When used correctly, CBD creams and lotions can be more effective than practically any other types of hemp products. Figuring out the best ways to use CBD topicals, however, can be challenging when you’re new to hemp or you haven’t used this particular product category before.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to use CBD topically whether you want to learn how to make CBD lotion or you’d rather go the easy and professional route with CBGenius CBD creams. As a bonus, we’ll also show you why people use CBD topicals for common conditions and explain why CBD cream might be better than other topical formulations for pain relief, skin health, and neurological conditions.
At CBGenius, we take the science of CBD seriously, which is why we take the time to put together these comprehensive guides. If you still have any questions at the end, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for clarification.
How to apply CBD lotions and skin creams
At first glance, using CBD topicals might seem easy. All you need to do is grab a dab of lotion, apply it to your skin, and rub it in—right? However, there are quite a few factors you need to take into account that you may or may not have considered, including:
- Whether the topical is oil-based or water-based
- How much CBD the topical contains
- The area where you’re applying the CBD topical
- Other ingredients the topical contains
- How frequently you should apply the CBD topical for best results
Let’s start with one of the most important distinctions you’ll need to consider as you find out how to use hemp topicals—the difference between oil-based and water-based topical products.
How to use oil-based CBD topicals
For centuries uncounted, almost all topically-applied healing substances had oil bases. It’s only with modern technology that we’ve been able to formulate water-based topicals that stay stable and deliver repeatable results. In the form of salves, balms, and other traditional healing tools, however, oil-based topicals have been around practically forever.
As with most archaic practices, using oil-based topicals has gradually gone out of vogue as water-based creams and lotions have become more reliable. While some purists might consider oil-based topicals to be more “natural,” they have some significant detractors that make them less viable than water-based alternatives, such as:
- Low absorption: Oil-based topicals do not absorb well into the bloodstream, and they remain on the surface of the skin instead.
- Greasy residue: All oil-based topicals, no matter how high-quality, leave residue on the skin that can transfer to clothes and surfaces.
- Weaker results: Since they stay on the surface of the skin without absorbing into deeper skin layers or into the bloodstream, oil-based topicals don’t work as well.
With oil-based topicals, there is no particular method that works better than others. No matter how you apply an oil-based topical, it will remain on the surface of your skin, and it will not absorb very effectively. Consider using a different type of CBD topical if you want effective results.
How to use water-based CBD topicals
Skin is generally hydrophobic, which means that it is not inherently permeable by water. With the right mixture of ingredients, however, it’s possible to make your skin hydrophilic, which allows it to transfer water from the epidermis all the way to underlying tissues.
Water-based topical formulations take advantage of this phenomenon to deliver active ingredients suspended in a water-based solution through successive skin layers until they reach underlying tissues and blood vessels. Water has been used as the base of topical formulations for decades, but it’s only recently that reliable, natural water-based formulations have been developed.
As an active ingredient that works best when it reaches deep skin layers, underlying tissues, and blood vessels, CBD is perfectly matched with water-based topical formulations. There are a few simple tips for using water-based CBD topicals that will help you get better results:
- After applying your water-based CBD topical, gently massage the area with your fingertips until it absorbs.
- Apply your water-based topical directly to the affected area for localized results. Apply it near a major blood vessel for more widespread results.
- Unlike oil-based topicals, you can re-apply water-based CBD topicals as soon as your skin is done absorbing the first application.
Water-based CBD topicals are generally easier to use than oil-based topicals, and they provide better results. In some cases, it may make sense to use both types of CBD topicals in tandem, but water-based topicals can usually provide the same benefits of oil-based topicals only more effectively.
CBD concentration & area of application
Regardless of whether your CBD topical is water-based or oil-based, you’ll need to factor in the potency of your balm, cream, or lotion to understand how much of it you should use and how frequently. As you check out the best CBD topicals online, you’ll find that your options vary widely in terms of total CBD content, and once you take bioavailability into account, you’ll realize that your options are even more diverse than you initially suspected.
There are no authoritative data to corroborate this hypothesis, but it’s likely that the bioavailability of oil-based topicals is about 20% of the bioavailability offered by water-based topicals. Whatever the CBD concentration of an oil-based topical may be, therefore, you’ll need to use five times as much to achieve the same results.
With water-based CBD topicals, the concentration of CBD present in the topical solution is directly related to how effective it will be in your body. With CBGenius Scented Topical CBD Cream 1000mg Full Spectrum CBD, for instance, each tub contains around 50-100 applications. Therefore, each application contains around 5-10mg of CBD, and depending on where you use it, this dose can have potent effects either locally or throughout your body.
