If you’ve heard of CBD salve and you’re wondering what it is and what it’s good for, this article is for you.
We’ll cover the benefits of CBD salve and other topical CBD products, and we’ll discuss the key differences between topical and oral CBD consumption so you can choose the right product for your situation.
What is CBD Salve?
CBD salve is an ointment that contains cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in the hemp plant. Salves are designed to promote healing and protection for the skin, as well as soothing for the muscles and joints underneath.
Most CBD salves are made with a beeswax and coconut oil base, and may also contain other beneficial ingredients such as essential oils.
Uses and Benefits of CBD Salve
CBD salve (and CBD topical products in general) offers several potential therapeutic benefits.
Pain & Inflammation
Research suggests that CBD may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects, and CBD is frequently used for many different types of pain.
Though CBD is typically taken orally in an oil or edible form, science suggests CBD is also able to render benefits in topical form. One study found that topical CBD may help with pain caused by nerve damage.
Many people also use topical CBD to promote mobility and address the soreness that ensues after a hard workout.
Acne, Psoriasis, and Eczema
In addition to promoting physical relaxation and soothing, CBD salves may help with skin conditions.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, CBD may help with acne, psoriasis, and eczema by reducing the inflammation that these conditions cause.
Furthermore, the AAD states that CBD and THC topicals won’t cause any sort of adverse reaction on the skin — at least, not due to the CBD or THC.
Some topicals may contain ingredients that cause rashes, which is why it’s so important to carefully research the product you choose (more on that in “How to Shop for CBD Salve” section).
Jaw Pain & TMD
Research indicates that topical CBD may help with the jaw pain that results from temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD, also sometimes called TMJ).
The temporomandibular joint connects your jawbone to your skull. If you have TMD, you may feel pain and experience compromised movement of the jaw.
Research suggests that CBD may have hydrating properties for the skin – and these benefits are amplified if you’re using a high-quality CBD salve made with other naturally hydrating ingredients.
How Does CBD Salve Work?
CBD works by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a receptor system responsible for regulating every vital function in your body used for moment-to-moment functioning.
The job of the ECS is to keep your body in a state of balance — it springs into action whenever you’re in pain or feeling stressed, for example.
There are two main types of receptors in your ECS:
- CB1 receptors, responsible for managing how CBD interacts with your mind
- CB2 receptors, responsible for managing how CBD interacts with your body
Each type of receptor is located in different areas of the body, but there are some cannabinoid receptors near the surface of the skin.
Although it doesn’t get deep enough into the skin to reach the bloodstream, topical CBD can interact with these receptors.
However, unlike some cannabinoids, CBD does not create a physical response with either main type of receptor. Instead, it plays a general support role for your ECS.
Research indicates that CBD may prevent endocannabinoid breakdown and alter the potency of endocannabinoids, thereby allowing your ECS to more effectively keep your body in balance.
For the skin, specifically, research indicates that topical CBD, due to its interactions with your endocannabinoid system, may “be a potential therapeutic option for acute and chronic inflammatory skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis and psoriasis.”
Will CBD Salve Cause a Failed Drug Test?
Although CBD salve soaks deep enough into your skin to reach your endocannabinoid receptors, it does not reach the bloodstream.
As a result, topicals containing THC (such as full-spectrum CBD topicals, or other products with THC) will not cause a failed drug test.
However, if you have to undergo regular drug tests, we still recommend erring on the side of caution when using any topical product that contains THC, as the research around topicals is still limited.
Is CBD Salve Right for You? Topical vs. Oral CBD
Although CBD salve has many benefits, it can’t do everything that oral CBD products can. When deciding between the two CBD formats, here are two important questions to consider:
What Type of Effects Do You Need?
CBD products that you ingest orally can deliver effects throughout your mind and body. That’s because they deliver CBD to your bloodstream, with can then circulate throughout your body.
As a result, if you’re using CBD for the mentally relaxing and calming effects, the salve is not your best option — you’re better off with CBD oils or gummies.
Where CBD salves and topicals excel is at delivering targeted relaxation to specific areas of the body. Topicals are also a great option if you want the physical benefits of CBD but don’t want the mental effect (although CBD will not get you high).
Do You Need a Specific Dosage of CBD?
