How To Use CBD Cream On Your Skin (Topical CBD)

jen keehn

Written by Jen Keehn

Dr. El-Hajj

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sandra El-Hajj

Cannabis extracts have been used topically to relieve pain and treat skin rashes in India and Latin America for hundreds of years.

CBD skin products come in ointments, salves, and lotions.

They are not psychoactive and can be used to treat pain, inflammatory skin rashes, and bacterial skin infections.

Topical benefits of CBD Cream & CBD lotion

CBD Topical Products

CBD and cannabis products made for skin application have a wide possibility of use:

Topical CBD seems to be one of the most versatile applications for this already very versatile compound.

We keep hearing from  people complaining about how conventional medicine is not working for them:

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How does CBD work on the skin?

The endocannabinoid system is thought to play an important role in the immune response of our skin. 

An improper immune response can result in inflammation. That is what makes CBD under the microscope. The whole medical body is researching about CBD and its anti-inflammatory for inflammation-related skin conditions.

A study published in 2019 by the Journal of Antioxidants explained how CBD is considered to be as the pioneer active phytocannabinoids of the Cannabis plant. The study showed the superior biological effects of CBD at a cellular level, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties1.

Other important functions of the endocannabinoid system in the skin include regulation of cell growth and wound healing. A study published in November 2020 explained how CBD improves wound healing by modulating key molecular pathways. While wound healing is normally referred to as the wound closure. The healing process has two steps which are the closure as well as the maturation and remodeling of the wound. This is where CBD came in handy: it was linked to the modulation of keratinocyte phenotype and several components of the inflammatory microenvironment. By this, CBD is highly effective in the wound management and healing2. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors have been found throughout the skin.

Due to the fact that skin is the largest organ in your body, it makes sense to apply an effective nourishing topical lotion that will benefit you. Topically applied, CBD and its other ingredients can have this amazing effect!

When you apply your CBD lotion, the CBD is absorbed into your skin along with the additional ingredients present in the lotion. It’s the exact same process as with any regular facial and bodily cream.

Since CBD lotion is somehow applied to a specific location on your body, the benefits that the CBD are bringing in are hyper-focused on the area where it was applied.

If you are prone to arthritis or are prone to experiencing shooting pain in your neck, CBD lotion can be used to deliver the CBD to that exact location, providing relief.

The skin is the front line barrier where all exchanges happen. It absorbs and delivers nutrients from lotions or oils that are applied to it. So, if you are using a CBD product, that’s where absorption happens for the CBD!

best cbd topicals

Where to buy CBD Topicals

Popped.NYC: The goal of Popped.NYC is to help people find relief with CBD products and through compassionate consultations with their expert customer care team. Aside from their best selling body butter, they also carry powerful CBD patches for pain and inflammation.

See Beauty: This is a woman-owned brand that produces all-natural botanical CBD skincare products. Aside from the benefits listed above, their line can also assist in anti-aging. They have products that are specially formulated for different parts of your body such as eye cream, face oil, face elixir and body butter.

HEMPRA: This company specializes in offering the best CBD products on the market in the form of monthly CBD subscription boxes. They curate your box just for you with their fun CBD quiz. You can also purchase individual products and samples, including hard to find products such as Vici Patches.

Are there side effects of using CBD on the skin?

Using CBD On The Skin

CBD and cannabis skin products are generally safe to apply liberally to the skin. They are not likely to cause any side effects. 

Even if the topical product contains THC, you need to note that psychoactivity will not happen as it is unlikely with this delivery method.

Despite the safety claims, it is however still very important to test a small amount of the CBD cream on your skin before applying liberally to the affected area. Just test it and observe any possible adverse or allergic reaction. Allergic reactions have occurred with some users. Dermatologists agree that when it comes to your skin, patch testing your product is a great way to start! 

With all the products out there on the market, keep in mind to not opt for CBD skin products containing alcohol, which could worsen your condition.

In the light where you do develop an allergic reaction, it may not necessarily be caused by CBD or one of the cannabinoids; but, the result of any of the other ingredients found in your cream. 

For example, you may be having an allergic response to an additive in the product.

Always check the product labels and try to find products that only contain CBD and cannabinoids while having the base carrier natural like coconut oil or hempseed oil.

How should I use CBD on my skin?

Always talk to your doctor before using CBD, especially if you already take other medications.

CBD can cause drug interactions.

Most likely, you do not need to worry about possible drug interactions when using CBD topically; but, talking to your doctor and/or dermatologist is always the best way to start on a new dermatological regimen.

After making sure you are not allergic, you can liberally apply the CBD lotion to any area on your skin where you are feeling pain or skin irritation.

People with arthritis pain have reported fast relief by applying cannabinoid-rich topical products directly to an inflamed and painful joint3.

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CBD lotions and balms can be used on the hands, knees, feet, back, and neck.

People are reporting success in treating eczema with CBD.

CBD for eczema

There is also growing evidence that CBD might be effective for the treatment of psoriasis as well. You can read more about this in CBD for Psoriasis: The Latest Research.

While it’s generally recommended to stick to external use only, some people have reported CBD lotion to be effective for treating hemorrhoids.

CBD for hemorrhoids

Mixing different delivery methods of CBD is common and people have reported success with using topical applications at the same time as a tincture or vape product for faster relief of their symptoms.

What terpenes are good for CBD topical applications?

If you want to have terpenes in your CBD cream. Look for B-caryophyllene and pinene. These terpenes are anti-inflammatory and work synergistically with THC and CBD

What are studies saying about using cannabinoids (CBD and THC) for topical applications?

  • When CBD gels were applied to rats with arthritic knee joints, their was found a reduction in join swelling4 
  • Topical application of THC was found to decrease allergic inflammation in a model of eczema
  • Five major phytocannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and CBC) showed potent activity against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)5
  • Topical cannabinoid extracts demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in laboratory animal experiments


1Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(1), 21.

2Weigelt, M., Sivamani, R., & Lev‐Tov, H. (2020, November 27). The therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for integumentary wound management. Retrieved January 12, 2021, from

3Robert H. Shmerling, M. (2020, April 09). Does CBD help with arthritis pain? Retrieved January 12, 2021, from

4Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European journal of pain (London, England), 20(6), 936–948.

5Appendino, G., Gibbons, S., Giana, A., Pagani, A., Grassi, G., Stavri, M., Smith, E., & Rahman, M. M. (2008). Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. Journal of natural products, 71(8), 1427–1430.

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