10 Things to Consider When Looking to Purchase a CBD Topical Solution

CBD comes in all kinds of forms, but topicals are making quite an impact on the industry like never before.  CBD topical solutions offer a different approach to experiencing the properties of the hemp plant, and they come in all kinds of forms, strengths, and combinations of ingredients.

If you’re interested in incorporating a topical into your daily routine, allow us to help, because we know it can be intimidating with all of the different formulas that are on the current market, all vying for your attention.

10 Things to Consider When Looking to Purchase a CBD Topical Solution

What are CBD Topicals and How are They Manufactured?

Before even talking about ways to choose the best CBD topical for your needs, we need to take a closer look at what topicals are and what they can offer to your routine.  CBD topicals are any CBD-based products that are applied to the skin rather than taken internally.  The compounds in the hemp plant can absorb efficiently through the skin to reach the muscles and joints below.  Cannabinoid receptors in the skin and deep tissue can effectively utilize cannabinoids to regulate important processes pertaining to these areas of the body, studies have found that applying CBD topically can play a role in regulating inflammation

Topicals are a good choice for someone with localized issues, such as sore muscles or irritated skin, all due to the compounds staying local to the area onto which the product was applied.  The solution is basically targeting the area with a higher concentration of hemp compounds. 

Topicals are made by infusing hemp extract into a standard topical formula, such as a cream or a gel that contains ingredients that are gentle on the skin.  The formula itself can vary greatly from product to product, as we will get into next.

Common Types of CBD Topicals

CBD topicals come in all kinds of forms, and you can choose the one that appeals to you according to your personal preferences, as all of them can ultimately deliver the same types of effects.

  • Creams: Ultra-rich and thick topicals that offer loads of moisture to the skin
  • Lotions: Thinner than creams, but still offer great moisturizing properties
  • Salves: Have a waxy, buttery consistency that melts on contact, possibly making the absorption process faster
  • Balms: The only products that are really designed for the skin rather than the deep tissue.  Their molecules are too large to completely permeate through the skin’s layers.  They’re also wax-based and fast-absorbing.
  • Gels: Are water-based, and therefore may absorb at a quicker rate.  They are less moisturizing than other types of topicals.
  • Massage Oils: These are oil-based and can cover a larger surface area due to their spreadable consistency.

What to Look for in a CBD Topical Solution

Now, let’s talk about the key things to look for when choosing a specific CBD topical formula on the market.  Each of these factors can have a lot to do with the success of your hemp routine.

Factor #1: Milligram Strength

The milligram strength refers to the number of milligrams of pure hemp in the total formula.  Higher strengths are therefore more potent, and more likely to provide relief.  Higher strengths may also be more expensive, but you do not have to worry about any negative effects of using too much CBD at one time, as the cannabinoids never cross the blood brain barrier, instead staying localized to the area of application.

Factor #2: Type of Hemp Extract

There are three types of hemp extract you can choose from when shopping for a particular CBD product.

  • CBD Isolate: Simply pure CBD, free of any other naturally occurring compounds in the hemp plant.
  • Broad Spectrum: Contains every naturally occurring compound in the hemp plant except for THC, which has been removed from the formula.
    • Full Spectrum: Contains every compound in the plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and nutrients.  As each of these compounds are useful, and as they work together synergistically, full spectrum topicals may be the most effective of all. The trace amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in hemp, when applied topically, does not put you at risk of failing a drug test.

    Factor #3: Additional Active Ingredients

    Many topical formulas are enhanced with additional active ingredients, to maximize the desired effects such as pain relief or relief from skin inflammation.  The most common ones you will find on the market are:

  • Menthol: Natural cooling and numbing agent derived from the mint plant.  It can potentially bring down inflammation and offer analgesic properties.
  • Arnica: A native perennial known for offering potential pain relief and bringing down swelling as well as bruising.
  • Essential Oils: Many essential oils offer potential pain-relieving properties, including lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint.
  • Choosing a topical with more than just CBD as its active ingredient may increase the chances of finding the relief that you are looking for.

    Factor #4: Clean and Gentle Formula

    It is important to read the ingredients of a topical carefully to make sure that they are all safe to apply to the skin, and unlikely to cause irritation.  Usually, topicals made with only plant-based ingredients are gentle on the skin, and unlikely to cause dryness or discomfort.  But some of us are particularly sensitive to certain ingredients, such as witch hazel, which can be irritating to some people, or even certain essential oils to which we may have an allergy.  

    Factor #5: An Appealing Scent

    A lot of topicals are scented, and there’s nothing wrong with being choosy about how your formula smells, if it means that you’ll enjoy using it more.  A topical that has a strong smell that disturbs you can result in a waste of money, as you’ll be unlikely to use that product as frequently as you may have liked to.  Therefore, find out how a CBD topical is scented before purchasing, to make sure that the fragrance does agree with you.

    Factor #6: A Fast-Absorbing Consistency

    The faster the formula of a topical absorbs through the skin, the faster you may be able to experience the effects of the CBD in the topical.  Therefore, if you are able to test a CBD topical in person, do so, because it will allow you to get a feel for how quickly it does absorb.  Beyond the fact that faster-absorbing CBD topicals can work more quickly, none of us want to use a product that leaves behind a greasy or sticky residue for hours after application.

    Factor #7: Positive Reviews

    It is helpful to look up reviews of a particular product before purchasing it.  Here is where you will hear about other users’ experiences with the product, in regard to how effective it is, how long the effects can last and whether or not the ingredients are gentle on the skin.  User reviews tend to offer the best insight into how good a topical is, because users are unbiased.

    Factor #8: Lab Reports

    You should never buy a CBD product without looking at the accompanying lab reports, which come from a third-party testing facility.  All CBD companies should send their hemp extracts to a registered third-party laboratory to have it tested for impurities, microbes and other important factors that influence the overall quality.  Those lab reports should be accessible on a company’s website.  Also, never buy a topical from a company that does not do third-party testing.

    Factor #9: Transparency

    Companies have an obligation to be transparent with customers in regards to what’s in their products, and how they are made.  Any premium hemp company will give you a clear list of ingredients, information about the type of hemp extract that’s in the formula, whether or not the hemp is organic and so on.  When a company is transparent, we can know that they have nothing to hide that can take away from the quality and effectiveness of the products they sell.

    Factor #10: Affordability 

    Some companies overcharge for CBD topicals despite them not being higher in quality than others that are on the market.  On the flip side, it’s best to avoid CBD products that are so cheaply priced that it seems too good to be true.  These companies may be cutting corners during the manufacturing process that take away from the effectiveness, such as using poor extraction methods that destabilize the compounds to the point of a high loss of potency.

    Only the Best CBD Topical Products Will Do

    As you can see, not all CBD topicals are created equally, and some may be far more effective than others on the market.  Since you are committed to using cannabidiol for topical relief, it is important to carefully consider all of the above factors to make sure that you end up with a product that doesn’t just work, but is safe to apply to the skin, and completely in line with your specific needs and goals.


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