How frequently should you use CBD topicals?
The frequency with which you use your CBD topical will affect both the potency of the effects you experience and the duration these effects last. While CBD topicals have the least impact on the central nervous system (CNS) of any kind of cannabidiol product, they still stimulate the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a natural part of the body’s neural signalling network.
It’s only when you use CBD consistently over a significant period of time that the endocannabinoid system becomes attuned to the hemp-based cannabinoids you’re ingesting (phytocannabinoids). Therefore, the effects of CBD topicals are most potent when you use them consistently over the course of 2-3 weeks. Even when you aren’t in need of relief, applying your CBD topical regularly will help your endocannabinoid system attune to cannabidiol and deliver better results over the long term.
When you apply CBD topicals regularly, there’s also less of a dropoff of effectiveness even when you skip applications. Once your endocannabinoid system is properly attuned, the benefits of CBD will continue to exert themselves even if you don’t use your hemp topical for multiple days. If you avoid using your CBD topical for more than a week, however, your endocannabinoid system will lose its balance, and the benefits of CBD will be harder to reacquire once regular dosing resumes.
CBD cream for pain relief
Now that we’ve covered best practices for applying CBD topicals, it’s time to examine why you might want to use topical CBD for common conditions. One of the most-reported uses of CBD topicals is for pain relief, and in this section, we’ll explain why so many people around the world have decided to rely on topically-applied hemp for this purpose and provide tips on the best ways to use CBD cream for pain relief.
All the different types of pain within the realm of human experience can be roughly categorized into two different types: neuropathic pain and inflammatory pain. As the name suggests, inflammatory pain is caused by inflammation, and in the brain and nervous system, this type of pain is mainly controlled by the TRP receptors.
TRPV1 is one of the most critical TRP neuroreceptors, and according to multiple studies, CBD appears to interact with TRPV1. We cover this subject in great detail in an earlier article—click here for more details.
Neuropathic pain, on the other hand, is caused by the nervous system, and it is alleviated by serotonin, one of the most prevalent neurotransmitters. Serotonin (5-HT) is primarily processed by 5-HT1a receptors, and these neuroreceptors determine how much serotonin should be present in your system.
Research indicates that CBD interacts extensively with the 5-HT1a receptors. We also cover this subject in great detail in another article—here’s the link.
How to use CBD cream for pain
When you use CBD topicals for pain, the key is consistency. It’s only when you apply your CBD topical to the same place over a significant period of time that your endocannabinoid system will adapt properly to provide the best results.
Plus, neuropathic and inflammatory pain are almost always caused by underlying conditions. With these underlying conditions alleviated, your tissues have time to heal, and the underlying conditions may dissipate.
Use your CBD topical for pain 2-3 times per day in the same spots. Even when you aren’t feeling pain, continue to apply your CBD topical to allow your body to adjust to the increased cannabinoid intake.
CBD cream for skin health
Many people use CBD topicals for specific conditions that occur under the skin’s surface. It’s just as common, however, to use CBD cream for acne, psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, or other conditions that exhibit themselves on the surface of the skin.
Most common skin conditions are caused by inflammation or oxidative stress, which helps explain why CBD has gained so much popularity for these ailments. Simple, natural treatments are rapidly becoming more desirable than their competitors in mainstream medicine, and research shows that CBD is one of the most promising natural healing tools on the market.
In addition to using this cannabinoid to treat specific skin conditions, people also rely on CBD to help with overall skin health and the symptoms of aging. Since aging in the skin is caused primarily by oxidative stress and inflammation, CBD has been used in anti-aging formulas at a rapidly increasing rate in recent years.
How to use CBD cream for aging and skin health
For skin conditions that show symptoms in particular zones or “hot spots,” it might be appropriate to only apply CBD cream in those areas. With acne, for instance, it’s common to only apply topical treatments directly to the site of breakouts.
Since acne is a condition that is ultimately caused by inflammation, however, it might make sense to apply topical anti-inflammatories across the entire area of skin that could be affected. Doing so could prevent acne breakouts before they occur, which is the ultimate goal of treating this condition topically.
People who use CBD cream for aging, on the other hand, usually apply their topicals widely across the affected area. With aging and other widespread conditions, it might make sense to apply CBD cream frequently throughout the day.
Overly agitating areas that express acne, rosacea, eczema, or other common inflammatory conditions could make symptoms worse, however. Therefore, CBD users who turn to this cannabinoid for these purposes generally choose to only apply their hemp cream for acne once or twice a day when their skin is clean and dry.
