It’s totally possible (and actually pretty likely) that any effect you get from a commercially available topical CBD product is a placebo effect or related to some other aspect of the product. But there are a few things going on here that are more complex than they seem.
One major issue is that it’s actually somewhat difficult to create a topical cannabinoid product (containing CBD or THC) that penetrates the skin enough to produce an effect, but not so deep that it gets into the bloodstream, Boehnke explains. If the product does get into the bloodstream—if it’s transdermal rather than truly topical—it could potentially reach the brain, possibly producing psychoactive effects if it contains THC.
When the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering evaluated decades of cannabis research, they concluded that "in adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms."
Here’s what the research says about using CBD for pain.
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.
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a cannabinoid, a type of compound found in cannabis (marijuana). Unlike the more well-known cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not produce a high.
But, ultimately, if you like it, you’re not experiencing bothersome or dangerous side effects, and feel like it works, that’s what matters most.
The lack of regulation has also left the door open for products to be subject to both “contamination and adulteration,” Dr. Tishler says. One study, published in JAMA in 2017, found that almost 70 percent of CBD products—including vape cartridges, tinctures, and oils—sold online did not contain the things they claimed to in the right amounts. That’s why Boehnke recommends only buying CBD products that you can verify (via a certificate of analysis) do contain what they’re supposed to. And Boenhke offers the same advice he does for all cannabinoid products: Start at a low dose and, if you decide to increase it, go slowly. (Start low, go slow.)
The entourage effect—the idea that molecules that occur together in nature interact in useful ways — applies to cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are molecular compounds that are naturally found in plants and insects, manifesting most often in the forms of natural oils, and are accompanied by a distinct aroma and viscosity. Terpenes and cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) work together to maximize benefits in the body. Lab and patient-based studies reveal that while CBD or THC can work alone for some symptoms, they can often create better outcomes in combination. Specific ratios, especially with naturally occurring terpenes, have the potential to cause even better effects. The entourage effect is one of the leading theories influencing cannabis research worldwide.
Topical CBD can come in several forms – like a body oil, balm, lotion, or even a patch. There are even CBD-infused bath salts and soaks to give you full-body comfort. When you have an area of the body where you are feeling discomfort, you can use topical CBD the way you would a lotion to help reduce stress, discomfort, and normal inflammation. The great thing about topical CBD oil is that it doesn’t enter the bloodstream when you apply it, meaning it just targets the specific area you apply it to. To ensure a body oil works to the best of its abilities, you need to apply it liberally. Our skin is designed to all topicals from entering the body, so if you choose a product with a high concentration of CBD, make sure you apply enough to sink into your skin’s and provide the best results. Side note: if you’re using it in the bath, follow the product instructions for how long you should soak to really reap the benefits.
If you’re interested in dabbling in CBD products, it can be confusing to jump right into the cannabis wellness space. There are so many options and so much information out there, it’s hard to know what the right choice Is for you. For those of us who are a little weary about ingesting CBD oil for physical discomfort, we recommend starting with topical CBD oil. At Papa & Barkley, we’ve created a whole line of topical CBD oil products. From our soothing CBD Releaf Body Oil to our moisturizing CBD Releaf Lotion, and of course, our award-winning CBD Releaf Balm, there’s no doubt that there’s a CBD topical out there for you. Learn all about the ways CBD oil can help you feel better and the importance of adding it to your everyday routine!
How to Use a CBD Topical
In the case of a cbd topical, they are designed to provide targeted comfort by letting cannabinoids penetrate the skin and interact with our endocannabinoid receptors. A CBD topical can help with flexibility and mobility to the joints, soothe sore muscles or muscle tension, or help with other areas of the body. Because the cannabinoids do not enter the blood stream directly, effects are localized and intoxication doesn’t occur. Results can sometimes be felt within minutes and can last anywhere from two to four hours. Most people don’t experience any intoxicating effects from taking Papa & Barkley’s Hemp CBD products, however, every person’s body responds differently to cannabinoids. As always, it is better to start low and go slow as well as seeking the advice of a medical professional before starting a new health regimen.
If you are new to cannabis, fret not! Using a topical CBD oil is easy. There are two key ways that topical CBD oil works to reduce discomfort and normal inflammation. First, the oil contains what are called phytocannabinoids, also known as cannabinoids, which interact directly with our endogenous endocannabinoid system (ECS). When you use topical cbd, the cannabinoid penetrates deep into the tissue where applied, saturating the ECS so that the precursors for discomfort and normal inflammation are reduced. The ECS is a system of receptors (CB1 & CB2) throughout our body that manages various biological functions. CBD naturally raises the endocannabinoids in your body, helping to relieve discomfort. CBD helps limit your body’s normal inflammatory response when you have muscle soreness due to exercising or lifting weights. By working with the natural functions in your body, CBD provides a calming effect for both your mind and body. When taken regularly topical cbd oils can help make you more comfortable, whether you have aches and soreness or need to unwind after a long day.
There’s a CBD topical product for everyone. Are your knees sore from that 10-mile run? Rub on some CBD Releaf Balm to soothe aching joints. Got tight muscles from sitting or standing all day long at your desk? You deserve a massage! Liberally apply CBD Releaf Body Oil to the places you need it most. And if you’re dealing with dry, irritated skin? Moisturize with our CBD Releaf Body Lotion! CBD topicals are the perfect way to embrace the world of cannabis wellness without the intoxicating effects of THC!