CBD topicals vs. CBD oil: what are the key differences?


With the increase in CBD products, new terms are coming up to name these products. The naming can be confusing because these new products are mostly just CBD oils for a specific purpose or CBD oil infused in something to make a new product. In the end, CBD oil will serve the purpose just like the new product. This can make you wonder which is the best between CBD topicals and CBD oil. What sets them apart? Keep reading to know how CBD Topicals and CBD oil are different and what purpose each serves.

What Is a CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound that is extracted from a hemp plant. Even though a hemp plant is a cannabis plant, it does not have enough THC that can make one high. CBD is extracted by either solvent extraction that uses alcohol as a solvent or CO2 extraction method that uses supercritical CO2. The extracted CBD is processed into full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD. The full spectrum contains all the plant terpenes, including 0.3% THC. The broad spectrum has all the terpenes except THC. Isolate CBD does not have any terpenes, flavonoids or THC.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a thick liquid infused with CBD alongside other elements. Some CBD oils may have more than one carrier oil. The carrier oil is meant to preserve the CBD and help absorption into the bloodstream. CBD oil can be taken as a tincture by inhalation, ingestion, and topical. This method of taking CBD oil affects the speed at which CBD is absorbed into the body; tinctures and inhalation methods are faster. Ingestion is the slowest because the CBD has to undergo metabolism before absorption occurs.

What is a CBD Topical?

A CBD topical is only meant to be used externally. Unlike other products, CBD topicals are applied directly to the affected areas of the skin. CBD topicals include CBD creams, lotions, CBD balms, and CBD roll-on. Various natural ingredients are used; beeswax, carrier oil, water, menthol, and essential oils. Absorption of CBD in topicals takes place through the skin pores.

Similarities Between CBD Topicals and CBD Oil

CBD oil and topicals share some similarities. They are all manufactured in the three spectrums; full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate CBD. Although topical products can not be administered orally, CBD oil can be applied topically to address the same purpose. They are all blended with unique ingredients to improve their effectiveness. MCT oil (coconut oil) is used in both the products to improve on the rate of absorption for rapid effectiveness.

How Do CBD Topicals Differ From CBD Oil?

CBD topicals have only one method of administration, by applying it directly on the affected area on the skin. However, CBD oil has more administration methods. These methods give one a choice to select which method will work best for their situation; orally, sublingually, or adding in your favorite meals or beverages. CBD topicals are also limited to work only where they are applied, but CBD oil is transported all over the body by blood and neurotransmitters. Therefore, topical products are likely to offer skin benefits only, while CBD oil can improve the general health of the body.

Uses of CBD Topicals

CBD topicals are mainly used for relieving pain and inflammation according to a study by Hammell,et al., (2016). However, they are also CBD topicals for beauty, such as lotions and creams. ECS receptors found in the skin allows CBD topical to be absorbed and bind with the CB2 receptors like epidermal and dermal skin.

CBD topicals can be used for wrinkles or as an anti-aging cream. This claim is supported by one study done by Cream, (2020).Wrinkles can be a sign of aging or too much exposure to UV light. CBD topical cream can be used as a sunscreen to protect the skin from UV light. CBD is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce the physical signs of aging like wrinkles. Also, CBD controls the production of sebum which results in clear skin. Other organic components in the CBD cream, like vitamin E, can encourage collagen production and tighten skin.

How to Buy the Best CBD Topicals

There are many CBD Topical products you can choose from; here are some guidelines that can help an individual to choose the best CBD topical product.

  • Whether the company provides proof of third-party testing, the company gives information on the source of their hemp plant and whether the hemp passes the heavy metal, molds, and pesticide tests.
  • Consider buying CBD topicals direct from a reputable manufacturer; this can be done by buying from their website or their recommended outlets stores. Also, avoid cheap CBD topicals because the method used may produce low-quality CBD.
  • Type of CBD used and potency. Full-spectrum contains THC. If you want THC, then consider broad-spectrum or isolate CBD. Potency does affect the dosage. If you have chronic pain, using the 10 mg recommended will not help.


CBD topicals and oils have a small difference in how to administer them. CBD topicals are mainly used for pain and inflammation, but companies have started to develop CBD beauty products. CBD oil, on the contrary, has a wide range of products like CBD oil for sleep, CBD oil for anxiety, and CBD oil for pain. Selecting what works better is a personal preference. You can equally use CBD topicals and CBD oil simultaneously for effective results. It is always recommended to start with a lower dose if you are a new CBD user.


Cream, C. L. F. (2020). Where Nature & Science Meet Skincare, Haircare, Beauty & Wellness. Aging, 22. Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire,
S. M., Mcilwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016).
Transdermal Cannabidiol Reduces Inflammation And Pain‐Related Behaviors In A Rat Model Of Arthritis. European
Journal Of Pain, 20(6), 936-948.

Shop CBD Products at: https://justcbdstore.com


« View All Articles