UPDATED: October 9, 2020

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.

Table of Contents

  • topical benefits of CBD Cream & CBD lotion
  • How does CBD work on the skin?
  • Are there side effects of using CBD on the skin?
  • How should I use CBD on my skin?
  • What terpenes are good for CBD topical applications?
  • What are studies saying about using cannabinoids (CBD and THC) for topical applications?
  • have you used CBD on your skin?
  • resources
  • Related products posts

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.

Weekly it seems we hear from  people who have had no luck with conventional medicine:

Screen Shot 2017 05 28 at 1.40.45 AM

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 and this is why CBD is being researched as an anti-inflammatory for inflammation-related skin conditions.

Other important functions of the endocannabinoid system in the skin include regulation of cell growth and wound healing.

Both CB1 and CB2 receptors have been found throughout the skin.

Due to the fact that your skin Is the largest organ in the human body, it makes sense that by applying a topical lotion to your skin that you will benefit from CBD and other ingredients that are in your topical CBD product.

When you apply your CBD lotion onto your skin the CBD is absorbed into your skin along with the additional ingredients in your lotion. It’s not any different than when you use face cream or sunscreen. 

Since CBD lotion is applied to a specific location on your body, the benefits that the CBD are bringing to your body are hyper-focused on the area that you applied the CBD lotion. 

If you tend to get arthritis in a knee or a shooting pain in your neck, CBD lotion can be used to focus the CBD to an exact location of the body. 

The skin is excellent at absorbing and delivering nutrients from lotions or oils that are applied to it, and in this case, the CBD that is in your product gets absorbed as well.

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 and are not likely to cause side effects. 

Even if the product contains THC, psychoactivity is not likely with this delivery method.

However, it is very important that you test a small amount on your skin first before applying liberally to the affected area. 

Allergic reactions have occurred and you need to test yourself to see if you are allergic to whatever product you are using. 

It’s also not recommended to use CBD skin products that contain alcohol as this could make some skin conditions worse.

If you do have an allergic reaction, it may not necessarily be an allergic reaction to CBD or one of the cannabinoids. 

Instead, you may be having an allergic response to an additive in the product you are using. 

Check product labels and try to find products that only contain CBD, cannabinoids, and the base that acts as the carrier – i.e. coconut oil or hempseed oil.

How should I use CBD on my skin?

Always speak with a doctor before using CBD, especially if you already take other medications. 

CBD can cause drug interactions. 

You likely do not need to worry about drug interactions when using CBD topically but we always recommend speaking with your doctor and/or dermatologist.

After making sure you are not allergic, you can liberally apply CBD lotion to any place you have pain or skin irritation.

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

Screen Shot 2017 05 28 at 1.24.00 AM

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

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?

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?

have you used CBD on your skin?

Head over to our forums and discuss your experience using CBD lotions, creams, salves, and balms for skin conditions. Once you’ve registered for the forum, you can access the topicals product discussion here: CBD Topicals Discussion Forum or the skin conditions forum here: Skin Care Discussion Forum. 


Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain. 2016;20(6):936-948. doi:10.1002/ejp.818

Maida V, Corban J. Topical Medical Cannabis: A New Treatment for Wound Pain-Three Cases of Pyoderma Gangrenosum. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2017 Nov;54(5):732-736. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.06.005. Epub 2017 Aug 14. PMID: 28818631.

Bíró T, Tóth BI, Haskó G, Paus R, Pacher P. The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2009;30(8):411-420. doi:10.1016/j.tips.2009.05.004

Appendino G, Gibbons S, Giana A, Pagani A, Grassi G, Stavri M, Smith E, Rahman MM. Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. J Nat Prod. 2008 Aug;71(8):1427-30. doi: 10.1021/np8002673. Epub 2008 Aug 6. PMID: 18681481.

Casares L, García V, Garrido-Rodríguez M, Millán E, Collado JA, García-Martín A, Peñarando J, Calzado MA, de la Vega L, Muñoz E. Cannabidiol induces antioxidant pathways in keratinocytes by targeting BACH1. Redox Biol. 2020 Jan;28:101321. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2019.101321. Epub 2019 Sep 5. PMID: 31518892; PMCID: PMC6742916.

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Article first appeared on cbdschool.com

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