CBD Topicals

The Ultimate Guide to CBD Topicals | CANNABIS ANIMUS

CBD Topicals: Benefits, Uses, and Best Options


  • What Are CBD Topicals?

  • 3 Benefits of Topical CBD Applications

  • 5 Types of CBD Topical Products

  • How to Apply CBD Topicals

  • What to Consider When You Buy CBD Topicals

  • CBD Topicals for Pets

  • Topical CBD Side Effects?

  • Topical CBD FAQs

  • Summary

CBD as an alternative natural treatment to many conditions is clearly on the rise.  Some OG old-schoolers inhale high CBD hybrid strains via smoking or vaping while others administer tinctures under the tongue.  In fact, many delivery methods and products offer highly effective options. So, how do CBD topicals work?

We highlight exactly what these products are below and share the benefits.  Discover what CBD topical products are available and how to apply them.  See if creams and lotions can help your pet as well before you buy.

Worried about possible side effects?  We cover that too. We discuss how high the topical CBD effectiveness is.  By the end of this article, some of you might even be eager to buy some CBD hybrid weed seeds, grow them, and harvest your own if legal in your state.

Let’s begin by looking at what these products consist of and how they work.

What Are CBD Topicals?

Manufacturers create CBD-infused oils, like hemp seed oil and CBD oil, which they add to lotions and skin creams to apply topically.  Research demonstrates the potential anti-inflammatory properties of CBD and how it may help improve the symptoms of certain skin conditions.

Does topical CBD work?  Anecdotal reports from medical patients and general consumers alike suggest creams and lotions can alleviate pain in joints and sooth painful skin conditions.

CBD topical product sales are rapidly escalating every year while users increasingly claim to their physicians that they experience the same amount, or more, relief than OTC lotions, botanically-based creams, and NSAID's like ibuprofen.  Aggressive research and investment is also increasing regardless of "Cannabis stocks" recent and most temporary decline.

Topical CBD Lotion

3 Benefits of CBD Topicals

As a natural remedy for many ailments, the benefits of topical CBD are many.  The products may provide relief for various conditions, and applying a cream rather than smoking is also better for your body.  We explore three of the top benefits below.

Pain Relief

Cannabis has been used for millennia to combat pain.  In recent years, scientists have discovered the major role the cannabinoid CBD plays in relieving hurt.  How does it work?

We all (all mammals) have an endocannabinoid system in our bodies, responsible for a range of functions.  This system regulates your sleep, how you feel pain, appetite, and immunity.  You produce endocannabinoids that bind to nervous system receptors.

CBD may help reduce chronic pain, skin conditions, and peripheral neuropathy symptoms by affecting the receptor's activity.

Chronic Pain

Applying a CBD topically to a pain spot could reduce inflammation by interacting with neurotransmitters. Consumers report a reduction in nerve and back pain in particular.

Individuals with arthritis and fibromyalgia may find this benefit of CBD lotion reduces inflammation and helps them live more comfortably.  CBD topicals soothe and calm joints and muscles to give patients relief.

Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) causes great pain in the jaw region, and patients find it difficult to combat their symptoms with regular medication.  One 2019 study demonstrated how topical CBD products applied to the general region may provide improvement.

Skin Conditions

Skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema cause a lot of discomfort, like itching not to mention the rather unattractive/unwanted appearance.

  These are serious conditions that need to be addressed. The anti-inflammatory CBD cream benefits may reduce the sensation and improve the appearance of acne.

Acne and CBD

According to one AAD study, there are no negative reactions when applying topicals to the skin. Contact dermatitis may occur, but it’s likely a reaction to one of the other ingredients in the lotion you use.  It's advisable to test a small area before applying to larger or more sensitive regions.

Peripheral Neuropathy

This condition is nerve damage that causes discomfort in individuals, like numb and weak hands and feet.  Research studies at the NIH National Library of Medicine shows that CBD oils can dramatically reduce peripheral neuropathy symptoms with no adverse effects.

5 Types of CBD Topicals

The variety of CBD ointment uses are obvious, but not everyone prefers the same products.  There are many topical types available to consumers — we outline the top five below.


The most popular form of CBD topical product is "CBD Freeze" in a roll-on applicator for pain relief.  This was and is one of the original topical CBD products offered and likely to become your new best friend whether you are an athlete or have arthritis.

This form contains alcohol, menthol, and other botanicals like natural camphor and eucalyptus oils that assist in the healing and penetration which can also irritate the eyes due to the vapor.  This is why the roll-on applicator is so 'handy' to avoid any unwanted transfer from hand to eye/mouth/nose area.


Another common CBD topical you can buy is in cream form.  These products often contain full-spectrum cannabidiol which only contain trace amounts amounts of THC (50 state legal) for those who seek the "entourage effect" from synergies between multiple natural cannabinoids.

