November 03, 2022 6 min read

You’ve probably heard that CBD interacts with body’s endocannabinoid system to provide a variety of therapeutic benefits, but what does that really mean? Moreover, how does that magic apply to CBD when applied topically? What does CBD lotion do for the skin and even beneath the surface?

To put it briefly, endocannabinoid receptors are present in your skin, and CBD can have many benefits when applied topically. There may even be some increased benefits to using CBD topicals because of the way your skin absorbs CBD. Let’s dig into the details behind using CBD as part of your skincare routine:

Table of Contents
What is CBD?
What is CBD Lotion?
How CBD Lotion Works
Why Topical CBD Lotion?
Benefits of CBD Lotion
How CBD Lotion is Used
Where to Buy CBD Lotion

Key Takeaways

  • CBD interacts within the cannabinoids receptors deep below the skin's surface.
  • Although CBD can penetrate deeply, CBD lotion will not reach the bloodstream.
  • CBD lotion may be a more viable option for anyone who needs to avoid systemic CBD due to medication interactions or who needs to avoid the intake of THC found in full spectrum CBD products.
  • Topicals may be useful both for managing localized ailments beneath the skin surface, like muscle pains, and for soothing ailments affecting the skin’s surface.

What is CBD?

CBD is a hemp-derived cannabinoid that looks and acts like the body’s natural endocannabinoids, or messaging signals that help the body regulate functions like appetite, metabolism, sleep cycles, inflammation and pain signaling, and more.

Because CBD looks and acts like some of these endocannbinoids, many experts believe that it can help to regulate many of these functions as well. So much so that CBD has even been identified as a potential treatment for clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, and some forms of CBD hav been FDA approved to treat epilepsy.

CBD’s side effect profile may be much less risky than that of various prescription medications, which is why many people want to turn to CBD first or even as an additional treatment to help manage daily ailments.

A person rubbing CBD lotion into their hands to soothe the skin

CBD Lotion: What is it?

CBD lotion is a creamy, topical form of CBD designs to be moisturizing while helping CBD to penetrate the skin deeply. This type of CBD formulation may be the best bet for certain skin-focused issues requiring extra moisture, and it may even have some general benefits that make it useful for a daily skincare routine.

Before we dig into the potential benefits, keep in mind that only your doctor can help you decide if CBD is right for managing any existing health conditions, and you should talk to your doctor before using CBD products for medicinal purposes.

How CBD Lotion Works

Once applied topically, CBD penetrates the dermal and subdermal skin layers. That means that CBD dives deeper than the skin’s surface level where it can interact with Endocannabinoid receptors that lie deep in the body’s tissues. Depending on the CBD product’s formulation, it may interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, both of which may help to moderate the body’s pain and inflammation response.

A topical product may also interact with TRPV receptors, which control the way the body interprets temperature and related pain, like pain from a burn. Some research suggests that CBD can also impact the body’s PPAR-gamma factor, an insulin resistance receptor that plays a role in energy and metabolism regulation.

The way that CBD topicals work within the skin is complicated and not yet fully understood, but the general mechanism is the same as the way that CBD interacts with these receptors in the brain. Because it can bind with different nerve receptors, CBD can send signals to the brain that may help to soothe the pain response or lower inflammation. When CBD binds with the receptor site, it also blocks other nerve signals from binding, so it may be able to block pain and inflammatory signals.

Now that you understand the basic function of CBD once it enters the skin, let’s talk about some of the potential benefits of CBD lotion:

A person gently rubbing CBD cream onto their hands near a glass jar of CBD cream and a tube of CBD lotion.

Why Topical CBD Lotion?

When used topically, CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in a localized area. More specifically, a CBD lotion can help to target specific spots on the skin that needs extra attention, moisture, and balance. Lotions are specifically formulated to be light and moisturizing which makes them a perfect option for dry, rough, irritated patches of skin.

Furthermore, CBD lotions can be designed using additional ingredients that target more specific ailments. For instance, herbal blends and essential oil additives can be targeted at reducing redness and irritation or increasing healing, providing a supportive boost for CBD’s benefits.

