When it comes to CBD oil, we know that lots of people use it for themselves or their animals. And most of the time we hear about it being used orally – as in sublingually (under the tongue) or added to food and drinks.
But what about CBD oil for skin? You’ve probably seen the products – the salves and lotions, even beauty products – containing CBD oil. What happens when you apply CBD to your skin or use a CBD salve or lotion? Is CBD absorbed topically or are you just wasting the good stuff by rubbing it it?
Let’s dive in.
Is CBD Absorbed Topically?
Yes! CBD can be absorbed into the skin. Both the skin and the bloodstream are capable pathways for successfully absorbing CBD oil.
Your body has a system called the endocannabinoid system (ES). The ES helps keep the internal systems of the body balanced, such as appetite, sleep, memory, and mood. It’s found throughout all of your organs – like your brain, your digestive system, and yes, you body’s largest organ, your skin!
Since it’s the largest organ in the body, the skin contains many cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids (those are the cannabinoids your body naturally produces).
The skin has four main skin cell types:
- mast cells
Mast cells contain the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. These work at wound healing, the formation of new blood vessels, and pathogenic immune responses. They’re located in the dermis level, below the epithelium in connective tissue surrounding blood cells, smooth muscle, mucous, and hair follicles.
When CBD is absorbed topically it doesn’t enter the bloodstream. Instead, it connects directly with the cannabinoid receptors in the mast cells and gets to work.
Isn’t the Skin Highly Resistant?
Yes, human skin is generally highly resistant, meaning your immune system will try to attempt to block foreign substances from entering. And since CBD could be considered a foreign substance, there is the concern that the immune system will just shut it out, meaning it can’t do its job.
Thankfully, research suggests that topical CBD is potent enough to overcome the resistibility of our immune system. Those mast cell cannabinoid receptors recognize their familiars and let that CBD come right on in.
And that’s a very good thing.
How to Choose CBD Oil for Skin Health
With so many different options out there, choosing the right CBD oil for skin can be a challenge.
Firstly, you want to decide what exactly you’re using it for. We can’t speak to benefits here (here’s why), but generally, people opting for pain relief or wound care tend to go with a salve. The higher the potency, the more CBD in the salve, so more CBD in your body.
If you’re looking for just general moisturizer, perhaps a hand cream with some CBD added is the go-to. You can even make your own. Here’s a recipe for one we make.
Secondly, make sure you’re checking that certificate of analysis, going organic, and finding one with suitable carrier oils to give your the best bioavailability. Remember, hemp absorbs toxins from the soil, so it your CBD isn’t organic, you could be putting those toxins into your skin.