The Perfect Topical CBD – How To Choose

Choosing the Perfect Topical CBD Concept Photo - Various Jars and Bottles with Cannabis Leaves

The Perfect Topical CBD – How To Choose

Start with the basics

People with localized discomfort or who are new to CBD may wish to use Topical CBD. Choosing the perfect topical CBD can be complicated. Blenders and brands have developed thousands of options.  This article will help you navigate some of these options. Then you can choose the perfect topical CBD formulation for your specific needs! 

A Few Basic Facts about the perfect Topical CBD
  • Topical CBD stays in the local tissue and does not enter the bloodstream. This is true unless a formula specifically says “transdermal” and contains chemical carriers.
  • Unless a large amount is applied to mucous membranes (which is typically not recommended) most – including full Spectrum CBD topicals – will not cause a drug test failure. The exception is transdermal topicals that contain THC. The same is true for causing a “high.”  That is, topicals will not cause any psychoactivity.    
  • Topicals are not useful for systemic problems. For example, topical CBD will not calm stress or help with sleeplessness (unless caused directly by pain). 
 
The most common use for the perfect topical CBD is painful joints.  Because of the way they function – they are ideal where the tissue is thinner.  That is, hands, knees, elbows etc. Other uses are neck tension that leads to headaches and other somewhat  superficial discomfort.  Deep pain like spinal, hips, cramping etc, may respond. However, these often require an ingestible form of CBD.
Choosing the Perfect CBD Topical - Arthritic Hands

How much cbd does the perfect topical cbd have?

Potency versus concentration

Concentration (mg per oz) is just as important as potency (the total number of mg).  Even though potency may be higher in one formulation than another, if the second has a higher number of mg per ounce (concentration) it may be more effective.  In other words, a 4oz lotion with 1000mg will likely be less effective than a 1oz cream with only 500mg of CBD.  The lotion is only 250mg/oz, while the cream is 500mg/oz.

Formulations with 1-2% CBD are the most effective for relief. Too little and the product won’t be helpful.  You may get some benefit from secondary ingredients like menthol or arnica, but these effects won’t last as long as a quality CBD product.  

On the other hand, too much CBD is wasteful (of product and / or money).  This is because there is only so much the skin can absorb.  Research indicates that 10,000mg products are not any more effective than 1,000mg products that have the correct concentration.

Another rule of thumbs is that the thinner the product – the higher the concentration should be.  This is because thinner products spread thinner on the skin.  Thick salves and butters form a heavier layer on the skin and usually stay where you put them.   

Concentrations for the perfect TOpical CBD

Product SizeRecommended Concentration
1oz280mg-560mg
2oz560mg-1120mg
2.5oz700mg-1400mg
3oz840mg-1680mg
4oz1120mg-2240mg

How Do You Want Your Product to feel?

Choose the Perfect topical CBD texture
Multiple bottles of various topical formulations, lotion, balm, cream, spray so you can choose the perfect topical CBD

Some of this comes down to personal preference.  Some of it may have to do with what you are trying to treat.  If you like the texture of lotions, but can’t stand balms (hard body butters), then by all means choose a CBD lotion.  However, if you do not have a preference, consider:

The size of the area being treated – Generally, balms are better for smaller, targeted areas (hands, knees etc.). Lotions and gels spread more easily for larger areas (workout recovery).  For this reason, we also prefer CBD lotions at or above the 2% concentration.  The jars typically do not last as long as creams, or even more so, balms (or salves) because more product is used at once.   However, if your entire back hurts – a lotion might be much easier to apply than a hard salve.

Preferred method of application – CBD Roll-ons and sticks offer controlled application without necessarily needing to get the product on your hands.  However, Jars of CBD Salve provide the best control over the amount of product you use at once.  It’s easy to dip a tiny bit out of the jar.  CBD lotion in a pump jar is convenient, but it is very hard to use a partial pump.  This means you may be forced to dispense more than you need.  Thus, jars of salve usually last much longer than bottles of lotion. 

How do you want to apply your product?

choosing the perfect topical cbd application

Some of this comes down to personal preference.  Some of it may have to do with what you are trying to treat.  If you like the texture of lotions, but can’t stand balms (hard body butters), then by all means choose a CBD lotion.  However, if you do not have a preference, consider:

The size of the area being treated – lotions and gels spread more easily for wider coverage.  For this reason, we also prefer CBD lotions at or above the 2% concentration.  The jars typically do not last as long as creams, or even more so, balms (or salves) because more product is used at once.   However, if your entire back hurts – a lotion might be much easier to apply than a hard salve.

Preferred method of application – CBD Roll-ons and sticks offer controlled application without necessarily needing to get the product on your hands.  However, Jars of CBD Salve provide the best control over the amount of product you use at once.  It’s easy to dip a tiny bit out of the jar.  CBD lotion in a pump jar is convenient, but it is very hard to use a partial pump.  This means you may be forced to dispense more than you need. 

