CBD has increasingly been sought after as a topical product, both in the clinical and cosmetic industries. You’ll find it in salves, transdermal patches, lotions, serums, and even in makeup. In this article, we’re going to take a look at how CBD can be used on the skin and how it works topically.
The Endocannabinoid System and the Skin
To better understand the significance of what we’re going to explain below, first, you’ll want to understand how the endocannabinoid system works. Your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) ensures that all systems are stable, and is charged with returning your body to homeostasis after a physiological disruption. When you suffer an injury or illness, the ECS releases natural cannabinoids that help your tissues heal, stimulate your immune system, and fight pain, for example.
Your skin is packed with C1 and C2 receptors, which bind to the cannabinoids your body produces, as well as phytocannabinoids such as THC and CBD. While THC binds directly to these receptors to produce a psychoactive effect, CBD works indirectly with these receptors and will not produce a high. Whether you ingest CBD or apply it topically, it works with your endocannabinoid receptors, and is believed to help fight pain, inflammation, and infection.
Many people turn to transdermal methods to apply CBD directly to the site of pain. This type of use allows the CBD to move from the patch, through the skin, and into the bloodstream, where it binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Studies that evaluated transdermal absorption found that the cannabidiol stayed in the system for several hours after use, and provided pain relief for several hours. More than that, it absorbs and enters the bloodstream quickly without having to pass through the digestive system first.
While more investigation is definitely needed in order to clinically prove the effects of CBD when applied to the skin, early research has shown promise. For those who have experienced diarrhea or digestive issues when taking CBD orally, they may find that they prefer the transdermal route instead.
CBD Salves and Lotions
Salves and lotions with CBD are sought after for several applications. Where some might use them to soothe aches and pains, others use them for skin irritations or inflammation. Like transdermal patches, CBD absorbs through the skin and into the bloodstream, but can also bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors on the skin to potentially reduce surface inflammation such as sunburns.
When seeking out these products, you might also find some with additional ingredients, such as menthol and other essential oils. Ideally, the ingredients will be all-natural, without irritating artificial fragrances and sodium lauryl sulfate. Also, if you are pregnant or nursing, you will need to speak with your doctor regarding the safety of using CBD topically because it enters the bloodstream.
Cannabis and cosmetics companies have begun exploring the market, creating entire skincare lines and even makeup and perfumes that contain CBD. Currently, several studies are underway evaluating the efficacy of CBD for the treatment of psoriasis, rosacea, and acne as well.
Just like creams and salves, CBD can work on the surface of the skin, as well as become absorbed by the skin. In addition to cannabidiol, CBD also contains terpenes and flavonoids that might help to reduce inflammation and irritation. And the extra moisturizing effect that CBD can have on the skin is a bonus, especially with lip products and serums.
Be careful that the lotion you’re applying to your face isn’t meant for the body. The skin on your face and neck is more sensitive than the rest of your body, and facial products are formulated specifically for this reason.
Look Out for “Imposters”
And now we come to CBD “imposters,” namely, hemp seed oil. While hemp seed oil is extracted from the hemp plant, it does not contain any cannabinoids. If your hope is to reap the potential benefits of cannabinoids, then products that are made from hemp seed oil probably aren’t going to be what you have in mind. Check the packaging and lab CoA to make sure that what you’re about to purchase lists cannabinoids such as CBD, CBN, CBG, or CBC.
That said, hemp seed oil does contain beneficial nutrients and omega fatty acids. In fact, many cannabis products use hemp seed oil as a carrier oil because it’s packed with those compounds. Be sure to check the product packaging so you can avoid any ingredients that could cause irritation.
We hope this has helped you learn more about CBD and the skin, both for clinical and cosmetic applications. While this is a field of study that is in its infancy, we are very excited to see more clinical studies and products hit the market! Danu offers CBD lotions and salves in a broad-spectrum formula (THC-free). Our ingredients are derived from the highest quality sources, and our CBD is grown in sunny Colorado. Take a look at our shop to learn more!