What is CBD topical? How best does CBD topical work on an individual? How can an individual get access to CBD topical products that work? This article explains how an individual can find a CBD topical that works.

CBD is becoming a household name, especially with the numerous ads that flood television screens about its potential benefits and topical products, but how do you distinguish a genuine CBD topical product from a generic one? This article is here to help.

CBD was declassified as a schedule I drugged in 2018, and hemp by the Farmers Bill passed in 2018. It is a phytocannabinoid compound that belongs to a group of more than one hundred cannabinoids. CBD is being marketed as efficient in reducing inflammation, combating pain, reducing anxiety, and fighting the effects of skin illnesses such as acne and psoriasis. This compound is mainly extracted using all hemp plant parts except its seeds. The extracts are then made into topicals, oils, tinctures, vapes, and edibles, which all have different methods of administration. However, choosing a topical CBD cream or oil that works can be tricky, especially if you are new to the product. Here are a few key issues to watch out for when purchasing CBD topical products.

 Source Of Hemp Used

Top-quality topical CBD creams are made using oils extracted from a high-grade strain of hemp. High-grade hemp is made through rigorous research to ensure the various cannabinoids present in hemp do not exceed certain acceptable levels. Specifically, hemp is grown under special conditions to achieve a certain concentration of CBD from other cannabinoids. De Ternay et al. (2019) stated that this is done to achieve certain objectives, such as reducing anxiety or inflammation effects. For example, cherry wine has a very strong terpene profile and a CBD content that ranges from 15 to 22 percent, with total CBD varying depending on harvest and climate conditions. This variety produces may be useful in making sunbathing creams.

Moreover, the strain used determines the level of THC present. THC is a regulated substance that is limited to 0.3% by weight; some companies use low-grade hemp, which contains high levels of THC and may require more extraction processes to remove. It may alter the final composition, affecting the topical cream’s effectiveness.

Hemp Cultivation Used To Produce CBD Oils

CBD and THC are the two most abundant cannabinoids extracted from hemp. Hemp has to be grown under special conditions and requires constant checking by the farmer; otherwise, it may turn into marijuana by accumulating high levels of THC. In addition, hemp is highly susceptible to pests and diseases, and therefore farmers often resort to using pesticides and herbicides to keep weeds and pests at bay. The plant absorbs these chemical materials and may also seep into the CBD oil during extraction. For example, fire combatant aerosols resulted in some of the aerosols spreading to nearby hemp farms, resulting in a new isomer of THC known as delta 10 THC. Therefore, it is important to check the farming methods to cultivate the hemp used to produce your topical CBD products. The extra chemicals can cause adverse reactions, especially if one has allergen reactions.

Type Of CBD Extract Used To Make Topical Products

 Various methods are used to extract CBD from hemp, resulting in extracts that differ in composition and concentration of CBD present. It may affect the effectiveness of CBD when applied to the body, especially through the skin. Lundquist (2022) explained three main types of CBD extracts, i.e., full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates. Full-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids in hemp loops, such as CBN, CBDV, CBG, and 0.3% THC. Topicals made from full-spectrum oils are suitable for those who want to enjoy the full benefits of hemp extracts, especially the entourage effect. However, avoid products made with full-spectrum CBD, especially if you’re prone to drug tests or want to avoid THC at all costs. Broad-spectrum contains all hemp extract compounds but omits THC. It may be suitable for individuals who want to avoid THC altogether but want to experience the effects of all cannabinoids present in hemp. CBD isolates are a pure form of CBD and contain no other compounds. It is suitable for individuals who want to experience the benefits of CBD alone.

The Extraction And Processing Methods Used To Obtain CBD Oil

Various methods extract CBD from hemp, such as steam distillation, carbon dioxide washing, butane/ propane extraction, and olive oil extraction. Handa (2008) stated that steam distillation is the most viable commercial process used as it is cheap and can be easily implemented. However, when used, one has no control over the compounds extracted. Thus, it may result in extra processing to obtain the desired products. It may be detrimental to CBD as it may add more chemicals to the CBD oils altering their composition. Butane/propane uses these alcohols to extract CBD oils from hemp by dipping the plant in propane or butanol solutions. The downside of this method is that these two compounds are toxic and harmful to one’s health and, at times, seep out to the final product. However, companies that resort to these methods will always do extra processing to filter out any remaining amount of these compounds.

Third-Party Lab Reports

Third-party labs often analyze CBD topical products to evaluate their contents, concentrations, and composition. It is independent of the manufacturers’ lab testing and boosts the consumer’s confidence in the product. More often, credible labs will analyze the contents of these CBD oils to evaluate whether there are foreign compounds in the extracts. In addition, they check out to ensure that the stipulated concentration of CBD is as indicated on the bottle. Third-party lab reports will indicate whether the extract also contains THC and, if present, at what concentration. These reports are important as they influence the effectiveness of the topical cream or oil, but they influence the dosages to be applied. Always check out QR codes with links to websites containing the prerequisite information. In addition, make sure that the lab is a reputable laboratory.


There are numerous CBD topicals out in the market, and knowing which to choose is of uttermost importance. Always look out for lab reports from third-party labs. Check the concentration of CBD as it will influence the dosage to be taken. In addition, check for the extraction and farming method employed to avoid unwanted chemicals in the CBD oil. All in all, try and find reviews regarding the product you are purchasing, as it will show previous user experience with the product.


De Ternay, J., Naassila, M., Nourredine, M., Louvet, A., Bailly, F., Sescousse, G., … & Rolland, B. (2019). Therapeutic prospects of cannabidiol for alcohol use disorder and alcohol-related damages to the liver and the brain. Frontiers in Pharmacology10, 627.

Handa, S. S. (2008). An overview of extraction techniques for medicinal and aromatic plants. Extraction technologies for medicinal and aromatic plants1, 21-40.

Lundquist, E. (2022). Hemp Extract vs. CBD Isolate: Comparing Composition, Action, & Use. Health.

Charlotte Cremers
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MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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