February 15, 2023

Topical vs Ingestible CBD

As the popularity of CBD products soars, the corresponding increase in differentiation is hard to miss. Today, the market is awash with different types of CBD products. 

For most people, this is undoubtedly a good development – after all, the more, the merrier, right? At least they have a variety to choose from. Well, the downside is that knowing what you need can be challenging, especially for newbies. Recall that the hemp industry is relatively young, so not many are conversant with its products. 

But as manufacturers continue churning out products to capitalize on the demand, consumers want more information. Which form of CBD is ideal for a particular condition? How do you use different CBD products? How do these products affect your body? Are certain products more effective than others? These are some of the endless questions CBD users ask.

Despite the array of CBD products on the market, they broadly fall into three categories – Orals (ingestible CBD), topicals, and inhalables. Each has unique advantages that make certain users prefer one over another. 

So, in this article, we explore the differences between topicals and ingestible CBD. We also discuss which form of CBD suits your needs and, most importantly, how to choose the best ingestible CBD. 

Key takeaways

  • CBD comes in three major forms – oral (ingestible), topical, and inhalable.
  • Topical CBD is designed for external use, while ingestibles are for internal use.
  • The pharmacological effects of topical CBD are limited mainly to the affected area. Ingestible CBD delivers system-wide results.

What are CBD Topicals

CBD comes in many forms thanks to its versatility. CBD topicals are among the more popular forms of CBD because you don’t have to worry about dosing. These products are designed for external use and are typically applied to the skin, joints, lips, scalp, etc. 

The idea behind CBD topicals is that the skin is absorbent. As the largest body organ, the skin is an alternative platform for people who don’t prefer ingestible CBD.

As you know, the skin is porous, with billions of hair follicles and pores. These provide entry points for topical formulations, allowing the ingredients to reach deep-lying tissues where they interact with receptors. 

Generally, CBD topicals are made with other ingredients to enhance their overall effect. So besides the health benefits of CBD, the additional elements help to soothe and moisturize the skin. These products are ideal for targeting specific areas of the body as their effect is mostly localized. 

For this reason, CBD topicals have become a trend within the athlete community, where their use is extensive. Many sportspersons use CBD to aid muscle relaxation, reduce pain and inflammation, improve focus, sleep better, etc. These products may also help with skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis, among others.

CBD topicals are available as creams, lotions, salves, balms, and moisturizers. 

Benefits of topical CBD

When applied topically, CBD exerts its effects through receptors on the skin. This is due to the expansive nature of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) – a neuromodulatory network of neurotransmitters, receptors, and enzymes that work together to maintain body balance. 

Research shows that phytocannabinoids affect the body via the ECS, through which they access the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This is because their makeup resembles that of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by the body). 

For example, THC (phytocannabinoid) and anandamide (endocannabinoid) bind to the CB1 receptor to produce similar effects. The binding actions of anandamide won’t make you “high” like THC does, but it’s been shown to induce “bliss.” No surprise, anandamide is considered an analog of THC.

A key benefit of CBD topicals is their direct action. Because they easily penetrate the skin, they work pretty fast within a targeted area. Though different factors can affect their effectiveness, their effects are typically felt within 30-60 minutes. This makes them ideal for managing acute pain and inflammatory conditions.

Another significant benefit of CBD topicals is their perceived safety. Since they are applied to the skin, many users are more comfortable with topicals than ingestibles. Generally, pure CBD is considered safe and well-tolerated, but the same cannot be said of the products. There are reports of products containing ingredients that could be toxic if consumed. As opposed to topicals which can be easily washed off, ingestibles go into the stomach and are much harder to eliminate.

Moreover, topical CBD is much easier to use/dose. Generally, manufacturers don’t specify the quantity and frequency of use. In most cases, their labels typically state “use as needed.” This allows users to dictate how much and how often to apply the product. On the flip side, it means it’s much harder to evaluate the effectiveness of topicals.

What are ingestible CBD Products

As the name suggests, ingestible CBD products are taken orally. They include capsules, pills, oils/tinctures, gummies, and beverages. This class of CBD products is also hugely popular among users looking for relief from various ailments. 

So, what are some of the benefits of ingestible CBD products?

Benefits of ingestible CBD

Ingestible CBD first goes to the digestive system, where it is broken down into metabolites the body can absorb. In some cases, this mode of administration is advantageous because of the increased potency of the resulting metabolites.

For example, when CBD is mixed with THC, the liver breaks down the latter into a more potent metabolite called 11-hydroxy-delta-9-THC. As a result, the effects are more pronounced. It’s still unclear if this explains why CBD and THC often complement each other so well.

Generally, edible CBD is considered more effective than other forms. Even though CBD products create similar effects, those of ingestibles are more long-lasting. Some users claim to feel these effects for up to 12 hours. This makes ingestible CBD more suitable for chronic conditions.

Another notable benefit of ingestible is its delocalized impact. When you want relief from a sore muscle in a specific body part, you go for CBD topicals. However, ingestible CBD is the better option when dealing with an all-encompassing issue such as fatigue, chronic pain, or insomnia. That’s because it enters the bloodstream and targets multiple receptors in the body. In fact, CBD is known to exert its pharmacological effects via diverse receptors, making it a “super cannabinoid” of sorts.

