How Does CBD Cream Work?

How Does CBD Cream Work?CBD products have been diversifying a lot over recent years, and some of the most interesting newcomers are not products that you smoke or eat—they’re products that you simply apply to your skin. From CBD creams and ointments to lip balms and lotions, there are now a ton of products that claim to get CBD into your system through the skin. And by far, CBD cream products are the most popular. But do they really work? How do they allow you to get the benefits of CBD? And what can you expect from using them? Here are the answers to all of your questions on CBD cream.

What Is CBD Cream?

CBD cream is a skincare product that contains CBD molecules dissolved in some form of moisturizing agent, like shea butter, coconut oil, or cocoa butter. 

If you look at the ingredient list, every type of CBD cream is a little different. Some contain essential oils, some contain only natural ingredients, and others will contain synthetic ones. The only thing that really distinguishes CBD cream is that it contains the molecule CBD. It often comes in the form of a broad-spectrum extract that is mixed together with other ingredients to form a cream. 

Non-prescription CBD products are not currently approved by the FDA. However, research suggests that this molecule is effective in treating a number of conditions. We recommend consulting with a medical professional to see if prescription CBD could help your condition.

How Is CBD Cream Made?

To make CBD cream, manufacturers start with one of two products: CBD extract or CBD isolate.

CBD extract is a product that is obtained from the hemp plant and contains all of its molecules in a highly concentrated product. A broad-spectrum CBD extract contains CBD, all other cannabinoids except for THC, and terpenes. A full-spectrum CBD extract contains all the same ingredients as well as THC. This is why it’s not legal in all countries. 

On the other hand, CBD isolate only contains CBD, and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. It comes in the form of a powder that is obtained from the same hemp plant through a complex chemical process.

When researching the benefits of CBD cream, scientists like to use products that are based on CBD isolate because it allows them to see how CBD, the only active ingredient, works. But when we use CBD on ourselves, it could actually be more beneficial to use a cream formulated with broad-spectrum CBD extract. The best CBD cream contains many different cannabis compounds to bring you maximum benefits. That is because other cannabinoids like CBN and CBG also have interesting properties and because terpenes can make CBD more effective. These interactions are known as the “entourage effect” and they’re definitely something to think about when purchasing CBD cream.

To make CBD cream, manufacturers simply make a mixture that contains CBD isolate or extract, together with other ingredients that give it the right texture and some additional properties. Ingredients that are commonly used in CBD cream include:

  • Natural oils like hemp oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, or avocado oil
  • Natural butters like cocoa or shea butter
  • Essential oils that add a pleasant scent and can have relaxing or invigorating properties 
  • Preservatives like alcohol, parabens, or vitamin E

How Does CBD Cream Work?

Now the real question: how and why does CBD have the benefits that it has? To answer that, we need to take a look at how our body processes CBD.

Like all mammals, humans have a biological system called the “endocannabinoid system” that runs all throughout our bodies. This system is responsible for regulating pain, inflammation, appetite, and many other body functions. 

This system works by sending signals to different organs and parts of the body, using chemicals called “endocannabinoids.” It may sound like endocannabinoids come from the cannabis plant, but they’re actually produced by your own body.

The cannabinoids that are produced by cannabis or hemp are called “phytocannabinoids.” The interesting thing about phytocannabinoids like CBD is that when they enter our body, they can bind with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system.

In the case of CBD, when it binds to receptors called CB1 and CB2, it gives a boost to the whole endocannabinoid system. This results in less pain, inflammation and stress, and all the benefits that you already know about.

Because the endocannabinoid system reaches into your whole body, there are many ways to take CBD that can be effective. For example, when you eat CBD, it binds with the endocannabinoid receptors located around the digestive tract. And when you apply CBD on your skin, it binds with the endocannabinoid receptors located just underneath the first layer of your skin. 

This is how CBD cream works: it penetrates the skin, and delivers the CBD molecule straight to the endocannabinoid receptors. As a result, you can expect to feel relief in that area, as well as more generally once it travels to other parts of the body. 

Is CBD Cream Effective?

The short answer to this question is yes, CBD cream is an effective way to get CBD into your body. In fact, applying CBD to your skin has been shown to provide better results than other methods like taking CBD edibles or placing CBD oil drops under your tongue. 

Topical CBD products like CBD cream have a good rate of bioavailability, which means that our body absorbs it easily. When we take CBD in any form (whether eating, vaping, or in a cream), some of the product gets lost in our body and we don’t get its benefits. When we ingest CBD oil, we actually lose most of the product in the digestive system. But with CBD cream, most of the product reaches endocannabinoid receptors and takes effect. To read more about what bioavailability means in the case of CBD, you can check out our article here. 

Whether you’re using CBD cream for pain relief or looking to find relief with CBD cream for arthritis, choosing a topical product can be one of the best ways to get the substance into your body. 

What Are The Benefits Of CBD Cream? 

Like CBD itself, CBD cream has countless benefits. But because it’s applied directly on the skin, it’s particularly effective to relieve skin ailments as well as pain in localized areas.

For example, CBD cream has been found to relieve skin disorders and diseases like eczema, psoriasis and acne.

CBD can also relieve pain, particularly joint and bone pain. It can be very beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis, painful knees, or even a broken bone.

When you massage CBD into the skin, it can also relax the muscles underneath. This means that CBD can be effective if you suffer from sore muscles or just a lot of tension.

Finally, CBD cream has the power to relax your whole body. Getting a massage that involves CBD cream can calm you down by relaxing your muscles and lowering inflammation as well as through its natural anxiety-fighting properties. 


Although we’re used to seeing CBD as a product you take through the mouth, taking it through the skin can be just as effective. When you use CBD cream on your body, the molecule reaches the endocannabinoid receptors, creating a ripple effect on things like pain management, inflammation, tension, stress and more. This makes CBD cream one of the best ways to take CBD, particularly for those with skin conditions or localized pain. 

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