Topical CBD: How Does It Work?

The world of CBD is becoming one of endless possibilities. Different brands offer different doses, different sources, and different delivery methods. While tinctures, pills, and edibles remain among the most popular forms of CBD, transdermal or topical applications of CBD have energized and challenged the category, carving a new path for those seeking immediate relief from a variety of ailments including pain, inflammation, sleep disorders, and more. Because topical CBD has only recently become a favored therapeutic application of CBD, we’re going to take a deeper look into how it works and why it’s an excellent way to seek relief. 

So, what does topical or transdermal CBD even mean? Topical CBD is any form of CBD that’s absorbed into the skin. This oftentimes means lotions, face oils, patches, serums, and salves. How does it work? It’s surprisingly simple. When applied, the CBD contained in the topical formula is absorbed into the skin, quickly entering your body and allowing it to begin reaping the calming, immune-boosting, pain-busting benefits of CBD. 

But does this make topical CBD any better than other forms of CBD? Well, yes, it does. The most common form of CBD delivery is oral, usually meaning edibles, pills, or tinctures. While this might seem like the fastest way to get CBD into your system, it’s actually not. Why? Because of something known as the first-pass effect. The first-pass effect is a phenomenon wherein orally-ingested CBD gets metabolized and broken down by your digestive system and liver. This means that by the time your body is done digesting it, the concentration of CBD that remains available to your body has been significantly reduced. This reduction in available CBD, also known as bioavailability, means that the potency and efficacy of an orally administered CBD product are not up to par with the topically administered CBD. 

Another perk of topical CBD is that it allows you to create targeted treatments. Let’s say that your face is feeling irritated and inflamed. By applying CBD directly to your face, you’re delivering the solution right to the source of the problem, allowing for a faster and more direct treatment option. The same goes for pain and swelling. If you’ve got a knee or ankle that feels particularly swollen, sore, or stiff, a topical application will guide potent anti-inflammatory agents straight to their destination instead of having to be first be metabolized and broken down by your digestive system. 

The final benefit of topical CBD, and perhaps the most significant, is that studies have shown that topical CBD is absorbed by the skin for longer periods than orally administered CBD. This simply means that topical CBD remains active on the skin for a long period of time, allowing your body to receive potent relief for a longer window after the first application. This means fewer reapplications, less wasted product, and more consistent relief. 

Ultimately, the best CBD is the one that works for you. Topical CBD is a uniquely excellent option because it allows for quick, easy application, targeted relief, and lasting comfort throughout the day. While there are many varieties to pick from, the most important thing to consider is the potency of the product, and there is ample evidence to support the fact that the delivery method certainly plays a major role in how much CBD your body actually ends up receiving.

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