It’s official: you can put CBD in anything. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-intoxicating component in cannabis and hemp plants. Yet, while the world is going through a major CBD craze at the moment, some CBD products make sense while others don’t.
A CBD hamburger? Not so much. CBD topicals? Yes, please.
But, what are CBD topicals, exactly? And, do they even work? Before your next trip to the drug store, there are a few things you should know before you slather the cannabis compound all over your skin.
Photo via Getty Images
If there’s one overlooked hemp product, it’s CBD topicals. CBD comes in many different forms. While most individuals consume the cannabis compound as a dietary supplement, it can also be infused into creams, balms, salves, beauty products, and other products that can be applied directly onto the skin.
A CBD topical is simply a lotion, salve, or another cosmetic product that is applied externally rather than inhaled or ingested. Topical products are often made with CBD that has been extracted from hemp plants, and then infused into carrier oils to create self-care items that are nourishing for the skin.
Photo courtesy of Ignite CBD
In a way, CBD topicals are nothing new. Plants, like cannabis and arnica flower, have been used topically for millennia. In fact, topical cannabis applications are among the oldest uses of the plant. Traditionally, cannabis and other medicinal plants were used in poultices, infused into oils, and added into crude salves.
Before the advent of pharmaceuticals and the rise of modern medicine, topical preparations of medicinal plants were used to treat wounds, ease pain, reduce inflammation, and provide relief for minor physical injuries and skin abrasions.
Today, many people use CBD topicals for similar purposes. Although, it’s now more common to use CBD lotions and creams as a topical remedy for muscle soreness and joint pain. Many athletes and fitness gurus use CBD topicals to aid in post-workout recovery or to simply ease tension after a long day at work.
As such, CBD topicals are often used in personal massage. A CBD Roll-On, like that offered by Ignite, can be used as both a massage tool and as a topical recovery aid. Featuring a rolling applicator, the topical can be applied directly to any problematic spots, and the applicator itself can be used to massage any trigger points or areas of tension. Handy, right?
Photo by Connor Fyfe for Herb
When inhaled or ingested, CBD can have mood-altering properties. Topicals, however, don’t produce these cognitive effects. Instead, CBD topicals work their magic by soaking into layers of the skin, not into the bloodstream.
While research on cannabis-infused topicals is currently underway, early reports suggest that topical CBD may not only help relieve pain and inflammation but may be useful for skin irritations like allergies. Although, more research is needed to say for sure.
CBD topicals work best when combined with other synergistic plants. For example, the presence of certain aroma molecules may help compounds like CBD sink deeper into the skin giving the active effects more impact. Although, may is the key word here. In addition, many of the best topicals combine CBD with plants with a proven track record of easing pain and inflammation.
Pain creams from Ignite offer an excellent example. Ignite’s Recharge CBD Pain Cream not only contains invigorating lemon essential oil but also features arnica extract and menthol crystals. These botanicals work in tandem with one another to amplify the pain-relieving and soothing effects of the CBD pain cream.
Both CBD and arnica extract are expected to have pain-relieving properties. In fact, in animal studies, both extracts not only reduced pain, but decreased inflammation. The primary active constituent in this pain cream, however, is menthol crystal. Menthol is a natural component of peppermint, and it is a primary ingredient in many muscle rubs and pain salves.
Unlike CBD and arnica, menthol has demonstrated success as an analgesic. In fact, you have menthol to thank for the tingly, cooling sensation found in many topical products for athletic recovery. When combined with both CBD and arnica, a product like Ignite CBD Pain cream represents a triple threat in terms of natural relief.
Photo courtesy of Ignite CBD
Once applied, the active effects of a CBD topical can last up to three hours. Although, this time frame comes with a grain of salt. Most CBD topicals contain a range of additional essential oils, some of which may produce strong active effects on their own. As such, some topicals may provide relief longer than others.
In terms of shelf life, every CBD topical has its own expiration date. CBD lotions made at home, for example, will expire much more quickly than a professional product like those from Ignite. In general, products sold online and in stores feature a shelf-life of six months to a year. When in doubt, however, it’s best to contact the brand and ask about their specific product.
CBD topicals vary in price, with the average being $30 to $70 depending on the brand, the product, and the product size. Brands like Ignite offer products on the affordable end of the spectrum, with their CBD Roll on selling for a $30, an excellent deal for 1000 milligrams of CBD. CBD-infused makeup and other beauty products may cost substantially more, as infused cosmetics often reach the higher end of the price spectrum.
Photo courtesy of Ignite CBD
These days, it’s easy to find CBD. Depending on where you live, CBD products may be available at your local drug store, as well as at specialized cosmetic and natural health stores. The easiest place to find CBD skincare products, however, is online. Ignite products, for example, are available for online order and can be shipped to most U.S. states.
A word of advice before you buy? Read the ingredient lists. While manufacturers like Ignite offer plant-based and eco-friendly products, some topicals may contain harsh ingredients that do very little for your skin and overall comfort. As with most health and wellness products, a little research is always worth your time.