CBD cream is easy to apply directly to an area for quick relief from symptoms.  Not intended for use on the face due to small amounts of alcohol and botanicals that assist in skin penetration and carry the CBD deeper into the skin where it can be more thoroughly absorbed.


Another excellent way to get your dose of CBD without ingestion is to use patches.  Apply them anywhere on the body and feel the effects over a longer period of time.

These topical patches come with anti-inflammatory properties to provide pain relief.  Most patches are fairly budget-friendly and great for beginners as they’re easy to use.  These finest quality are time-released and use hypo-allergenic, 3M adhesive that is pharmacetical grade and definately skin-friendly.


CBD lotion works similarly to the cream of course and is often formulated with nano CBD for deeper penetration and effectiveness.  You apply it directly to the skin and face where you experience symptoms and are seeking relief from psoriasis, echzema, rashes, irritations, sunburn, etc.

This option is ideal for individuals looking to experience these cannabidiol benefits along with healing and restoring dry and damaged skin.  This product soothes skin immediately and protects all day and is a compliment to both women and men's skincare including the face and sensitive areas.

Salves & Balms

CBD salve and balm are topicals that offer an excellent way of treating pain quickly and efficiently.  Higher concentrations of CBD are often available in balms or salves by design.  They can be used in combination with creams and lotions to provide an anti-bacterial level of protection that seals in moisture.  You can apply it to anywhere on your body by rubbing it into the skin.  It's a more oily and slick substance by design and works great as a massage aid for smaller, localized areas like joints or sprains.

How to Apply CBD Topicals

Once you’re convinced of the CBD topicals’ benefits and have decided on the right product, you need to know how to apply them.

For cream, lotion, balm, butter, and oil, simply take a small amount and rub it slowly into the area you want to treat. If you have patches, you need to remove them from the packaging and stick them where needed.

Use CBD body oils for massages anywhere on your body to enhance the soothing sensations.  However, if you use a product on your face, avoid any containing vaporous essential oils or alcohol close to your eyes or mucus membranes.

Make sure to read the label's ingredients before purchasing as even the vapors of some product varuations can cause irritation to the eyes and nose.

Athletes and CBD

How do CBD topicals work? Within 15 minutes of applying the product, you feel the effects. Topicals work on both the surface and muscle levels, providing relief from pain and skin conditions. These products may also aid in relaxation and help you get some sleep.

Don’t ingest topicals — they’re exclusively for external use.

What to Consider When You Buy CBD Topicals

Before you get online and buy CBD topicals, there are a few factors to keep in mind.  The considerations below can help you find the right product for your needs and circumstances.

The Dosage

Although CBD topicals don’t produce psychoactive effects (no CBD products do), the potency and dosage are essential to note.  All products come with a list of ingredients and some even provide a dosage recommendation in milligrams (mg).  That seems silly though unless it is very weak.

Low potency creams often suggest a 3 mg dose, whereas high potency ones recommend as much as is needed which I recommend from personal use and experience with CBD topicals for over 5 years now.  Start with a couple applications with 10 minutes in between and apply more if needed.  It often does require more until you find relief from your condition.

The Environment

For many individuals, the ingredients in topical CBD products are important.  You can even consider whether the product is organic, non-GMO, vegan, and even the farming process of the plants if available.

Some extraction processes use harsh chemicals that can harm our environment—these sometimes get left behind in the end product.  Only purchase from reputable sources to ensure the highest quality and only buy products that have a current QR Code on the label that you can use to read 3rd party lab test results from the exact batch from which you purchased.

The Cost

CBD products can be expensive, and topical versions are no exception.  Before purchasing a cream or lotion, consider your budget of course  and how often you need to use the product.  Perform proper research—a high price tag (or lowest discount promo) doesn’t always mean the best option for sure.

The Individual

Who’s going to use the topical?  Adults and children can and should use these products.  There is plenty of evidence to suggest CBD topicals are safe and effective for kids.  Pet CBD products are available, but they can and often do differ from those intended for humans.

CBD Topicals for Pets

Similar to humans, your pets may find relief with CBD topicals for pets. Apply the product to sore joints and muscles as an alternative to oral supplements, which are often difficult to administer.

Pet-specific topicals—these are most often different from the ones you use however pets can use any of CBD products as long as smaller doses are used due to smaller body mass/weight.  They are easy to apply and various compositions are available.  Excellent animal-friendly CBD topical options include:

  • Gels to soothe and cool pain spots

  • CBD oils to apply directly to the skin—these enter the bloodstream quickly and help better healing.

  • Sprays for easy application with wriggly pets

  • Gel caps to place in food.

  • Water boosters for drinking and treating small regions more effectively.

