As cannabis becomes legalized and CBD begins to lose its stigma, numerous topical products have been created using CBD that remove the notion that these benefits must be found in a bong or with the side effects of getting high. As this new trend in health and skincare rises, you may be curious as to the basics of how CBD topicals work and what benefits they add that have made them so popular. Allow us to teach you a little bit about them to give you a better understanding.
What Are Topicals?
Topicals are CBD-infused lotions, creams, and ointments that are applied and absorbed through the skin, typically with the intention of relieving pain, soreness, and inflammation. These CBD topical salves are often preferred by those suffering from chronic pain who desire the therapeutic effects of marijuana without the intoxication of a euphoric “high.”
For those less initiated with CBD, CBD is short for cannabidiol, and is but one of many cannabinoids found within marijuana and hemp flower. A common misconception of CBD is that it will get you high due to its close association with marijuana, but that would be confusing CBD with the chemical THC, which is the actual cannabinoid that creates a euphoric high. While some CBD products may include THC for consumers that desire a high, it is not the norm.
How Does CBD Help?
These transdermal solutions are capable of relieving pain by binding to cannabinoid receptors. These receptors can be found throughout your body and are typically triggered by your body’s own natural production of endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids regulate processes within the body, such as immune response, communication between cells, appetite, and memory.
Therefore, CBD topicals are able to trigger these receptors to supplement your body’s natural processes, which makes up most of the basics of how CBD topicals work. Unlike other non-CBD topicals meant to help with pain, CBD topicals don’t just mask the pain or inflammation, but instead actually eliminate pains for a period of time thanks to the abundance of cannabinoid receptors in the skin.
What Ailments Are Treated?
So far, we’ve talked a little bit about how CBD topicals relieve pain and soothe inflammation, but those are often just symptoms of a greater issue. Let’s go into specifics about how CBD can help with certain conditions.
One of the most common consumers of CBD topicals are those suffering from arthritis. Arthritis is caused by inflammation and is most effectively treated with a salve that makes use of CBD and THCA, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Not to be confused with its active state in which is causes that euphoric high, THC left in its acid form and combined with CBD can make for a powerful anti-inflammatory solution.
Another disorder CBD topicals can address includes psoriasis—a skin disorder that causes skin cells to multiply ten times faster than normal. This causes a buildup of irritating bumpy red patches with white scales as a result of an irregularity in the immune system. Topicals can help solve this by being applied directly to the affected skin, as they help your immune system regain proper control.
Lastly, we’ll talk more about intense localized pain to specify effective chemical profiles for the right topical. For intensive pain that isn’t fully solved via a simplistic CBD topical, you could instead combine the cannabinoids with a warming balm to create a tingling, soothing sensation in place of the pain as the cannabinoids work to relieve the pain. This also makes for a good solution to reduce sores and aches the morning following an intense workout.
Is It All Legal?
It’s understandable that a common concern for the uninitiated is the legality of CBD thanks to its close association with marijuana. What’s important to remember is that CBD products are not controlled by the FDA like prescriptive drugs, and that it comes from hemp which was legalized back in 2018 as part of the Farm Bill. As a relatively recent bill, this has left some confusion among states as to how they should regulate CBD, if at all. It’s a good idea to check what your state’s laws and regulations are concerning CBD, but most products are made from CBD extracted from hemp, lack THC, and should be entirely legal to acquire.
Tips for New Buyers
The CBD market is still new and developing, making this unregulated industry something of a frontier. So, if you’ve decided you’d like to give CBD topicals a try, allow us to offer a few tips to make sure you’re getting a reliable and quality product:
- Beware of outrageous claims. As with many unregulated health products, there’s bound to be someone trying to peddle their own snake oil by promising miracle-esque cures and benefits. A good thing to know is that CBD products are not allowed to say they will cure or provide treatment for any health problem, so if you do see one that does so—steer clear.
- To investigate the reliability of a CBD product, you should look online or ask the company directly for a certificate of authenticity. This documentation lends credibility to the product by detailing the testing the product has undergone, as well as a breakdown of the ingredients and makeup of the product.
- Avoid impulse buying CBD products. When you actually go to buy one, know what you want in advance to ensure you get exactly what you want. As more CBD topicals are being developed and offered for purchase, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure which to choose, so make sure you do your research into what topical you need to address your issue.
- Talk to your doctor. It’s always a good idea to inform your doctor that you’re considering CBD products. They themselves may have some insight to help guide you towards the right product, but this is especially important if you have pre-existing or underlying conditions that require medication. CBD can possibly affect other medications, though this is less of a concern for topicals and more so if you ingest CBD instead.