Now that cannabidiol (CBD) has a firm standing in the medical and scientific communities (and has even been moved down from Schedule I to Schedule V by the federal government) people are exploring innovations such as topical CBD application. The skin is a porous organ that readily absorbs many compounds – this can be a good thing when applying a high-quality CBD product – but proceed with caution, as many contaminants readily pass through the epidermis as well.
Topical CBD use is becoming more and more popular – and for good reasons. The abundant distribution of cannabinoid receptors on all types of skin cells suggests there are implications of anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing benefits for topical CBD products.
Not to mention, enjoying novelties like a CBD-infused lotion, soap, or balm is convenient, familiar, and fun. Additionally, many individuals turn to transdermal CBD because they want to avoid the habit, stigma, or deleterious health effects involved with smoking and vaping.
Furthermore, variations in individual biology may cause some people to absorb CBD better through their skin than they would by ingesting it orally (similar to magnesium).
According to this cbdMD review, we can summarize the benefits of CBD in a few main points:
- Optimization of the skin’s homeostasis
- Regulation of pain
- Reduction in inflammation
- Modulation of skin appendages (hair follicles, sweat glands)
Is Topical CBD Safe?
The skin is a porous organ that readily absorbs many compounds – this can be a good thing when applying a high-quality CBD product – but proceed with caution, as many contaminants readily pass through the epidermis as well.
The easiest way to determine if a topical CBD product is safe is by looking for Certificates of Analysis, or ‘CoA’s.’ CoA’s are documentation that verifies a company has hired a laboratory to perform rigorous testing on their source material. Here’s what you need to know that most people won’t talk about.
When you narrow it down to only those vendors doing laboratory testing, you can quickly establish two categories for vendors of cutaneous CBD products:
- CBD vendors who publish CoA’s that list cannabinoid and terpene profiles, and nothing else.
- CBD vendors with CoA’s that not only list cannabinoid and terpene profiles, but also show results for pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals, and microbial contaminations.
While having any amount of laboratory testing is a great bonus, we recommend looking extra hard for the companies who specifically test for common contaminants – to ensure that the topical CBD product you choose is safe. Legitimate vendors will either publish these directly on their website or mention that they will send them to customers upon request.
However, don’t be fooled – laboratory testing is expensive, and companies realize that CoA’s are becoming more and more critical to people shopping for CBD. As a result, many businesses will post CoA’s that are from many years ago, or for a batch that isn’t relevant to what they are currently selling.
How to Choose the Best Topical CBD
Aside from verifying the purity of a particular vendor, finding the topical CBD product that works best for you is mostly a matter of taste.
A CBD bath bomb is terrific for someone who regularly enjoys Epsom salt baths and hot tubs – you drop the bath bomb into the water, and it disperses healing cannabinoids throughout the vessel.
Transdermal CBD patches are an excellent option for individuals with severe chronic pain, or other conditions that require a constant stream of CBD throughout the day,
Lotions, massage oils, balms, and other body care products infused with CBD are excellent for precision, on-demand application of cannabinoids whenever and wherever they are needed.
As always, consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any natural products regimen.