  • Shampoos to relax your pets and reach all pain spots

Full Spectrum CBD Oil for Dogs

CBD Topicals Side Effects

There are many topical benefits from CBD oil's topical benefits, but should you expect any side effects?  Research suggests that adverse reactions to cannabidiol are mild or almost non-existent.  Some possible side effects to consider before applying a topical are:

• Occasionally CBD makes users feel sleepy or increases their appetite.  These side effects are most common with edibles and smoking although applying a topical to your skin shouldn’t cause these reactions.
• CBD topicals may cause contact dermatitis, but the same can be said for any type of cream and lotion.  If you experience this symptom, it’s more likely to be the cause of another ingredient in the product rather than CBD.  CBD is actually an anti-oxidant and has anti-bacterial qualities.
• Applying CBD topicals to open wounds or sores on your skin may irritate the zone and slow down the natural healing process.  Avoid using the product on these areas, especially when treating skin conditions unless directed by a trusted dermatologist.

Some patients might be worried about how a CBD topical interacts with their body.  Rest assured that these products contain very little or no THC, meaning they won’t make you feel high or affect you psychologically.


CBD Topical FAQs

When you consider whether to try a new product or not, you want to know as much as possible about it - right?  Check out the answers to the most frequently asked questions below to clear any doubts.

How Long Do CBD Topical Effects Last?

Once the topical soaks into your skin and enters the bloodstream and muscles, expect the relief to last at least 6 - 8 hrs which is how long CBD remains in the body before being fully metabolized. Topical applications can be re-applied as needed.

How Long Until You Notice a Difference with CBD Topicals?

Every individual is unique as is their physiology and metabolism, so giving an exact period is difficult.  Some people notice a change in as little as a few minutes or hours.  Others might need to apply the product for a week before experiencing the relief they need, but you will get relief.

Do I Need to Use CBD Topicals Daily?

Yes, you can apply CBD topicals every day.  Limit the product’s usage to 2–3 times daily, as most contain essential oils and other natural ingredients that last from 6 - 8 hours.

Are CBD Topicals Safe for Kids?

Although CBD topicals don’t produce any known side effects, there’s no evidence to suggest they’re safe or effective for children.  Until further research is performed, it’s best to just use good judgement.  All mammals benefit from CBD and all mammals produce it within their own bodies.

Can Pets Use CBD Topicals?

You can use CBD topicals for your animals (mammals), especially to combat chronic pain and inflammation.  You can purchase products specifically designed and formulated for pet, or you can use CBD products for people.  If you purchase a pet-specific product, check the added ingredients.

Is This Product Safe for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers?

There’s not enough research on whether CBD topicals are safe to use for pregnant and nursing moms.  For further guidance, speak to your healthcare professional about whether these products are a good choice for you or not.

What Is the Shelf Life of CBD Topicals?

Like many creams and lotions on the market, CBD topicals typically have a three-year shelf life per FDA labeling recommendations, but the fact is that may products can remain stable for many years... it all depends.  Effectiveness may diminish, and the topical texture and consistency can change.

Is There Anywhere You Shouldn’t Put CBD Topicals?

As most lotions, creams, and balms contain other essential oils and ingredients, avoid applying them to your (or pet's) face and sensitive areas of your body unless it is specifically designed for it.  If you have high CBD content oil and butter, you can apply a small amount to your face, lips, and other sensitive areas.

Can You Use CBD Topicals for Anxiety?

Yes.  CBD topicals don’t directly affect anxiety such as oils, edibles, beverages, patches, suppositories, and inhaling vaporized CBD is intended and recommended, however they will promote a general sense of well-being and a more tranquil state of mind because it is entering the bloodstream depending upon the product's absorb-ability and bio-availability.


The benefits of CBD are apparent, and using cannabidiol in topical form can help you in various ways.  Whether you experience chronic pain, have a dermatological condition, or are combating peripheral neuropathy, CBD creams and lotions provide relief without unwanted side-effects, drugs, or animal products.

The soothing topicals are available in different products, meaning you can choose what you prefer.  Select from cream, lotion, balm, oil, salves, and even patches.  These CBD products are simple to use and combat your discomforts in minutes - naturally.

We hope this article helps you understand the benefits and uses of CBD topicals.  Cannabidiol is an excellent natural remedy that provides many advantages to your overall well-being - both internally and externally.  Try it yourself today and see how it can help you.  Call (888) 302-3600 to get your questions answered.

Co-author, Jennifer Gallagher

Jennifer Gallagher, an experienced Cannabis grower at SeedSupreme Seedbank.  During a 7-year career in the marijuana growing business, Jennifer has gained a high competence in this field.
As far as Cannabis cultivation is concerned, she knows it all inside out.  Jennifer is an expert in pot-growing, as well as cannabis types and their effects.  She’s also familiar with all legislation nuances and a welcomed new contributor at Cannabis Animus.
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