Using cbd oil topically for sleep

Can CBD Oil Be Used Topically?

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about the “best CBD oil for…” any number of issues. Sometimes, that’s exactly what they’re looking for—the best CBD oil for sleep or certain skin conditions.

But, in many cases, people are really looking for CBD creams and other topicals. For example, if you’re looking for the best CBD oil for acne, the best CBD oil for rosacea or eczema? You’re really looking for a CBD cream or similar CBD topical.

Most CBD oil is actually formulated to be taken orally. So what is the difference between topicals and CBD oil? That’s exactly what we’ll focus on here.

CBD Topicals vs CBD Oil

Although it is already massive, CBD and skin care are two growing markets that have merged to create a ton of new products. This means that while companies are still developing many new ways to use CBD, the basic CBD oil that is taken orally is still the most common way of administering the cannabinoid.

When you use a CBD tincture, you just place several drops or whatever your serving size is under your tongue. Hold it there for at least a minute, if you can, to hasten the benefits, which you can feel in minutes.

Still, especially for those with skin issues or joint and muscle pain, CBD topicals are often more effective and quicker. Topical CBD formulations typically include additional ingredients to enhance an analgesic, anti-inflammatory effect. So although there are many ways to try CBD, a topical may be your best bet if you need to treat skin issues or relieve aches and pains.

A CBD topical is any CBD-infused lotion, cream, or salve that can be applied directly to the skin. They don’t have enough tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, of course, to get you high.

However, many have other cannabinoids and terpenes and are therefore capable of producing the entourage effect–the effect that happens when all of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce benefits.

Science on CBD topicals (and the cannabis plant as a whole) is in its infancy, but we do know some promising things:

We already know that cannabis sativa has anti-inflammatory properties. CBD topicals may help manage inflammation and pain associated with arthritis more effectively by avoiding the GI system, resulting in more constant plasma levels.

Experts from the American Academy of Dermatology have also suggested that topical CBD products might be used to treat eczema, acne, and psoriasis. As a bonus, these products don’t have the typical side effects of oral medications, and they provide additional skincare benefits.

Just like other forms of CBD, however, the effectiveness of topical CBD varies depending on things like dosage or serving size, quality, and source.

Unlike edibles, topicals serve a different and unique purpose. They are used mostly to target surface areas to treat muscle pain, spasms, and tension because topical CBD does not reach the bloodstream. Instead of treating your entire body or system, you’re just spot treating a place where you’re having chronic pain.

Can You Use Oral CBD Oil Topically?

What type of product will work best for you? There are pros and cons for both oral and topical CBD products—so if you apply a tincture or oil to your skin, do you get the same benefits of CBD you’re used to?

A lot of this is related to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system all mammals share. The ECS is mostly composed of enzymes, endocannabinoids, and CB1 and CB2 receptors for the endocannabinoids. The ECS regulates many functions in humans, including memory, appetite, pain sensation, mood, reproduction, and sleep.

The ECS helps achieve and maintain homeostasis in the human body—or in some cases re-establish it. Homeostasis is the balanced, healthy zone within the bounds of which biological systems stay well-regulated. Imagine a human body with ideal blood pressure, blood sugar levels, etc.

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What are cannabinoid receptors and why do we have them? Much like a thermostat, cannabinoid receptors collect data on conditions just outside the cell upon whose surface they sit, allowing them to then respond to changing conditions by “kick-starting” the correct cellular response.

For example, when bacteria attacks the body and causes infection, the immune system triggers inflammation to help battle the infection. This also triggers the ECS to release endocannabinoids which assist in signaling other immune cells and help limit the inflammatory response so it isn’t excessive. The receptors in turn help the body fight infection, and return to normal without damaging itself.

The skin also has its own endocannabinoid system, which helps keep the skin healthy and balanced. Just like for the rest of the endocannabinoid system throughout the human body, the goal is stasis. In fact, CBD topicals are useful and can also produce healthy skin because the root cause of most skin problems is usually some kind of an imbalance in the skin.