If your doctor has recommended that you take a specific amount of CBD for pain or inflammation, or if you’ve decided on a specific amount of CBD that is best for you, it’s important to choose products you can dose orally.
While CBD salve products will have usage directions, it’s hard to measure the amount of CBD you’re putting on your skin.
How to Shop for CBD Salve & The Best CBD Salve Products
To avoid junky products, here’s what you need to keep in mind when shopping for a CBD salve:
- Check 3rd-party Lab Results — Before you buy a product, make sure that it’s been 3rd-party lab tested and that you can access the report. Look it over and ensure that the information on the report matches the product’s description, and that the product doesn’t contain known contaminants. Although the FDA doesn’t regulate the production of CBD products, it can take action against companies peddling unsafe products or making health claims.
- Hempseed Oil is Not CBD — Look out for labels that say “hemp,” but not CBD. Hempseed oil, like CBD, is extracted from the hemp plant. Although it has hydrating benefits like CBD does, it is not CBD and will not render the same benefits.
- Check the Potency — As we discussed, dosing CBD salve is tricky. Still, ensure that the product you buy contains enough CBD per application to have a substantial effect.
- Look Beyond the CBD — Although choosing a potent, cannabinoid-packed salve is important, it’s also important to examine the other ingredients in a product to ensure it’s safe to apply to your skin. Favor products with natural ingredients. Check out this article from Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to learn more about harmful skincare ingredients so you can avoid them.
With that said, let’s explore the best CBD salves.
Now obviously, we’re a bit biased, but we believe we’ve crafted two of the best CBD salve products out there. Here’s a bit about each.
This salve combines 3000mg of CBD (cannabidiol) and 1000mg of CBG (cannabigerol) for 4000mg total cannabinoids.
CBG is an alt-cannabinoid that, like CBD, has a variety of benefits. Many people even say that CBG is more effective for pain and inflammation than CBD.
We combined CBD and CBG in a salve to create the ultimate tool for your wellness and recovery toolkit. With a beeswax and coconut base oil, and added arnica oil and shea butter, this salve delivers a powerful punch of cannabinoids alone with other beneficial ingredients that are equally as natural – and equally as effective.
This salve is a favorite among our customers who are looking to support mobility and address aches and pains.
Our Ultimate Salve Stick combines CBD, CBDa, CBG, and delta 8 THC for a whopping 7500mg of total cannabinoids.
With delta 8 and CBG, it’s the perfect topical for supporting deep muscle and joint relaxation — you get to experience the benefits of THC without worrying about the head high.
With CBD and CBDa, you’ll get the soothing, balancing effects of CBD wherever you apply this stick.
And since this stick contains four different cannabinoids, you’ll experience the entourage effect: the elevated benefits you receive when you use cannabinoids together, as they occur naturally in the hemp plant.
The benefit of this salve stick over other salve products is that you don’t need to wait for it to melt and dry – you just apply it and you’re ready to go. The Ultimate Salve Stick is popular among our customers who are athletes, or who regularly exercise.
Conclusion: How Can CBD Salve Help You?
CBD salve offers a way to deliver targeted relaxation while also supporting healthy, glowing skin. CBD salves are especially effective when they also contain cannabinoids like CBG and delta 8 THC, which have powerful soothing effects.
The downside of topicals is that they don’t deliver the mental benefits of cannabinoids, and they don’t spread the cannabinoids throughout your entire body.
But this can also be an upside – THC topicals, for example, allow you to feel the relaxing benefits of cannabinoids like delta 8 and delta 9 without getting high.
CBD Salve Uses: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions customers frequently ask us about CBD salve.
How do you use CBD topical salve?
To use CBD topical salve, thoroughly apply it to your skin in the area where you’re feeling pain or soreness. When applied, it will be thick at first but will melt and slowly absorb into your skin. The effects of CBD topicals can be felt in 10-15 minutes.
Does CBD salve penetrate the skin?
CBD salve will penetrate the skin, reaching the endocannabinoid system and rendering physical relaxation and other benefits. However, CBD salve will not enter the bloodstream.
Is CBD good for arthritis?
Although the research on CBD for arthritis and other medical conditions is still preliminary, there is some evidence — both scientific and anecdotal — to suggest CBD may render therapeutic support for arthritis-related pain.