Many people often wonder if CBD topicals actually work? This unique way to use CBD allows you to target a specific area where you may be experiencing pain and inflammation. As the CBD market has grown many are intrigued by the idea of applying CBD topicals to joints and other areas of pain to provide relief. This blog will examine what CBD topicals are, things to keep in mind when buying one, and look at if they actually work. 

What Is A CBD Topical? 

A CBD topical can refer to several different kinds of CBD products. CBD topicals include creams, lotions, balms, rubs, and more. The main difference between CBD topicals and other CBD products is how the product absorbs into the body. When you take an internal CBD product such as an oil, gummies, capsules, or other application it absorbs into the body either through the sublingual glands in your mouth or your digestive system. These types of CBD products allow the CBD to be distributed throughout your body.  

When you use a topical CBD product it doesn’t work in the same ways as a CBD product that you ingest. Rather, CBD topicals are applied to one location and the effects stay concentrated in that area. For instance, if you apply CBD to your knee, the effects are going to stay concentrated around the knee. A topical CBD product applied to the knee would have no effect on pain you may be experiencing in your back as well.  

CBD topicals work by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a complex network of receptors located throughout the body that help regulate pain, inflammation, mood, and more. The skin, muscles, and joints have their own cannabinoid receptors. Applying a topical solution then, allows the CBD to bind with these specific receptors. What this means is that if you are having an issue that is more localized, a topical application of hemp may be the way to go. 

How Are CBD Topicals Made? 

CBD topicals start with a hemp plant. CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found inside of the hemp plant. It is extracted from the plant and then infused into a topical application. It could be infused in a cream, balm, or rub. The result is a product that can be applied directly to your skin.  

Topicals can be created from a wide array of ingredients, but the best topicals use all-natural products. This starts with the hemp itself. You should always look for a product that is made with organically grown, non-GMO hemp. After you have determined that your product uses all-natural CBD it is important to check the other ingredients. A good CBD topical will use as many all-natural ingredients as possible.  

It is also worth noting that CBD topicals come in a variety of milligram strengths. The milligram strength of a product simply refers to how much CBD there is in a product. The more CBD the product has the stronger the product is. 

Different Types of CBD Topicals  

We have already mentioned that there are many different types of CBD topicals. The topical type you choose may be based either on preference or a particular application that may fit your needs best. Let’s review some of the different topical types and their characteristics just so you know what you may find in your local CBD store. 

  • Lotions and Creams: Rich formulas that offer abundant moisture by absorbing into the skin within minutes while sending cannabinoids deep beneath the surface. 
  • Balms and Rubs: Contain soothing ingredients in an oil-based or cream-based form. Meant to target soreness in the muscles and joints. 
  • Salves: A waxy formula like a balm. Made by infusing plant material into an oil and adding beeswax and other ingredients to it. These products feel greasy on contact, but they absorb into the skin quickly. 
  • Sprays: Water-based solutions which may increase the absorption of the cannabidiol. They are great for covering a larger area of the body. 
  • Gels: Can come in a bottle or stick form that contain either cooling or warming ingredients. Meant to help sooth your muscles and joints. 
  • Massage Oils: Simply contain CBD which conditions the skin, making it supple and soft, along with having a nice scent and blissful ingredients. 

Factors To Consider When Buying CBD Topicals 

There are several factors to consider when you are buying CBD topicals to ensure that they actually work. The factors most important to consider are the quality of the product, milligram strength, other ingredients in the product, and different types of CBD extract. 

Product Quality  

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is product quality. As we touched on earlier, it is important to ensure that the product uses all-natural materials. The other thing to make sure of is that it is, in fact, real CBD. The only way to know if the product actually contains CBD is to see third-party lab results. Any reputable company should have these available. This not only means that the manufacturer should be able to show them to you, but your CBD store should also have them as well. If you aren’t able to see independent lab results for the product then you should seriously consider using a different product. 

Milligram Strength  

The more milligrams of CBD there are in the product generally, the stronger that it is. This is an important factor to consider when purchasing your CBD product. If the product doesn’t have enough CBD in it then it may not be able to help you with your particular ailment. Just like we mentioned above the milligram strength should both be clearly printed on the packaging and should also be able to be verified with third-party lab results. 

One word of caution are products that make extremely high milligram strength claims. If you see a product that claims 1 million milligrams of CBD, you should immediately be extremely skeptical of that product. There are many products making outrageous claims about the strength of their product that are simply not true. 

Other Ingredients 

When exploring different available CBD topicals, carefully read through the ingredients. Some products use higher-quality ingredients than others. In fact, a select group may utilize ingredients that your skin does not tolerate very well. Additionally, some topicals contain secondary active ingredients such as menthol or arnica that can take your experience to a whole new level. 

So, in this case it is not just about checking for all-natural ingredients, but also checking for ingredients that will work well for you and your application. An example is some people absolutely love a topical that gives their skin either a cooling or warming sensation. However, not everyone prefers those feelings so if you don’t like those sensations make sure your topical doesn’t have any ingredients that would give your skin those sensations. 

Different Types of CBD  

You may be wondering what the heck are different types of CBD? Well, when you purchase CBD there are three different types of CBD extract a product may contain. The three different types of CBD extract include the following. 

  • Full Spectrum Extract: Naturally contains the complete variety of compounds found in the hemp plant, including trace amounts of THC.   
  • Broad Spectrum Extract: Has every hemp compound except for THC.  
  • CBD Isolate: Just purely concentrated CBD with no other compounds present. 

While there is no best product type, there is some research that shows that full spectrum products may work best. This is due to something called the entourage effect, which states that the CBD tends to work better when it is working with all the components of the hemp plant as opposed to simply by itself. 


The original question was do CBD topicals actually work? The answer is yes, but you need to have a high-quality product. If the product is made with all-natural materials from organic hemp and has been third-party lab tested, then you are on the right track. If you carefully read the ingredients and milligram strength to ensure that it is the right product for your application, then you are another step closer to the right product. Finally, if you consider the type of CBD extract you are using and pick the best one for you than you likely have a quality CBD product that will help you with your condition. 

If you have any questions about your CBD topicals a legitimate CBD store like CBD Supply Maryland should be able to help you through the process of your purchase. They will use all the information above to know how to choose the right hemp-based topical product that will meet your specific needs.