Can CBD Oil Be Used Topically?

Scott Jones

Picture it. You’ve bought some CBD oil. You’ve been taking it under your tongue or maybe adding it to your morning coffee. It’s making you feel better, helping cure whatever’s been ailing you. You’re becoming a believer! Then you look in the mirror one day, and you’ve got a blemish. Or maybe you slept weird and your neck hurts. You remember reading that CBD can help with acne or joint pain. You look at that bottle of CBD oil and you wonder… “Can I just rub a few drops of this where I need it?”

CBD has a ton of therapeutic benefits but not all CBD products work in the same way. There are a wide variety of topical CBD products, but you can’t just take any kind of CBD and apply it to a problem area and expect to get ideal results. That doesn’t mean that bottle of CBD oil can’t help you get the job done, it just means we need to know what we have and how to use it. So, let’s make topicals or topic of conversations.

Why Use CBD Topicals?

If you aren’t totally clear on how CBD works, you can learn about it here, but for now I’ll give you the gist. Basically, you have a system of receptors all throughout your body, including in your skin, muscles, and joints. This system is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). When something with your body goes wrong, it sends chemicals called endocannabinoids to interact with those receptors so they can help make things right again. But sometimes your body needs a little help with that process, and CBD is the cavalry.

If you have an issue with your skin or localized pain in your body, topical CBD products allow you to send that cavalry straight to where it’s needed. Your skin and joints are both full of the receptors we talked about earlier where cannabinoids can bind to help your body heal itself. When the correct product is applied to the body the correct way, CBD can access the receptors it needs to without having to be absorbed by the stomach and lungs and pass through the bloodstream to get where it needs to go.

Benefits of CBD Topicals

Do you know the leading cause of dry skin? Towels. Unfortunately, CBD topicals can’t help you unhear that joke but they can help with a variety of issues you may experience with your skin, joints, and body. The benefits of using CBD topically include:

Clearing and Preventing Acne

A 2018 study has shown that CBD may reduce the amount of oil produced by your sebaceous glands which helps those with oily or compound skin avoid breakouts. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD help to clear acne more quickly. You can read a more in-depth article on CBD and acne treatment here.

Dry, Irritated, or Inflamed Skin

Because CBD is anti-inflammatory, it can help too sooth irritated or inflamed skin and a study done in 2019 also shows that CBD can help your skin to be more receptive to moisture as well as retain that moisture more easily. CBD makes a great addition to any skincare routine, you can read all about CBD and skincare here.

Chronic Skin Conditions

Chronic skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, and dermatitis can be both painful and embarrassing. Thankfully, CBD can provide relief to their symptoms. Even the American Academy of Dermatology Association agrees.

Reduce Signs of Aging

One of the reasons our skin begins to show signs of aging is because the buildup of free radicals over time damages our skin’s elasticity, causing fine lines and wrinkles. A 2019 study has shown that CBD is a potent antioxidant, which help to eliminate free radicals in the body. You can learn more about CBD and its effects on aging here.

Arthritis and Joint Pain

Arthritis and more general kinds of joint pain are caused by inflammation. A 2016 study showed that CBD may have a lasting impact on reducing inflammation in joints and even the Arthritis Foundation supports the use of CBD in reducing the pain associated with arthritis. You can read a full article on CBD and arthritis here.

Discomfort from Nerve Damage

People with peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage in their extremities, often suffer from numbness, pain, discomfort, or weakness in the area of the damage. A 2020 study that CBD can reduce this pain and discomfort. 

Can CBD Oil Be Used Topically

Now we finally get back to you, your bottle of CBD oil, and that nagging ailment you want to address. The short answer is no. The long is yes, but with some help.

Sure. You can put a little CBD oil on your blemish or your ache, and you may even get a small amount of relief from doing so. But the truth is, if that oil is not specifically designed for topical use (something that would usually be called a serum), your body is going to have a difficult time absorbing that CBD and getting the most out of its therapeutic benefits. Because CBD is fat soluble, it needs a carrier oil to help your body absorb and utilize the cannabinoids. A carrier oil helps your body absorb the CBD and makes the molecules easier to distribute throughout the receptors in the area.

How to Use CBD Oil Topically

Now let’s get to the long answer. If you have a bottle of CBD oil you shouldn’t just rub it in to your problem area but you can add it to a carrier oil and make yourself a topical treatment. Because CBD is fat soluble, it will be absorbed by the lipids in the carrier oil which increases the bioavailability of the CBD. There are a variety of carrier oils that can be used to turn that bottle of CBD oil into the perfect topical treatment. They include:

  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Almond oil

Each of these carrier oils has their own benefits and downsides. For example, almond oil has a lower fat content and high levels of vitamin E so it makes for a good carrier oil if you plan on using the mixture on your face. Avocado oil has a higher fat content and higher viscosity that makes it ideal for a steady release of CBD into a sore wrist or knee. It’s also important to consider any allergies you may have when deciding which carrier oil is best for you.

Other Kinds of CBD Topicals

You can also buy topical products that are designed to help you with a specific issue. Let’s look at some of the options if you don’t want to mix up your own topical brew.


Serums are a mixture of CBD oil, carrier oil, and other elements like vitamins, minerals, and additional plant extracts like aloe or lavender.


Thicker and creamier mixtures that can provide a range of benefits like SPF or moisturizers to protect and nourish the skin.


Roll-on CBD products are perfect for those suffering from joint pain or arthritis. They’re easy to apply directly to the affected area and are often infused with other pain relievers like lidocaine, menthol, and camphor.

Wrapping It All Up

Sometimes it’s better to send help straight to the source and CBD topicals are perfect for doing just that. If you already have some CBD oil and don’t want to dig in your pockets for another product, making a topical out of it is a simple process, but if you’re in the market for an oil, a topical, or any other CBD product, the Green Dragon CBD is the perfect place to find whatever you need. If you have any questions about what topical product is right for you, contact us and one of our representatives will help you make the perfect choice.

Can CBD Oil Be Used Topically?
CBD comes in many forms and strengths, but have you ever wondered if you can use your sublingual CBD topically, as well? We have the answers!
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The Green Dragon CBD
Can CBD Oil Be Used Topically?
July 31, 2023
CBD Education