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Cannabis salves, lotions, balms, and creams can be applied to the skin where they are absorbed through the skin for immediate and temporary pain relief. Recent studies show CBD (cannabidiol) salves and lotions offer localized relief of pain, inflammation, muscle soreness, psoriasis, rashes, and arthritis.

CBD topicals offer a way to discover the healing properties of cannabis while eliminating the fear of ‘getting high’ or to keep THC out of the bloodstream. In essence, topicals offer a non-threatening introduction to a medicine that could decrease pain and relieve inflammation. This is important for patients who need to keep their blood and urine tests free from a positive THC test.

Are CBD topicals psychoactive?

CBD salves, lotions, balms, and skin creams are usually non-psychoactive. Using a topical is one of the most non-invasive ways to use cannabis therapeutically. Topicals are useful for conditions that are within one inch of the surface of the skin. They do not penetrate to deeper areas and are great for a variety of skin ailments.

CBD topicals infused with psychoactive cannabinoids

People who use CBD lotions and creams infused with psychoactive cannabinoids such as THC should not feel a cerebral effect (high), only localized relief.

Full-spectrum vs CBD isolate salves and lotions

Full-spectrum CBD topicals contain more than a hundred different cannabinoids present in cannabis and hemp plants. When the cannabinoids are used together in its most natural state, an entourage effect occurs. In the most simple terms, the compounds present in cannabis typically work better together than when isolated.

Full spectrum is commonly used for medicinal purposes. Currently, more than 100 cannabinoids have been isolated, including CBD, CBC, CBG (the stem cell of the plant), and CBDV.

CBD isolate salves, lotions, and creams contain nothing except pure, isolated CBD. There should minimal amounts of terpenes, or flavonoids in the product. If you are skeptical about a product, ask to see their lab results. Lab results will give a detailed analysis of the accuracy, cannabinoid profiles and pesticide levels. Reputable companies will display their lab results on their website.

CBD isolate salves and lotions are good options for individuals like government workers, professional athletes, and pilots who need to keep THC out of their system. It is important to note that a very small percentage of CBD will be converted to THC once it enters the bloodstream.

How to use CBD topicals

CBD topicals often contain different dosages; micro (0.5 mg to 20 mg per dose per day), standard (10 mg to 100 mg per dose per day), and macro/therapeutic (50 mg to 800 mg per dose per day). Ask your doctor what dosage is best for your condition. When applied to the skin for localized relief, CBD salves usually take about 15 minutes to start working and lasts for 2-4 hours. This will vary depending on the person’s body weight, severity of the condition, and sensitivity to cannabis. The medicine stays in the area it was applied and does not enter the bloodstream.

CBD Topicals vs Transdermal Patches

CBD Transdermal patches differ greatly from salves, lotions, balms and skin creams. They are medicated adhesive patches that are placed on the skin and release small amounts of medication into the bloodstream over a long period of time. Transdermal patches usually last from 6 to 10 hours and are a good option to discreetly treat a condition. CBD patches are different from other topicals because they can penetrate all seven epidermal layers of the skin to reach the bloodstream. This is a significant distinction. Full-spectrum CBD patches often contain THC and will have psychoactive effects.

What else is inside CBD topicals?

CBD lotions, salves, and creams might also include essential oils (for scents), turmeric oils, mango butter, shea butter, Vitamin E and hemp oil.

Talking with your doctor about CBD as a treatment option

If you are considering adding CBD to your treatment options, first talk with your doctor. If your doctor is unfamiliar with medicinal cannabis treatment options, consult with a doctor is who is familiar with medicinal cannabis and CBD treatments.

Questions to ask your doctor about CBD salves and lotions

  • Which dosage should I take?
  • How often do I need to use CBD?
    • Every day?
    • A few times a day?
    • Before bedtime?
    • After meals?
  • What are the emergency signs that I should visit an Urgent Care center?
  • What are signs that I should stop using the CBD topical?
  • Is hemp-based CBD or marijuana-based CBD topical best for my condition?
    • If you use hemp-based CBD, look for a product that contains CBD derived from solvent free CO2 extraction.

An important note from MamasHealth.com. Self-treatment can be dangerous and put your health at risk, so be sure to include your doctor in your decisions.

MamasHealth acknowledges that research on CBD and the effects of CBD on the endocannabinoid system are rapidly evolving and the range of possible findings remains wide. MamasHealth makes no claims that CBD products are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and recommends all individuals consult with their health care professionals prior to using CBD.