Can CBD Be Absorbed Through Skin? Everything You Need To Know

19th August 2021

Did you know that your skin is your largest organ? It is constantly working to keep us safe and protected from foreign substances, UV rays, toxins, and germs. But what about CBD – can CBD be absorbed through the skin? The short answer is yes, it can.

In fact, our skin can absorb it in two different ways – topically or transdermally. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

How Does CBD Work On The Skin?

Without getting too scientific, how CBD works with the human body is largely down to the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Experts believe that this system is responsible for maintaining balance within the body by responding to external stimuli (aka homeostasis).

The ECS triggers the release of hormones that determine many of our day-to-day functions. For example, if you stub your toe on the corner of the couch. Aside from experiencing extreme pain, second only to stepping on a piece of Lego, you will also experience some slight swelling around your toe. Your ECS triggers this swelling to try and protect your unfortunate toe whilst it heals.

Researchers discovered the ECS quite recently. Therefore, we will need more research before we fully understand how it works.  However, experts believe we have many receptors, scattered throughout our muscles, nervous system, and skin. Our bodies produce chemicals, known as endocannabinoids, which react with these receptors to activate or deactivate them – triggering immune responses, along with determining our appetite, sleep cycles, or even our moods.

So, where does CBD fit into all of this? Well, cannabinoids like CBD, behave in a similar way to endocannabinoids. So, when you use CBD products, the compound interacts with your ECS, helping to keep things running smoothly.

Can CBD Be Absorbed Through Skin When Using Topical Products?

CBD-infused skincare products and topical creams and balms have become incredibly popular in recent times. But can CBD be absorbed through the skin when using a topical cream? Absolutely!

As we mentioned, we have cannabinoid receptors in our skin. So applying CBD-infused creams and balms will have some localised effects.

Many CBD-infused balms act as a natural form of pain relief, offering some soothing relief for sore muscles or joints. For example, Poko’s Recovery Balm collection is designed to calm sore and stiff muscles. But how does it work?

We absorb CBD-infused balms through the opening of the hair follicles, aka our pores. Once we absorb the molecules into our skin, they interact with the cannabinoid receptors nearby. This means that they provide soothing relief in that particular area.

Experts believe that CBD interacts with the ECS in such a way that it may influence our pain perception, as well as immune responses such as inflammation. Therefore, you may use topical balms to help reduce pain and swelling in specific areas. This means that they’re ideal for targeting specific areas of discomfort and tackling period cramps or post-workout aches.

Can CBD be absorbed through the skin, into the bloodstream? Generally speaking, most infused balms and creams do not have transdermal qualities. This means that the skin absorbs CBD molecules, and they reach the sebaceous glands and cannabinoid receptors in the local area, but they do not reach the bloodstream. Therefore, you will only experience effects where you apply the topical cream.

So, is CBD absorbed through the skin, if you’re using topical creams? Yes, our skin absorbs them, making CBD-infused balms perfect for soothing stiff joints or sore muscles. But if you want to experience the overall benefits of CBD, you may want to consider using a transdermal CBD product.

Can CBD Be Absorbed Through Skin Transdermally?

Yes, we can absorb CBD through our skin, when using specifically designed transdermal products. These patches and gels contain specific amounts of CBD, alongside permeation enhancers. These chemicals help CBD to absorb through the skin’s barrier, through the lower levels of the skin, and into the bloodstream.

Once CBD reaches the bloodstream, one transports it throughout the body, where it reaches more receptors. Basically, they work in the same way that nicotine or birth control patches work!

You can use patches in the same way as topical balms, as you can apply them anywhere on the body to target specific areas. But because they deliver CBD into the bloodstream, you can also use them to help reduce stress, support good sleep habits, or to support overall good health and wellness.

Transdermal patches slowly and steadily release CBD into the bloodstream over a long period of time. You can wear most patches for 12-18 hours, with some even remaining effective for up to 24 hours. You can wear them anywhere on the body, but you should place them on venous areas like wrists, ankles, or the tops of your feet for best results.

CBD-Infused Skincare – Does CBD Improve Skin?

Can CBD be absorbed through the skin, if you’re using CBD-infused skincare products? Yes, they can! CBD skincare works in a similar way to infused balms. These products contain CBD molecules that absorb through the pores of the skin, to the receptors in the local area.

As we know, CBD works alongside the ECS, influencing immune responses like redness and swelling. This means that cannabidiol-infused skincare products are ideal for those of us with irritated, acne-prone, or sensitive skin.

