We get this question a lot. And it’s no wonder why. CBD applied topically for pain is incredibly common and many people suffer from chronic localized pain and hope CBD will help. We hear you!
But the answer to this question is a little more complicated. It has to do with how much CBD your body can absorb when used in different ways. Let’s talk about why in more depth.
To talk about CBD and if you can (or should) use it topically, we have to talk about something called bioavailability.
Bioavailability: How much CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream
CBD products come in many forms, including salves, lotions, tinctures, oils, liquids, capsules and more. And on top of that, CBD also comes in different concentrations. But each of these methods requires different usage methods.
Bioavailability, or the rate at which a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream, is the other factor in the ‘which CBD serving size/product is right for me’ equation. In addition to the strength of your CBD product, bioavailability will determine how much of the CBD actually makes it into your bloodstream. Fun fact: Bioavailability isn’t just for CBD! Your doctor uses this known factor to calculate any standard dose of any drug you get via prescription.
Bioavailability is not just about the serving size of your CBD but is also affected by the method of consumption or use.
Topical absorption rate: 5-10%
When used topically, your skin takes a while to absorb the products and is not the most direct way to reach your bloodstream. When applied topically, only about 5-10% of the CBD you use will actually make it into your bloodstream. That means if you take a 100 mg serving size and use it topically, only 5 mg actually makes it into your bloodstream, and generally, it takes about 15 mg to even start to see a difference in symptoms.
Now that doesn’t mean that using CBD topically won’t work for you! Many people report topical CBD is very beneficial, especially for localized pain and discomfort or even some skin issues. But this may vary from person to person and it’s a little harder to measure.
Sublingual absorption rate: 12-35%
When taken sublingually (as Plant Therapy CBD is designed to be taken), your absorption rate shoots up to 12%-35%, which is actually pretty high!
Sublingual use involves dropping the CBD liquid into your mouth and holding it under your tongue for 60 seconds. This method’s increase is due to the sublingual gland under your tongue. When a substance is administered to this gland, it gets absorbed directly into your bloodstream. That means that for every 100 mg serving size of CBD taken sublingually you absorb 12-35 mg, more than enough to potentially see effects. And as a bonus, it works much faster as well! Because this method of use is more direct, it impacts your body much sooner than even taking CBD orally and simply swallowing it.
What’s the verdict?
So while the short answer is that it won’t hurt you to use Plant Therapy’s CBD topically (it is a natural product after all!), it isn’t the most effective use of your product. Here at Plant Therapy, we wanted to make sure that our first CBD product was the most effective product to pass on to our customers!