Not to state the obvious, but CBD topicals are applied to the skin, not ingested or vaped. So, there’s that. So why use CBD topicals? Let’s start with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is hardwired into every living being, and it’s where our CB receptors hang out. The ECS, with the help of CB-1 and CB-2 receptors, supports homeostasis, or balance, in our bodies. It does this by regulating various processes in the body such as appetite, pain and mood, among others. The CB receptors are found throughout the skin and the addition of a CBD topical can help promote healing and homeostasis.
Can CBD absorb through the skin?
The short answer is yes, but I have more to say about it. First of all, the skin is crawling with CB receptors. It’s almost as though the skin has its own ECS. But, the skin, the largest organ in our bodies, protects our internal workings. Because the skin protects us from infections and unfriendly pollutants floating around, it makes sense to wonder how effectively CBD topicals can be absorbed.
Well, it’s important to note, that although a CBD topical can be absorbed by the skin, it doesn’t make it to the bloodstream. When you apply CBD to your skin, it seeps into the tissue, stopping short of the blood stream. Deep in the tissue, it binds with receptors and works to alleviate pain or other skin conditions.
While it’s true that other ways of using CBD can help certain conditions, in cases where there is pain or a skin issue, topicals act the most quickly. CBD is a known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant to which many localized ailments respond quickly. Because topicals are available as lotions, creams, balms and salves, you can apply them directly to an affected area. It gets to the heart of the matter faster because the heat created while you massage the topical opens the pores, letting the therapeutic benefits pour in.
How does it work?
Remember, I mentioned that the skin has all kinds of CB receptors? Well the receptors either shuttle the CBD to the necessary area, or the CBD inspires the receptors to produce more of their own CBD. Our bodies create endocannabinoids to stimulate the receptors. When the balance is off, the receptors can’t do their jobs. Illness or imbalance occurs. To kick-start the system, small doses of CBD from hemp can signal the body to make more endocannabinoids and build more CB receptors.
Bioavailability is what makes this little world go ‘round. What is bioavailability you ask? It’s the degree to which a substance can be absorbed into the body.
The process of CBD absorption in the skin looks a bit like this. When you apply the topical, the CBD seeks out the sebocytes, which are the skin cells that make up the sebaceous gland. The gland itself produces sebum, an oily secretion that helps the skin retain its flexibility and resilience.
The CBD from a topical cream or lotion enters the sebaceous gland through the hair follicles. Once it’s absorbed, the CBD interacts with the receptors to find the best means to ease your symptoms. What you get is relief directly to a localized area of your body.
Because CBD doesn’t really make it beyond the sebaceous gland, you’ll want to apply the CBD topical liberally to achieve the desired effect.
When should you use CBD topicals?
As an anti-inflammatory, CBD is known to help relieve pain. It also can help alleviate neuropathic pain according to this study. But there are other conditions that benefit from applying topicals to a localized area such as:
- Bacterial infections
- Contact dermatitis
- Eczema, psoriasis
- Inflammatory skin conditions
- itchy rashes, injuries
- Joint swelling
- Joint pain (arthritis)
- Muscle pain
- Nerve pain
- Neck and back pain
- Wounds and burns
CBD works for these conditions because of the skin’s very own ECS. As I mentioned before, the CBD bypasses digestion and doesn’t make it to the bloodstream. Instead, it sinks deep into the skin, going beyond the first layer. The CB-1 and CB-2 receptors move the cannabinoids throughout the system to maintain balance. When an imbalance occurs, the above conditions can crop up. Applying a CBD topical is a safe way to supplement the ECS, helping to restore balance.
Who should use CBD topicals?
The popularity in CBD topicals lies in their versatility, safety and convenience. At Lost Remedy, our topicals are hemp-derived CBD. Many people favor CBD derived from hemp because they prefer not to get high. It’s also easy to use and is convenient to apply anywhere, any time.
How well the products work varies among individuals, but there are few if any side effects, which makes experimenting safe. I’d also caution you to understand the condition you think you’d like to treat with a CBD topical. Do your research and, if necessary, consult your doctor.
For an internal or cognitive condition, CBD topicals may have little if any effect. Know what you’re treating and learn which topicals would be most effective.