And even though the lotion was applied topically in the rat study, it wasn’t applied locally to the knee. Instead, the researchers were really using the topical application to get it into the rats’ bloodstream, or what’s called systemic administration. But you’d likely need a different dose for it to be effective locally (if you applied it just to your aching shoulder, for instance) in a human. We have no idea what that dose should look like.
Personally, I always keep a few jars of it at my desk to help with the shoulder and neck muscle tension inherent in a job consisting mainly of typing and holding a phone next to my face. But it turns out that the research behind these claims is pretty sparse, to say the least. Here’s what you need to know before you give topical CBD a try.
But that’s not quite as exciting for CBD as it sounds: “We don’t know cannabidiol’s effects on its own,” says Cooper, who was part of the National Academies committee that put together this report. “[The conclusions about cannabis and cannabinoids] were based on what we know about THC or THC plus cannabidiol.”
Here’s what the research says about using CBD for pain.
But some studies have found essentially zero side effects of high-dose CBD (900mg) and those that researchers do see—like drug interactions—aren’t considered to be issues when CBD is used topically.
“It might be that cannabidiol by itself is helpful for pain, but at this point we don’t know that,” Cooper says.
That said, we don’t always know exactly what’s in the CBD products out there due to a lack of regulation. Until recently, CBD was regulated as a Schedule 1 substance, meaning that the federal government believed it had a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical value. But the FDA approval of Epidiolex last year and the passage of the Farm Bill in December 2018 changed things by lifting the federal ban on commercial hemp production (hemp also contains CBD in lower amounts than cannabis). But it also made things more confusing because we’re still waiting on actual CBD regulations from the FDA. In the meantime, companies are treating hemp-derived CBD as if it’s perfectly legal, Dr. Tishler says.
“It actually is a very promiscuous compound,” Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., research fellow in the department of anesthesiology and the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan, tells SELF. “It will bind to receptors in multiple different pathways,” which makes it difficult to know how it might cause noticeable effects.
Ultra-rich body butter for dry, dehydrated skin
CBD can be eaten in an infused food, mixed into a drink, swallowed in a capsule, and rubbed onto your skin, just to name a few methods of administration. But do the lines ever cross? Can you apply a CBD product type in a way that differs from its original use?
The CBD extract used in topicals, and in all CBD products, comes in three main varieties: full spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Full spectrum CBD extract contains the major and minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and all other substances as they are in the source hemp. This includes a trace amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating cannabinoid made famous by cannabis. Isolates are on the opposite end of the spectrum: all components except for the desired cannabinoid – in this case, CBD – are removed, leaving behind a roughly 99 percent pure substance that contains only CBD.
How are CBD topicals used?
Why is it so important to use CBD products on your skin that are formulated specifically for topical use? By using a CBD tincture topically, your skin would miss out on all the other nourishing ingredients added to topicals and might not be designed with the right amount of CBD to bring the desired benefit to your skin. At Prima, our CBD topicals are made with other plant-based ingredients selected to support healthy, radiant skin. Our R+R cream, for example, includes invigorating menthol and eucalyptus. Our ultra-hydrating, fast-absorbing Skin Therapy body butter is designed to support and bring balance to dry skin, and includes its own set of nourishing add-ins, including fatty-acid rich hemp seed oil and moisturizing shea and cocoa butter to lock in hydration.
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.
Consider the convenience – or inconvenience – of a tincture applied topically. Placing tincture onto your hands or legs instead of body butter or lotion will require a significant amount of product to cover a larger surface area. Using a tincture topically on the go wouldn’t be easy; you’d have to carefully remove the dropper from the bottle and measure out the amount you’d want to apply. Plus, a tincture applied topically would likely leave a film behind that needs to be wiped off, leaves a greasy texture, or takes a significantly long time to absorb.
Here, we’ll review the purpose of CBD oil tinctures, CBD topicals, and why you’ll see the best results for your skin from a product that’s designed for topical use.