How do CBD topicals work?

How do CBD topicals work?

Posted by Chesca (Updated by Deanna W.) , Root Source CBD on Oct 4th 2023

A CBD topical can come in various forms from lotions, to salves, to soaps. Regardless of the specified from, CBD compounds in these products bind to the endocannabinoid receptors in the three layers of your skin: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous tissues. There are three possible pathways for a CBD topical to travel through these layers: through appendages (such as hair follicles or sweat ducts), passing through skin cells, or through the matrix layers. Most topicals can permeate the skin using any one or all of these pathways. 

The permeation process starts with the application of the CBD topical and ends with the diffusion of the product. Various topicals are better suited for certain needs. For example, a water based topical (lotion/cream) will apply and diffuse differently than an oil based topical (balm/salve). Water based topicals will absorb quicker. However, there is a distinction between topicals and transdermals.

Some CBD products are solely topicals, such as CBD Livity Topical Extra Strength Salve, that promote wellness in targeted locations of your body where applied. Others are technologically enhanced with chemical penetration enhancers (CPEs) that increase the amount of CBD that can cross the skin barrier, such as Myaderm's Advanced Therapy Cream. Transdermal CBD products can use CPEs to allow CBD to enter your bloodstream and promote wellness in areas of your body other than the site of application. Studies have shown that certain terpenes can potentially work as CPEs as well.

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