Either way, depending on the type of issue you’re trying to treat and pain management you’re seeking, it is possible to get the effects of CBD topically or orally—if what you’re taking is made for that kind of use. But you wouldn’t eat hand cream, right? So would you put CBD oil on your skin?

The best method will depend on all of the details.

Taking CBD by mouth. You absorb CBD that you swallow in capsules, gummies, food, or liquid, through the digestive tract. This makes absorption slow and dosing a bit challenging due to several factors, including recent meals, unknown effects of stomach acids, the delayed onset of effect which is one to two hours, and other factors.

You can also take CBD using a tincture, oil, or spray by holding it under your tongue (sublingual) and allowing it to absorb directly into the bloodstream for 60 to 120 seconds. You can feel effects within 15 to 45 minutes, although you will also taste the preparation. Full-spectrum CBD oils in particular have a strong plant taste.

Taking CBD topically. Apply topical products such as balms, creams, lotions, and salves directly to the skin over a painful area. Simple! But do not apply CBD oils that are designed for taking orally to the skin; they have nothing to suspend them on the skin or make them work there, and they are intended to be in the bloodstream.

If you’re not sure if it would be better to use CBD orally or topically, you may need to refocus your question to decide which type best suits your needs. Using CBD topically works best if you have a targeted area where you need CBD the most because it allows the cannabidiol compounds to work with the cannabinoid receptors right where you apply the topical cream.

With CBD topicals, the effects are more concentrated because the cannabinoid compounds never get absorbed into the bloodstream and they aren’t spread thin throughout the entire body. This makes it a great choice for treating minor, local discomfort in muscles and joints, or soothing skin.

What CBD Products Can You Use On Your Skin?

CBD topicals are any CBD products you can use on your skin: lotions, creams, balms, roll-ons, and salves that have CBD in their formulations. CBD lotions, creams, and balms are typically not edible and are intended to be applied directly to specific affected areas of the skin.

CBD topicals generally can be used to provide localized relief by delivering CBD to the outer layer of the skin. They often have particular formulations, such as CBD creams for skin-related issues like eczema, acne, rosacea, and psoriasis, and for injuries and problems like insect bites and stings and burns.

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Some of the most common types of CBD topicals that you might find on the market include these, and here are some of their applications:

Creams, lotions, and salves: These are typically used for inflammation and pain relief.

Oils, ointments, and serums: These are typically used to treat skin-related conditions such as burn ointments or ointments for eczema, acne, dry skin, and psoriasis; and in beauty applications, including anti-aging serums, beard creams, anti-aging products, tattoo ointments and other hair and skin products.

There are other miscellaneous CBD topicals, too, like CBD soap and CBD lip balm—all have specific uses.

In a CBD topical, the base, whether it is oil, cream, wax, or something similar, works as a carrier agent. If you recall our other discussions of how cannabinoids work, you remember that THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids bind with fatty acids. This is why carrier oils are so common.

The carrier agent works, usually alongside essential oils and other natural ingredients, to smoothly apply the CBD to skin conditions and other affected areas and help it cling there long enough to work.

What will happen if you use a CBD oil that isn’t a topical on your skin? For one thing, it won’t have the right carrier to hold it on your skin well enough to interact with the ECS locally. To be effective, CBD must interact with the endocannabinoid system in some way, either by entering the bloodstream or the skin’s layers. Simply placing oils on the skin won’t necessarily make that happen.

Think You’ve Tried Everything for Your Sleep Issues? Enter CBD…

As editor-in-chief and co-founder of Miss Grass , an elevated lifestyle shop and publication for women and cannabis, Anna Duckworth has tried cannabis for everything from sex to cooking. And now, she’s sharing her cannabis knowledge with Well+Good. Today, she takes on a topic we’re all more than a little bit obsessed with over here: how to get a better sleep.

We are an exhausted nation: Roughly 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders. And, considering lack of sleep can lead to mood and personality changes, we’re a cranky one, too. To put it simply, we’re tired of being tired and we’re looking for solutions.