For example, Poko has specifically designed a Soothing Serum to harness the calming effects of CBD. This serum works to calm irritated, swollen, and red skin. This not only helps to improve appearance but helps to reduce discomfort and boosts healing.

CBD-infused skincare products are ideal for acne-prone skin as it helps to reduce pain and discomfort associated with breakouts. They’re also perfect for those of us with inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema as they can soothe the skin without triggering further irritation.

Is Using Hemp Seed Oil in Skincare the Same As Using CBD Oil?

Can CBD be absorbed through the skin, if I’m using hemp seed oil products? Unfortunately, no. A lot of brands seem to use the terms “hemp oil” and “hemp seed oil” interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing.

Manufacturers make hemp oil, aka CBD oil, by extracting oil from the stalks, leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. These parts of the plant naturally have a high concentration of CBD.

However, the hemp seed oil is exactly what it says on the tin – hemp seed oil. Manufacturers make this oil solely from the seeds of the hemp plant, which contain little to no CBD. Therefore, hemp seed oil and hemp oil aren’t the same thing, and won’t yield the same results.

Hemp seed oil isn’t completely useless though, it is very good for your skin and hair. This particular oil is high in essential fatty acids like omega 3, 6, and 9 – all of which are great for nourishing your skin and hair!

When it comes to buying CBD-infused skincare, you should always source your products from reputable suppliers like Poko. Each of their products is accompanied by third-party test results so you can see exactly how much CBD is in them.

Will Ingesting CBD Provide the Same Results As Using Topical CBD?

Whether you get the same results from ingesting CBD will come down to the question of “can CBD be absorbed through the skin?”. It will largely depend on whether you’re using a transdermal CBD patch or gel, or if you’re using a CBD topical cream or skincare product.

As we know, there are several ways to ingest CBD, all yielding different pros and cons. For example, taking CBD sublingually (by placing a small amount under the tongue) offers high bioavailability. This means that the body can quickly and efficiently absorb it into the bloodstream.

When it comes to taking products sublingually, we absorb CBD molecules with mucous membranes in our mouths, directly into our bloodstreams. A similar exchange occurs when you inhale CBD vapour, either by smoking or vaping.

Conversely, ingesting CBD by taking infused edibles or capsules will deliver CBD to the bloodstream at a much slower rate. This is because the compound must first go through the digestive system.

Regardless of whether you ingest, inhale or take CBD sublingually, it will always end up in your bloodstream. Therefore, the compound will move around your body, interacting with any receptors that it comes in contact with en route. This means that you experience more general benefits from the substance. For example, CBD can help:

  • Improve and support healthy sleeping habits
  • Stabilise moods
  • Reduce stress and feelings of restlessness
  • Support overall health and wellness
  • Reduce aches and pains

Opting for CBD topical creams and balms, on the other hand, will not offer the same results. When you’re using a topical cream, unless it’s specifically designed to have transdermal qualities, CBD will not enter your bloodstream. Therefore, effects will be localised to the area of skin that has been in contact with the cream.

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In contrast, transdermal patches and gels offer exactly the same benefits as ingesting CBD. This is because the permeation enhancers in the patches/gel help the CBD molecules penetrate the skin, working their way into the bloodstream. As transdermal options deliver CBD directly to the bloodstream, they often are more effective than other edible options.

Transdermal CBD products offer a slow and steady release of CBD but if you’re looking for a quicker release, you should consider tinctures such as Canndid CBD Tinctures. You can simply place a couple of drops under the tongue, hold it in place for a minute or two. Then swallow it.

Can CBD Be Absorbed Through Skin: Summing Things Up

So, can CBD be absorbed through skin? Absolutely! Topical CBD creams and balms, including skincare, enters the skin through our pores. There, it interacts with the abundance of endocannabinoid receptors in our skin.

This means that using infused balms and skincare can offer the benefits of CBD to localised areas of your skin. They’re ideal for targeting specific skin concerns or soothing sore or aching muscles.

However, the majority of CBD skincare and balms do not absorb through the skin, to the point where they enter the bloodstream. That is unless they are specifically designed with transdermal qualities. To help CBD penetrate the skin,  manufacturers formulate CBD patches and gels with permeation enhancers. This means that CBD molecules penetrate even the lower layers of the skin, entering the bloodstream. Thus, offering a different range of benefits.

Whether you choose a transdermal product or a regular CBD-infused product is completely up to you and will depend on your needs and desired effects. When you’re choosing your products, we recommend doing a little research to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need. You should also only buy products from reputable and trustworthy companies, to make sure you get the best experience possible!

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