Consequently, ingestible CBD offers a wide range of health benefits compared to topical CBD. Besides the relief you primarily wanted, you also experience other health benefits. Indeed, CBD has been extensively investigated for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective properties. The results of these studies are quite promising.

As cannabis research expands, more properties of CBD will be discovered, and we may see more benefits.

Can Oral CBD Oil Be Used topically

There is no reason to use oral CBD topically. Oral products are designed for oral use, while topical formulations are for topical use. Simple.

Topical products typically contain other ingredients to maximize skin absorption. This enhances their benefits, such as nourishing and moisturizing the skin

On the other hand, oral products are meant to be indigested. This means their ingredients are gut-friendly and, by extension, unlikely to harm your skin. So, while it is possible to use oral CBD products on the skin, it makes no sense because you can readily access CBD products for your needs. 

Moreover, oral CBD products are unlikely to provide the benefits you want should you use them topically. The best way to reap maximum rewards from your CBD products is to use them correctly. 

Topical vs Ingestible CBD: Which is Right for you

This primarily comes down to your health needs which can be assessed with the following questions:

  • Is the health problem acute or chronic? 
  • What is the nature of the ailment?
  • Do you intend to use CBD short-term or long-term?

The emergence of CBD as a potential therapeutic agent for a myriad of health conditions has seen its use grow substantially. This is driven mainly by the fact that CBD is natural with an impressive safety profile. So, for people who have had a bad experience with conventional medications, CBD is touted as an alternative remedy.

However, choosing topical or ingestible CBD is not as simple as it seems. Generally, it comes down to your answers to the questions above. 

Acute or chronic issue

Health problems typically fall into two main categories – acute and chronic. An acute condition occurs suddenly. For example, if you fall and break a leg, the resulting pain can be described as acute. Such injuries are common in sports.

However, when a condition develops and worsens over time, it becomes chronic. An acute condition can become chronic if not tended to properly at the early stages. Common chronic conditions include shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, tennis elbow, and runner’s knee, among many others. Also, diseases like arthritis can eventually become chronic.

Acute problems like a sore muscle or an inflamed ankle can be managed with topical CBD. This is because the injury is often superficial. Usually, topical CBD can penetrate the skin just deep enough to reach the affected tissues and provide healing.

For chronic injuries, topical CBD offers little help because it doesn’t go deep enough. In such cases, the damage has spread to surrounding tissues, affecting a larger area. As such, combining topical and ingestible CBD is often more effective.

The nature of the ailment

By this, we imply the condition can be localized or systemic. The former can be targeted with topical CBD, while the latter not so much. For example, topical CBD may not offer much relief for someone dealing with sleeplessness. That’s because they target a narrow band of receptors on the skin.

However, ingestible CBD enters the bloodstream and accesses all the receptors in the body. Consequently, it can offer substantially more health benefits.

Short-term or long-term use

Most people don’t think about this when they use CBD, but it makes sense. Look at it this way; apart from its excellent safety profile, CBD is considerably pocket-friendlier than conventional medications. 

Even though both topical and oral CBD may manage a condition like pain, oral CBD is a more sensible approach due to the longevity of its effects. As a result, you don’t have to dose frequently, as is the case with topical CBD, whose effects are short-lived. In the end, your product lasts longer, and you spend less.

In many cases, users combine different forms of CBD for maximum benefits. Nothing prevents you from using topical and oral CBD together.

Where to buy Topical CBD Online

Are you looking for topical CBD? Dragon Hemp is a leading health and wellness brand specializing in high-quality topical CBD products. All our products are made from organic, clean-sourced, and high-grade ingredients to ensure they perform as expected. For people in pain, we have two CBD topicals to give you the relief you need.

Our Cooling Balm is designed for acute pain relief. So, we’ve crafted it with full-spectrum hemp CBD blended with herbs like menthol, corydalis, and other Chinese herbs to provide immediate relief from pain. Coupled with its pleasant orange blossom flavor, this balm quickly absorbs into the skin, penetrating deep into muscle tissue to reduce swelling, cool muscle tissue, and promote blood circulation.

For chronic conditions, we recommend this potent practitioner-formulated Warming Balm. With a generous dose of premium cold-extracted full-spectrum CBD and an assortment of botanicals like aconite, dragon’s blood, and other Chinese herbs, this balm disperses blood stasis and stimulates flow. Its warm, soothing sensation penetrates deep into the skin, fast-tracking the healing of long-term injuries.

How to choose the best ingestible CBD 

We also make some of the best oral CBD products on the market. Check out our guide on what you should consider when buying CBD.

For those seeking to wind down after a hard day at work, these Delta 9 Chill gummies are your go-to. They contain hemp-derived ∆9-THC (depending on the flavor) and a concentrated blend of naturally occurring cannabinoids such as CBD, CBC, CBDV, CBG, and terpenes to deliver a relaxing buzz amid an authentic cannabis experience. But if you want to elevate your mood with a tinge of euphoria, go for the high-strength gummies.

Are you having problems falling asleep? Try our Sleep gummies infused with premium-grade CBD and CBN. These are formulated to ease the transition into slumberland, making you fall in love with your bed again. These are designed to calm the mind and relax the body to promote natural, restorative sleep.

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