Older adults either face the same health problems they had throughout their life or see new ones arise. Either way, some health complications can severely hinder a person’s quality of life.
Regardless of how you feel about cannabis, CBD may just be the solution you’re looking for – according to both clinical and anecdotal evidence, CBD can bring about a myriad of health and wellness benefits.
However, you don’t need to ingest or vape CBD products. CBD creams and lotions are called “cosmeceuticals” – skin products with alleged medicinal benefits that can significantly improve your wellbeing.
In this article, we’ll let you know what those potential benefits are and how to use CBD topicals. But first, you can learn the difference between CBD oil and CBD creams and lotions and whether or not they’re effective.
What Is the Difference Between CBD Oil and CBD Creams and Lotions?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most abounding cannabinoids in cannabis. This compound is non-addictive and non-intoxicating, meaning that it can’t get you high – the compound responsible for the psychotropic effects of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Both CBD oil and CBD topicals, like creams and lotions, have CBD in their composition. What makes them different are the remaining ingredients in their formulation and the way they’re used.
CBD oil can be ingested solo or added to foods or drinks and its effects spread through your whole body as it passes the digestive system and enters the bloodstream.
CBD creams and lotions are meant to be applied topically on the affected area – if you’re targeting a skin condition, that’s where you should apply them. In the case of muscle, joint, or bone problems, you should apply them on the skin directly over the affected area.
A great advantage of CBD topicals is that they’ll have other beneficial ingredients in their composition. For instance, a CBD cream aimed at anti-aging will have ingredients like collagen or hyaluronic acid as well as CBD.
Amongst CBD topicals, you can find all sorts of formulations from anti-aging and acne-relieving creams to those aimed at helping athletes with muscle soreness or seniors with achy joints.
Are CBD Creams and Lotions Effective?
CBD topicals’ effectiveness depends on what problem you’re targeting but we’ll get there shortly. First, let’s see how CBD interacts with the human body.
In our bodies, we have a system whose goal is to keep the body balanced (or in homeostasis), known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS consists of a complex network of neurotransmitters, receptors, and enzymes spread throughout almost every part of the body, including in the skin, muscles, and nervous system.
CBD optimizes the endocannabinoid system, helping it return your body to balance faster. So, CBD will have different effects on each person – it’ll target only what is unbalanced and correct it.
Now, CBD creams and lotions can only have effects on your skin and not much beyond that. They can help with muscle soreness and joint or bone discomfort but transdermal CBD products, like CBD patches, are more effective in these cases.
Moreover, targeting the systemic and local endocannabinoid systems simultaneously is much more effective – this means that you should combine topicals with ingesting or inhaling CBD for the best results.
Benefits of CBD Creams and Lotions
CBD topicals can benefit your skin in many ways but they can also have effects beyond the skin – especially in the case of transdermal products. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can benefit from CBD topicals.
- Relieving Achy Joints and Bones
“Is CBD good for arthritis?” is one of the most commonly asked questions. CBD can offer great relief and improve the life quality of those suffering from any form of arthritis or some other joint or bone problems.
Given the distribution of endocannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoid system’s role in regulating pain, inflammation, and joint function, some researchers believe in CBD’s ability to help those suffering from arthritis.
However, there’s little clinical evidence supporting these claims – but, so far, preclinical trials have been quite promising.
One of those studies was conducted in 2015 on rodents with transdermal CBD products instead of topicals. The researchers stated that:
“Transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores as a rating of spontaneous pain, immune cell infiltration and thickening of the synovial membrane.”
It was concluded that CBD has the potential to manage arthritis without significant side effects since the rodents' behavior didn’t change even with high doses – which produced better results.
- Relieving Muscle Soreness and Aches
CBD can help relieve muscle soreness and aches for various reasons. First, it can reduce muscle tension, which worsens pain, while avoiding the downsides of common muscle relaxants, like Valium.
Additionally, during muscle recovery, inflammation increases to bring in more blood flow to the area – this means more nutrients and oxygen are delivered to speed up the recovery.
However, excessive inflammation may damage larger groups of muscles and nearby joints. CBD can manage this process more efficiently, accelerating your recovery.
Finally, many people are successfully using CBD to manage muscle aches and discomfort. The greatest benefit here is avoiding or reducing harmful medications, like Tramadol, which comes with severe side effects.