One major benefit of CBD lotion, however, is that topical CBD won’t interfere with most medications, so you can use it in addition to your regular systemic treatments (with your doctor’s approval, of course). This is because CBD (and other cannabinoids) do not reach the bloodstream when applied topically.

Because you can safely use CBD topicals without a systemic impact, it is more accessible to those taking certain medications that interact with CBD or those who need to avoid the trace amounts of THC found in full spectrum CBD products. This also means that you can double up on CBD doses without taking too much by using a systemic dose and a topical dose at the same time.

So, thanks to it’s ability to penetrate the skin and interact with the endocannabinoid system below the skin’s dermal layers, CBD lotion may provide an array of benefits.

Benefits of CBD Lotion

Research surrounding CBD mostly concerns systemic use, either by oral dosing or intravenous injection. There is, of course, a little bit of research to help us understand the potential benefits of CBD lotion. Of course, more research is needed, but many researchers are interested in investigating CBD topicals for the following potential benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • General pain relief
  • Treatment for acne and other blemishes
  • Treatment for itching
  • Relief from nerve-related pain
  • Managing infections, like MRSA
  • Boosted healing process

Some of these potential benefits are evidence-based. For instance, there is a great deal of interest surrounding topical CBD’s potential benefits for soothing inflammation and pain. One 2016 study investigated the use of topical CBD for arthritis and found that it may have long lasting benefits for reducing inflammation and pain in animal models.

A 2020 study found that CBD may help to reduce pain related to neuropathy, a condition characterized by nerve damage that causes numbness and weakness in the hands and feet. Neuropathy can be difficult to treat, but some evidence has also found CBD to be potentially useful for treating related conditions when taken orally, meaning an ingestible and topical dose could be paired to help manage extreme cases.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), topical CBD could also be useful for managing certain inflammatory skin conditions, like acne, psoriasis, and eczema. One studyeven confirms that CBD could be useful for treating pruritus, or unexplained itching of the skin, another condition that’s poorly understood and difficult to treat.

Of course, CBD is not yet approved as a treatment for any skin conditions or pain conditions by the FDA, but future efforts aim at uncovering the many clinical uses of CBD topicals.

How CBD Topicals Are Used

As we mentioned, CBD lotion is simple a creamy, thinner topical form of CBD designed to help penetrate the skin deeply and provide moisturizing benefits. It is not the only form of CBD topical, even though it is sometimes used as a catch-all term for topical CBD products.

Other forms of CBD topicals may include salves, balms, muscle rubs, creams, and even body oils. Each different formula has a slightly different intent thanks to the oils used to create the base of each product and the additional ingredients added.

As an example, a balm usually contains thicker, anti-oxidant rich oils in a solid form. This type of CBD product may be the perfect option for promoting healing or offering full coverage in small areas that need deep moisturization. Our CBD Skin Balm, for instance, is designed to soothe topical scrapes, cuts, burns, and more. The functional formula combines nourishing rosehip oil and shea nut butter with rejuvenating essential oils to help support optimal skin health and healing.

A CBD lotion, however, is the best option for a large application area, moderate moisturization, or someone needing a non-greasy application that will be quickly absorbed by the skin. A large rash, overall dry skin, or itchy areas of skin are all good examples of when a lotion-style formula may be useful.

Vida Optima VidaDerm CBD Skin Care Collection

Where to Buy CBD Topicals

Now that CBD products are legal and accessible, you can find all kinds of CBD topicals, both locally and when shopping for CBD online. Of course, the hemp industry is still underregulated, so its up to consumers to ensure that the products they purchase meet adequate quality standards.

We recommend looking for a brand that uses organic hemp, experienced manufacturing technicians, and third-party testing to prove label accuracy.

Our VidaDerm CBD Skin Care line is carefully formulated with premium CBD extract, hand chosen botanicals, and nourishing plant oils to offer a gentle and effective option for combating skin concerns at the surface and aches and pains deep in the joints. Pair it with a systemic CBD dose from our Vitality Collection for a full-coverage CBD wellness routine.


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