Cannabis—CBD (cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis that’s cropping up in everything from lotions to lattes) in particular—is a tantalizing alternative to the typical Ambien prescription or medicine cabinet full of melatonin that, according to Elizabeth Cramer Ernst, nurse practitioner and owner of the medical marijuana clinic Hamptons Medi Spa, could provide significant relief for insomniacs. In recent studies, CBD has shown promising signs of being both an effective and safe way to get more zzz’s, although much more research needs to be done before definitive conclusions can be drawn.

Through the fog that comes with pulling unintended all-nighters night after night, however, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that difficulty sleeping is very rarely just that. It’s almost certainly the result of an underlying condition. For many people, a lack of sleep comes down to anxiety—which, as we know, can be attributed to any number of external or internal factors from PTSD to financial strain. For others, sleepless nights are rooted in something physical, like chronic pain or restless leg syndrome. That’s why there’s truly no one-size-fits-all solution for sleep problems—including cannabis.

To find the best way for you to use cannabis or CBD oil for sleep, follow these three steps. And remember, it’s important to speak with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your routine.

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1. Get to know your options

Cannabis remains illegal for recreational and/or medical use in many states. The good news for the canna-curious who live in a state that’s still under prohibition is that the passing of the Farm Bill in late 2018 federally legalized hemp, the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive compound known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). And that means you can now legally access a whole range of hemp-derived cannabis products no matter where you live.

If you’re experienced with products that contain THC, know that some amount of the high-inducing compound can be effective in treating sleep disorders. But if you’re new to the cannabis party, it’s recommended to start with non-intoxicating cannabis products. These contain a high concentration of other active compounds—like the ever popular CBD (cannabidiol) or the lesser known but powerful sedative CBN (cannabinol)—that work by activating a network of receptors in the body known as the endocannabinoid system. Ultimately, your job is to test and try different products to find the dose just right for you.

2. Identify your main sleep issues

Everybody and every body is different. When you’re deciding on a course of treatment for sleep issues, first ask yourself this question: Do you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both?

According to Cramer Ernst, when using cannabis or CBD oil for sleep, there are a range of products from short-acting ones that can help you fall asleep fast to long-acting ones that can help you stay asleep, so you want to make sure you pick the one that addresses your particular ailment.

A vaporizer like the Her Highness Sleeping Beauty Vape Pen is considered short-acting because it takes effect in less than 10 minutes and is great for people who need help falling asleep. A tincture under the tongue, like Mineral’s Robyn for Sleep, is considered medium-acting because it takes 20 minutes to kick in and lasts between four and five hours. And then there are the edibles or capsules, like Plant People’s Be Calm Caps, which can take up to two hours to take effect but typically last between six and eight hours. (These long-acting ones are a great bet for people who can nod off easily but need help staying asleep.)

3. Integrate CBD into your sleep hygiene routine

So many of us stay up late working or scrolling through Instagram and don’t shut off our screens until it’s way too late (guilty!). Blue light from the screens has been proven to interrupt sleep dramatically and, experts say, should be avoided for up to four hours before bedtime. That’s not realistic for a lot of us, but even putting your phone down and turning off the TV an hour before you snuggle between the sheets can make a difference. It also helps to keep a regular sleep schedule so your body can start to anticipate the routine and begin shutting down without you having to force it.

One easy way to ease off the tech and begin regularizing your sleep habits is to create a bedtime ritual for yourself (with or without CBD—but, me being me, I vote for “with”). Practice meditation if that’s your jam, spritz your skin and bed with a soothing lavender spray, dim the lights, and give yourself a little massage with something like Apothecanna’s Calming Body Oil. One of my favorite tricks is to take a CBD bath with Vertly CBD Bath Salts or the CBD Bliss Bath Bomb, which Cramer Ernst says works by being absorbed into your skin. The mood-boosting power of a good soak plus CBD could be just the ticket to Dreamland you’ve been after.