How Do CBD Topicals Work in the Body?

The growth of the CBD industry has yielded several interesting products like cbd patches, oils, rubs, etc. At first, the main products available were CBD oils and edibles. However, various brands started to branch out. One innovative product that is now exceedingly popular is the CBD topical.

It comes in a variety of forms, including ointments, CBD Cream, or salves. Users rub it on a specific area of the body. The hope is that CBD topicals can help alleviate a variety of issues. A 2019 report by the Arthritis Foundation surveyed approximately 2,600 arthritis patients. Almost 80% of them said they used a CBD product purchased from online stores like Mellow. That said, if you too are curious to buy mellow products, then you can visit their website.

Anyway, coming back to the topic, nearly 30% of those surveyed said they used the CBD products specifically to help with arthritis symptoms. Interestingly, over half of users relied on a CBD topical. Those who champion the cannabinoid say they can put the cream on and walk away. Anecdotal reports from users suggest that CBD topicals help alleviate pain when applied to the joints.

How Do CBD Topicals Work?

Cannabidiol seems to work by activating the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Unlike THC, which has a direct impact on cannabinoid receptors, CBD acts indirectly. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2007 outlined that CBD acts as a CB2 receptor inverse agonist. According to the researchers, it could account for CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties.

When you apply a CBD topical, you potentially alleviate muscle soreness and skin conditions. The cannabinoid penetrates both dermal and subdermal skin layers. Therefore, it reaches a bit further than the skin’s surface. CBD’s effect on CB receptors could modulate pain and inflammation.

CBD activates TRPV1 receptors involved in the regulation of pain, inflammation, and body temperature. The cannabinoid could also inhibit Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH). The result is the production of feel-good chemicals such as anandamide.

Human skin is thicker than you might think. Therefore, when you apply a CBD topical, it soaks into the skin but doesn’t get to the bloodstream. If you want a topical product that makes it to the bloodstream, you need to purchase transdermal patches.

There are different product types to consider:

  • CBD Cream: This type of CBD topical involves adding the cannabinoids to an oil, water, and emulsifier mix. In general, the ratio of oil to water is 1:1, making it less thick than lotions.
  • CBD Lotion: This is very similar to creams insofar as it has the same mixture. However, there is a 7:2 ratio of oil to water, so lotion is considerably thicker than cream.
  • CBD Salves: This product involves a combination of beeswax and CBD extract. Unlike lotions and creams, salves don’t have any added water.

Are There Studies into CBD Topicals and Pain?

It is advisable to check the science before seeking CBD topicals for sale. At present, research into the use of creams and salves specifically is limited, but it does exist. A study published in the European Journal of Pain in 2016 looked at the effects of CBD gel.

The researchers rubbed the gel on rats with induced arthritis. They used four different amounts:

  • 0.6mg per day
  • 3.1mg per day
  • 6.2mg per day
  • 62.3mg per day

Each rat received an application for four consecutive days. Overall, the two largest doses had a positive effect. The researchers concluded that CBD topicals have therapeutic potential to relieve inflammation and pain related to arthritis. Furthermore, they didn’t notice any side effects.

Unfortunately, there is a scarcity of evidence of the efficacy of CBD topicals on humans in clinical trials. We know that rats share much of our physiology. For example, they have CB1 and CB2 receptors. Even when animal research has exciting results, we have to remember that it doesn’t necessarily transfer to humans.

Should I Consider Using CBD Topicals?

In general, CBD doesn’t appear to provide serious adverse effects. However, we have heard reports of dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea in rare cases. One great reason to try CBD cream from say, a CBD shop in Richardson, or elsewhere would be to get away from the addictive yoke of opioids.

The United States of America uses a huge percentage of the world’s opioids. Millions of Americans are now addicted to powerful painkillers. Individuals with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and back pain receive opioids from doctors. Soon, they find that they need to consume more to get the same effect as before.

A growing percentage of people are becoming addicted to these deadly drugs. An estimated 130 people die in the U.S. every day from an overdose related to opioid usage. For individuals that take such powerful drugs, it is worth trying CBD topicals to see if they can provide relief. There is little indication that CBD is addictive, although studies are ongoing.

If you are interested in trying a CBD topical, check out the PureKana range. It is a reputable brand that provides third-party lab reports with every batch of products. At present, it offers roll-on gel, transdermal patches, CBD ointment, and much more.


It often comes as a surprise to Stacy Trent that she has become a dedicated cannabidiol advocate. However, once she learned what CBD could do, she passionately got involved in the industry and soon teamed up with PureKana to share her knowledge. Today, with over a decade in the industry, she is eager to spread the word and reduce the level of misinformation that people receive. She achieves this by writing a large number of well-researched and informative articles on CBD and hemp.