- Managing Skin Conditions
When applied topically, CBD binds to the TRPV-1 receptors in the skin. This way, cannabidiol can reduce pain, itch, and heat sensations – the perfect combination to treat different kinds of eczema.
Further, according to research, CBD is especially efficient at treating skin disorders with an inflammatory background (again, perfect for eczema) – all while moisturizing your skin.
That study was conducted on 20 people suffering from psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema), or scars resulting from those ailments. They applied a CBD-enriched ointment twice a day for three months.
Based on skin parameters, like hydration and elasticity, patient questionnaires, and before and after photos, the investigators concluded that CBD “is a safe and effective non-invasive alternative to improve the quality of life in patients.”
- Preventing and Reversing Signs of Aging and Scarring
CBD is known to be a stronger antioxidant than Vitamin C, E, or A. This way, CBD can stimulate the recovery from oxidative stress and combat the effects of free radical damage, preventing further aging of your skin.
Oxidative stress can break down collagen, compromise the skin’s natural repair process, and trigger inflammation. This results in fine lines, wrinkles, and loose skin.
CBD can help correct scars and visible signs of aging and allows the skin to repair itself by:
- Protecting your skin from oxidative stress;
- Reducing excessive inflammation;
- Assisting in the generation of new skin cells;
- Optimizing the skin’s oil production, keeping it moisturized and healthy.
There are plenty of anti-aging CBD topicals in the market to choose from, including CBD eye creams. These have other beneficial ingredients besides CBD that work synergistically.
How to Use CBD Cream
First of all, you should define what the problem you’re targeting with CBD topicals is and, then, read the labels carefully to know what other ingredients are in each product’s composition.
This is because topicals have other beneficial ingredients in their composition, like natural extracts and essential oils. But, depending on their composition, some products are better for seniors than others.
You should also keep in mind the variety of topicals available. There are CBD massage lotions, CBD eye creams, CBD balms, and CBD shampoos, just to name a few. As long as you know your goal, you’ll know which topicals are better for you.
After you’ve chosen your product, you should apply it two or three times in a small skin area (in your wrist, for example) to know whether or not you’re allergic to it – after the topical has passed the test, you can apply it in the whole desired area.
As previously mentioned you can choose to combine it with ingesting or inhaling CBD for stronger results – this can also bring you other benefits, like improved sleep quality and reduced anxiety.
CBD Creams and Lotions – FAQ
- Can CBD lotion make you fail a drug test?
The short answer is: no, CBD lotions and creams can’t make you fail a drug test. Firstly, because they don’t contain THC – the compound that would make you fail a drug test.
But those formulations that do contain THC won’t make you fail a drug test either because topical CBD only acts on your skin; it doesn’t enter your bloodstream.
- Which is better CBD cream or oil?
It depends on what you’re targeting. CBD cream will only have effects on the area you apply it – on your skin and not much beyond it. CBD oil has an effect on your whole body – wherever it finds imbalances.
- Can you use CBD oil and CBD cream at the same time?
Yes! Not only can you use CBD oil and cream at the same time but it is encouraged. You can get much better results when combining the two.
CBD Creams and Lotions – The Bottom-line
Using CBD topicals can be a great option, especially for people suffering from skin conditions. Transdermal products are a better option when targeting an issue beyond the skin layer, like arthritis or muscle discomfort.
When choosing a CBD topical, you should first define what issue you’re targeting – this way you can pick a product that has other beneficial ingredients in its formulation.
After choosing your CBD products, you just need to experiment with doses and frequency of use to find your perfect CBD regimen.
On a final note, it is important to remember that while for some people CBD has immediate effects, for others consistent use over time is necessary to see the desired effects.
- Forbes: 8 CBD Topicals That Help Seniors Feel Good In Their Skin
- CFAH: What Is CBD Oil? What Does Cannabidiol Stand For?
- Journal of Young Investigators: The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator
- Scientific Reports: A new role for anandamide: defective link between the systemic and skin endocannabinoid systems in hypertrophic human wound healing
- National Library of Medicine: Involvement of the endocannabinoid system in osteoarthritis pain
- Wiley Online Library: Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain‐related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis
- Topical: Why CBD and Skin?
- Clinical Trial Journal (2019): A therapeutic effect of CBD-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars