With the continuous increase in the popularity of alternative medicine and natural remedies, cannabidiol or CBD has catapulted into the limelight as a flexible organic compound with tons of medicinal benefits. Due to its raw and natural qualities, CBD come in different forms and may be taken through various routes, which makes it more convenient and more accessible for patients and consumers
What are CBD topicals?
Generally speaking, topical medications are targeting the skin, also known as the integumentary system, which is the largest organ of the human body. These medications come mostly in liquids, creams, ointments, and gels which are meant to be applied onto the skin for effective absorption. It is the most efficient route of medication for treating external wounds and breaks in the epidermis as well as for localized muscle or joint pains in specific regions of the body.
CBD topicals are highly potent infusions containing significant amounts of cannabidiols or CBD and are to be applied on to the skin. These may come in different forms and consistencies but it is all used in a similar fashion - applied evenly onto the epidermis and rubbed gently to ensure its absorption into the pores.
Similar to other CBD medications, cannabidiol in topical medications are greatly used to alleviate localized pain and decrease inflammation on specific body regions. The skin is known to have receptors made to absorb CBD, which is called endocannabinoid receptors. As the receptors are found in the layers of the skin, applying the CBD compounds directly onto the skin allows for maximum effectivity without having to take the medication through other internal routes. CBD is absorbed and made effective even without the need for the medication to enter the bloodstream, making topicals the ideal route for newcomers who are hesitant to take CBDs for the first time.
As with other topical medications, CBD topicals come in 3 distinct types based on the medication’s consistency.
- Lotions and Creams. Though these two may have the same chemical contents and ingredients, CBD creams are usually thicker in consistency compared to CBD lotions. Creams are better suited for use on isolated parts of the body and these are perfect to be used during colder months. Lotions, on the other hand, are best for lathering an even layer of medication all throughout a wide region of the body, like limbs, back, and chest. Since it is thinner in consistency, it is suitable to be used during warmer seasons and humid days because it doesn’t feel sticky and it is absorbed faster than creams. CBD lotions and creams may contain other natural ingredients such as aloe vera extract, shea butter, and milk which moisturizes the skin and aids in restoring the skin’s natural barrier.
- Balms and Salves. More potent than creams and lotions, balms and salves contain larger amounts of CBDs. It is best prescribed for treating specific areas that require concentrated amounts of medication. For example, inflamed joints and sore muscles may be rubbed with CBD balms and salves directly to allow for optimum absorption. Since the medication is in concentrated amounts within the product, a little goes a long way when it comes to CBD balms and CBD salves, which are often used interchangeably. Its thick consistency is due to the absence of water within the mixture, allowing more of the actual medication to directly be absorbed by the skin. As a vessel for the CBD compound, beeswax, and essential oils are incorporated to produce the distinct consistency needed for balms and salves.
- Oils. CBD oils take the longest to set into the skin because of its slick consistency. However, it is the smoothest when it comes to the application as it glides on flawlessly into the skin. It is best to be used when it is a little bit warm and it is perfectly applied when coupled with a massage to thoroughly spread it onto the area. Aside from the actual CBD component, CBD oils contain a good amount of olive or coconut oil to make it easier to apply. Other essential oils are added to provide more benefits, such as lavender for increased relaxation, peppermint to decrease tension and inflammation, and chamomile to promote better sleep.
What are CBD Topicals used for?
CBD topicals may be used for the following:
- To relieve muscle and joint pain caused by minor injuries and physical trauma
- To promote relaxation after intense physical activities such as doing exercise and playing sports
- To alleviate soreness and inflammation on muscles without internally disrupting the natural tissue repair process of the human body
- To provide relief and reduce redness for common skin problems such as acne, rashes, psoriasis, and eczema
- To reduce localized swelling for joint sprains and muscle strains
How are CBD topicals used?
CBD-infused topicals make for the perfect on-the-go treatment when it comes to sports injuries and minor physical traumas as it directly applies the medication onto the affected part. It is convenient to use and storage is also a breeze as it comes in a handy tube or round container.
CBD topicals contain pure cannabidiol extracts, mostly using CBD-isolates with little to no THCs included in the extract. In turn, there is no need to worry about getting high or experiencing the unwanted psychoactive side effects of THCs when used in CBD medications.
Since CBDs are not yet regulated and officially evaluated, always do your part in researching when it comes to using CBD topicals. Get to know the manufacturer or supplier before trusting any brand or store claiming to produce CBD topicals. Customer feedback, CBD extraction methods, third-party laboratory evaluation, and even peer-to-peer recommendations all play crucial parts when picking a CBD topical that is right for you and your personal needs.
Although CBDs are considered to be a safe, natural compound with all its medicinal benefits, it is always best to test for any skin allergies before using any topical medication. For the skin test, spread a coin-sized amount of lotion or cream on to the inner arm and wait for 24 to 48 hours. Any redness, rashes, irritation, or inflammation means that it tested positive for skin allergens, leading to discontinuing or cessation of use. Always consult a physician in case of severe reactions to the topical medication, symptoms such as fever, increased heart rate, and unbearable pain may need immediate medical attention.
Update: As of August 27th 2019, on our website, you can now book an initial screening with a patient co-ordinator from the Cannabis Access Clinics network who can assess your case over a 15 minute phone call and determine if you are eligible to be put forward for medical cannabis treatment and an approved prescription.
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