CBD cream for migraines
In recent years, our understanding of what causes migraine headaches has changed significantly. Scientists now recognize that these types of frequent, severe headaches are most common in women going through menopause, and it’s entirely possible that migraines may also have a genetic component.
It remains the case, however, that all types of headaches are either caused or supported by the dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the head. In some cases, these blood flow abnormalities are caused by underlying conditions, and in other cases (such as stress headaches), these dilations and constrictions are the cause of headaches themselves.
Whether your migraines have a hormonal or genetic basis, reducing strain in the tissues surrounding your skull will reduce your symptoms. The strain that causes headaches is commonly a result of inflammation or oxidative stress, which helps explain why so many people around the world have turned to CBD lotions for migraines and other types of headaches.
How to use CBD balm for migraines
Consumers primarily use CBD to either prevent headaches before they happen or treat headaches as they occur. When used preventively, it makes sense to apply CBD topicals to your head multiple times every day. If you have thick hair or a sensitive scalp, it might not make sense to apply CBD cream to every part of your head, many CBD users choose to apply their hemp cream at their temples, on their cheeks, and behind their ears as a compromise.
When used to treat the symptoms of headaches, CBD users keep their hemp balm on hand and apply it at the onset of pain. Many consumers report that doing so reduces the level of pain they experience and the duration of their headache symptoms.
Using CBD cream only when headache symptoms arise, however, will not help your body adjust to the presence of phytocannabinoids and may reduce the utility of the entourage effect. As with all other conditions that people use topical CBD for, consistent, daily use is essential. If using CBD helps with your headaches, make sure to share your experience in a product review or social media post to help everyone in your circle know what a #CBGenius you’ve become.
CBGenius CBD creams: Scientifically formulated and high-quality
At CBGenius, we separate ourselves from the crowd by applying the scientific method to everything we do. As we formulated our line of CBD topicals, we rigorously tested hypotheses and changed our methods to derive better and better results. That’s why we released additional CBD topical products last year—while our original line was already incredibly popular, our experiments told us something was missing.
These days, we offer three different formulations of CBD creams, and some contain CBD isolate while others contain full-spectrum CBD. Learn why this trio of topicals delivers the most impressive results on the market and why you should look no further for the best CBD cream for pain or other related conditions.
CBD Infused Hand & Body Lotion
Like all our other topicals, this product is water-based for maximum absorption rate and effectiveness. As the first CBD cream we developed, our CBD Infused Hand & Body Lotion is an all-purpose product that our customers use for aches and pains, psychological conditions, and overall skin health. With 1000mg isolate CBD per container, this topical offers more than enough CBD per dose to provide the results you’re looking for.
CBD Infused Athletic Lotion
Due to customer feedback, we decided to develop our CBD Infused Athletic Lotion as the second member of our all-star CBD topical cream lineup. This formula is similar to our original lotion, but it contains extra ingredients that are specifically targeted toward athletes and other people who push their bodies to the limit. With 1250mg isolate CBD per tub, our CBD Infused Athletic Lotion offer 25% more cannabinoid power, which our customers appreciate for recovery, pain, and other physical symptoms of overexertion.
Scented Topical CBD Cream Full Spectrum CBD
Unlike the rest of our topical products, our Scented Topical CBD Cream contains full-spectrum hemp extract, which leaves all the terpenes, flavonoids, and trace cannabinoids present in hemp flower intact. Full-spectrum CBD may provide the entourage effect, a theoretical phenomenon that improves the potency of cannabinoids.
This topical also differs from our other offerings by providing three alluring scents to choose from: Berry, Lavender, and Unscented. Due to improved production processes, we’re also able to offer this full-spectrum CBD lotion at a lower cost, which seals the deal for anyone looking for the best deals on hemp cream online.
Try the CBGenius difference today
CBGenius is always pushing the limits of what’s possible. From adding new product categories like CBD flower to continually improving our hemp lotion lineup, we listen to our customers and provide exactly what they need to enjoy CBD to the absolute fullest.
The most important way we take things to the next level is by providing in-depth education on everything related to CBD, cannabinoids, and non-intoxicating cannabis in general. CBD has already revolutionized the natural health landscape, and with your support, CBGenius will continue promoting scientific rigor and accountability throughout the industry.
Check out the CBD creams we’ve linked above now that you understand how cannabinoids work when applied topically. If you need help ordering or want to provide feedback on our products, never hesitate to reach out.