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does cbd oil work topically

CBD topicals are products formulated to be applied to your skin. This product category is home to a dazzling array of options, from lotions and balms to bath products to transdermal patches. If there’s a skincare product out there, its CBD-infused counterpart can be found alongside it.

Ultra-rich body butter for dry, dehydrated skin

What are CBD topicals?

CBD oil is often what people use to describe the extract that comes from the hemp plant. Often, CBD oil the same word people use to describe a tincture, which is CBD hemp extract blended with a carrier oil, which is designed for ingestion. Tinctures can often contain flavors and other ingredients whose benefits are designed for ingestion. Topicals work differently because they are often formulated with other key ingredients that deliver skin and body benefits through skin application. Its strongest impact is seen and felt locally, in the area where you rub in or apply the topical. In addition, ingestibles are not tested for skin sensitivity and skin safety, and have different quality testing protocols. It’s always important to use products as directed both to get the desired benefit, but also to ensure that it’s safe.

CBD topicals are used no differently than any other lotion or body balm. Take a small amount and apply it directly to the body part of your choice. Its effect is experienced locally at the site of application.

While the amount of THC in full spectrum hemp extract is so miniscule that the psychoactive effects are not typically felt – by U.S. law, hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC – you may not want to consume any THC at all. If that’s the case, broad spectrum is the right fit for you. Broad spectrum hemp extract retains all cannabinoids, terpenes, and other desirable compounds, but attempts to further remove the trace amounts of THC. At Prima, all our CBD products are made from broad spectrum phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract.

Then the researchers measured the inflammation in each rat’s knee joint, the level of CBD that made it into their bloodstream, and their pain-related behaviors. They found that the rats that were given the two highest doses of CBD showed significantly lower levels of inflammation and lower pain behavior scores compared to those that got the control. The two lower doses didn’t show much of an effect.

Nevertheless, how do we account for all the people out there (like me) who use these products and feel like they’re doing something? Beyond the placebo effect, it’s possible that something else in the cream could be doing the heavy lifting here. These products don’t just contain CBD, Dr. Tishler points out. In fact, many of them also come with ingredients like arnica, menthol, or camphor, which may all provide a more immediate sensation of soothing or pain relief. So it could be those ingredients (or just the act of massaging the balm into your skin) that makes you feel better.

Here’s what the research says about using CBD for pain.

But if you’re reading this, you are probably not a rat, which means these results aren’t directly applicable to your life. Although we know that rats do share much of our physiology—including CB1 and CB2 receptors—these studies don’t really tell us if humans would have the same results with CBD.

All of this points to how hard it is to study the specific effects of CBD on its own—which might be why it’s tempting to claim that it’s the cure for everything without a whole lot of research to actually back up all of those claims.

“It might be that cannabidiol by itself is helpful for pain, but at this point we don’t know that,” Cooper says.