A cbd topical is any hemp-based product that you apply directly to your skin, such as lotions or ointments. These products are popular among athletes, people who work physically demanding jobs, and anyone who needs relief from sore joints and muscles. Many CBD creams and lotions combine cannabis extract with traditional topical pain relievers like menthol, capsaicin, and lidocaine. Some also contain soothing botanicals like aloe vera, arnica montana, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).
Research on CBD topicals is limited, but preclinical studies show that the phytocannabinoids in these formulations offer anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-itch properties, as well as skin healing benefits. In one randomized, placebo-controlled study, participants who received topical CBD reported significantly reduced neuropathic pain in their lower extremities (Xu et al., 2020).
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CBD absorbed through the skin and hair follicles and interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid receptors in the skin’s sensory nerve fibers and subcutaneous tissue. This interaction stimulates endocannabinoid systems to more efficiently keep functions related to skin health and recovery balanced.
Hurd says that before applying a CBD cream, it’s important to thoroughly clean the affected area to remove any dirt or excess oil buildup. She recommends rubbing in the ointment generously to ensure full absorption. Once applied, you can cover the area with clothing and/or bandages to prevent it from rubbing off.