A Young woman dipping cream from a jar with her finger - The perfect Topical CBD Cream

What skin sensation do you prefer?

Choose tingly, freezing, warm, or neutral
Choose the Perfect Topical CBD for Knee Pain - man holding an ice pack on his knee

CBD topical lotions and balms very often have secondary ingredients for therapeutic effects and skin sensation.  CBD by itself does not produce any sensation on the skin itself.  That is, CBD does not cause freezing, warming, or tingling etc.  Other things like Menthol, capsaicin, or essential oils, are often added to create these types of sensations.  Also, they may help with skin penetration, circulation, or even additional anti-inflammatory / relieving effects. 

 

What sensation do you want or like?  Which might you prefer to avoid?  Here are a few of the more common added substances:

Menthol – This local numbing agent helps with skin penetration and reduces inflammation.  Any menthol causes the skin to feel cooler.  Large amounts can create a long lasting “freeze” effect.  Wildflower Relief sticks are an example of high amounts of Menthol. 

Capsaicin – This chemical gives peppers their burn. It provides some pain relief, is anti-inflammatory, and helps skin penetration.  Applied to the skin, capsaicin is warming. High concentrations can cause the skin to feel like it is burning.  Products with capsaicin must be applied with care as any amount in the eyes or on sensitive skin can be intensely uncomfortable.  The Relief and Recovery Gel by Lazarus contains a small amount of capsaicin.  However, it also contains menthol, so its skin sensation is a kind of tingly cooling. 

Essential Oils – There is a huge variety of helpful essential oils.  Many add aroma to CBD oils and lotions.  Others help with absorption, easing inflammation, or increasing blood flow.  Blue Lotus Botanicals Revive Salve has a blend of oils combinced to do all three of these things.

All the cbd topicals we carry...

Balms and salves - a little goes a long way!

Blue Lotus Botanicals Calm CBD Salve.  This wonderful topical salve is USDA Certified Organic to ensure purity. Blue Lotus formulated this thick salve with Lavender and Eucalyptus for a calming scent with a neutral skin sensation.  Both help the CBD penetrate and provide hours long relief from muscle and joint discomfort.  Many customers enjoy this salve for bedtime and for use on the neck and temples. In addition, arnica provides additional anti-inflammatory relief. 

Blue Lotus Botanicals Revive CBD Salve. Formulated with 4 essential oils that increase blood flow and penetration into the muscles.  This thick salve brings a slight warming sensation to the tissue to help ease discomfort.  Revive has a sweet and slightly spicy aroma from Ginger, Black Pepper, Ravintsara, and Rosemary oils. Arnica is also included in this salve.

Wildflower CBD Relief Sticks – Heavy in Wintergreen and Menthol, these sticks provide a deep-freezing skin sensation (and numbing) that does not fade rapidly. Then they impart effect and the longer lasting effects of CBD’s anti-inflammatory power. Arnica gives an additional anti-inflammatory bump to these sticks. 

Wildflower CBD Cool Sticks – Lighter in scent and freezing sensation than the Relief stick, Cool sticks feature peppermint oil.  They still cool, but without the deep-freeze. 

USDA Certified ORganic CBD Salves - Calm and Revive 2oz Jars
Lotions and Gels - Thinner and ideal for larger areas

Lazarus Naturals CBD Relief and Recovery Gel.  The pump bottle provides convenient access and makes the gel easy to share. Menthol and capsaicin increase absorption and impart a tingly cooling sensation.

TKO’s Glacier CBD Roll-on. A true “gel,” this clear water-based formula rolls on smoothly and is ideal for covering larger areas.  Menthol imparts cooling sensations but does not linger as a deep-freeze.

Creams - Soothing and great for sensitive skin

Healer CBD Hydrogel Cream – This cream combines CBD and CBDA, which has been shown to help with nerve related discomfort.  Menthol and Copaiba essential oil give it a gentle cooling sensation and enhance the anti-inflammatory effects.  It has a soft, fresh scent that combines fruity aromas and menthol.  It absorbs quickly with little oily residue.

TribeTokes Delta-8 THC Relief Cream – This cream utilizes Delta-8 THC rather than CBD.  It does not absorb into the bloodstream and will not cause any psychoactivity (no high).

USDA Organic CBD Massage Oils - 5 varieties
Oils - perfect for massage and soothing dry skin

Blue Lotus Botanicals CBD Massage Oil. USDA certified Organic ingredients make this massage oil a safe and effective choice. 

We use this oil in our own wellness massage practice. Four different scent and effects combinations give you flexibility for the type of massage treatment you desire.  These target muscle relief, lymphatic support (fluid retention), Post Operative care (scar reduction) and skin nourishment. 


Whatever your particular needs are, you should be able to find the perfect topical CBD product to address them.   We hope you found this information helpful!  Thanks for reading.  



X