the most bang for your buck. 


CBD has shown to have some promising anti-inflammatory properties. Many people are turning to CBD oil infused products in attempts to treat their acne, as opposed to using harsher, sometimes even more expensive products. As we know, acne can be annoying, painful and, unfortunately, affect our self-confidence. Acne can occur when there is a buildup of oil or acne-causing bacteria in the skin. One study found that CBD actually inhibited oil production, thus reducing the possibility of a breakout. As well, the CBD effectively reduced inflammation on the oil-producing glands, also reducing the severity of the acne.  


Eczema is a bothersome, sometimes painful, skin condition characterized by patches of dry, irritated, and itchy rashes. Given what we’ve just learned about CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory properties, it makes sense that CBD topicals may also reduce the inflammation of eczema rashes. Furthermorestudies have found that CBD may have the ability to not only reduce inflammation, but the associated pain. Combine this with a rich, calming lotion designed to alleviate dryness, and one’s eczemas rashes may become much more manageable. 

Muscle and Joint Health 

Many people find that CBD salves and balms are particularly helpful when targeting an aching lower back or a stiff neck. This may also have to do with CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, which are a major cause of muscle discomfort, or more severe chronic pain conditions like arthritis 

Is it Safe? 

As states, CBD topicals are not ingested, and therefore one avoids any of the potential side effects associated with ingestion. However, using topicals presents its own possible side effects, such as rash or dryness. However, this also depends on the other ingredients in your topicals as well. Make sure to speak with a medical professional before using a CBD product as an alternative way to manage any concerns. It is important to make sure CBD topicals are not only a viable option for you, but are also a quality, safe product that contains sufficient CBD and no other harmful ingredients.