Topical CBD for Pain: How to Buy and How to Apply

4 min

CBD, everyone’s talking about it. But what do we actually know about CBD?

Amidst claims of improvements to mental and physical health, shopping for CBD can be like a minefield. The CBD industry is forecast to reach $25 billion by 2025, so of course, there are more products available than you could dream of.

If you’re shopping for a specific need, such as chronic pain, it’s important to know what you’re doing before you open your wallet. In a nutshell, topical CBD for pain is all the rage.

But there’s more to it, read on to learn exactly what to look for in a CBD product to help with chronic pain.

What Are CBD Products?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know about CBD. But let us summarise it for you. Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active compound found in the cannabis plant.

CBD is not intoxicating but can cause some drowsiness. Provided it meets regulation, it is legal – in most states, you can buy it without a prescription. CBD does not get you high because it contains low levels of the other active, intoxicating ingredient in the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

As the market booms, so do the types of products available. It’s most common to take CBD in tablet form, as a topical spray, a vape liquid, or in foods such as chocolate. CBD is also infused into healthcare products such as soap, bath bombs, skincare products, and patches.

What Is Topical CBD?

CBD topicals are applied to the skin in an ointment, oil, lotion, cream, balm, or salve. You can use CBD for a variety of ailments, but the benefit of CBD topicals is that they can act directly on an affected, painful, or inflamed area.

But, if you want to understand it, we need to take a look at the science behind CBD. What we explain now, is called the endocannabinoid system.

Some cells have receptors called CB1 and CB2. Endocannabinoids (found in CBD) activate these receptors and help to regulate many processes including sleep, memory, mood, appetite, and temperature.

But most important of all? It regulates the sensation of pain.

So, when you apply topical CBD, the endocannabinoids in CBD bind to your cells, reducing how you feel pain. Therefore, it can be an effective painkiller.

The Law on Topical CBD

Good news! Topical CBD is legal in all 50 states. But only if it contains less than 0.3% THC. If a product exceeds the THC allowance, it becomes subject to the laws on cannabis rather than THC.

So in some states, you’d be fine – in others, not so much.

CBD gained popularity in 2019 after Trump passed the Farm Bill, allowing CBD to be grown derived from hemp. But, the CBD must be grown and processed in a manner that fits the Farm Bill. If it doesn’t match federal regulation, it’s illegal.

Types of Topical CBD

Salves, creams, lotions, balms, ointments, patches, oils – where to start? We’ll break it down for you in simple terms.

Salves, Creams, Lotions, Balms, and Ointments

These are concentrated CBD products, they are great for surface skin problems such as rashes, dryness, and itching. You can use salves and balms for wound healing in minor wounds.

You can use these products, especially CBD topical cream, generously with little chance of adverse reactions.


Topical CBD oil is the holy grail of topical CBD oil for everyday use. They usually have a higher potency than creams and lotions and penetrate deeper into the skin. CBD oils can reduce inflammation and pain by acting on the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

If your topical CBD oil is a high potency, make sure to start low and slow with the dose.


Patches are highly effective and border on medical CBD treatments for pain. They deliver CBD to the bloodstream for quick pain relief. but, transdermal patches often have a high THC content too – so make sure that a patch is legal in your state before purchase.

How to Use Topical CBD for Pain

It may seem obvious, but you should apply CBD topicals to the painful area – don’t try to eat or drink your new lotion. If you’re after something to take by mouth, invest in CBD capsules, drops, or infused food.

Although side effects are little-to-none, you should always do a patch test first, in case of rare reactions or allergies. Start by applying a small dab to your hand, leaving it for 48 hours, and then check for any reaction.

Provided your patch test is clear, it’s time to start applying a CBD topical for pain. Wash the area to make sure the skin is clean; this ensures there are no barriers to stop the CBD from absorbing through the skin.

Apply the topical to your skin generously then allow it to absorb for a few minutes. For the best results, you should cover it with a cloth or bandage to make sure it stays on the skin.

How to Buy Topical CBD

Now that you understand the mechanisms behind CBD products and the different types available, it’s time to think about buying a topical CBD product.

The most important thing is to buy from a high-quality, reputable store. You may find cheap alternatives elsewhere but they might not be third-party tested, may contain illegal levels of THC, and be highly diluted.

Cheap CBD products tend to be less effective.

You will get better results if you invest in high-quality CBD. Make sure the products are manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility and tested third party (for quality and safety reasons).

When you visit a website selling CBD, make sure to check for their quality and sustainability status. If the company is reputable, it shouldn’t be hard to find a statement about its manufacturing process.

For example, on their ‘about’ page, Betoken CBD provide details of third-party testing, GMP compliance, sustainability, and product origins. Look out for statements like this before buying from any brand.

Topical CBD for Pain: Is It Worth It?

So now that you know all about topical CBD for pain, are you ready to reduce your pain? Get shopping and start seeing results immediately.

We hope you’ve found this article informative and useful. For more like this, make sure to check out our other posts for all our health and lifestyle essential must-reads!

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