Does CBD Oil Absorb Through Skin


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A common question amongst those curious about CBD is whether it can be absorbed through the skin. The short answer is? Yes, it can. CBD accesses the cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which are spread throughout the body, and that includes the skin. Topical CBD products (creams, ointments, and If I put CBD oil on my skin will it have any effect? Will it reach the bloodstream? or is it a waste of good CBD? You questions answered by Chris Halls LCPH, DipASK, MCMA, Kinesiology & Homeopathy There’s a lot of hype around CBD-infused skin products and its benefits. But more research is needed before experts recommend it for use.

Is CBD Absorbed Through the Skin?

A common question amongst those curious about CBD is whether it can be absorbed through the skin. The short answer is? Yes, it can.

CBD accesses the cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which are spread throughout the body, and that includes the skin. Topical CBD products (creams, ointments, and serums) utilize these receptors.

CBD receptors come in two types: CBD1 and CBD2. Together they allow CBD to affect pretty much every other system in the body, including the immune system, the digestive system, and the nerve system.

So now that you know that CBD is absorbed by the skin, the next natural question would be in what ways it interacts with your body. To find out more, keep reading!

Using Topically-Absorbed CBD to Provide Targeted Pain Relief

Topically applied CBD absorbs through the skin to focus on relaxing tense muscles or overworked joints (compared to ingested alternatives which distribute the benefits throughout the full body). As a result, the area of application receives the majority of the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving advantages, mitigating swelling and aiding in recovery.

CBD absorbed through the skin is a much safer alternative to oral pain relievers and painkillers. While the dangers of opioids are obvious to all, even NSAIDs like aspirin can negatively impact the body (especially if taken regularly); as this study documents, they increase the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, myocardial infarctions, and strokes.

Comparatively, CBD has minimal side effects. What’s more, high-end brands like Botanika Life provide topically absorbed CBD pain products that exclusively use plant-based ingredients grown free from pesticides and GMOs. Examples include:

  • CBD Pain Relief Roller With Lidocaine: This pain relief roller has 1000mg of full spectrum CBD oil, lidocaine, menthol, and arnica that your skin swiftly absorbs to provide near-instant results. Together these ingredients (all known for anti-inflammation and analgesic properties) work to provide both quick relief and lasting pain reduction.
  • Ultra-Relief Muscle Pain Rub: This muscle rub is a concentrated CBD pain relief formula with 1500mg of full spectrum CBD oil, lidocaine, menthol, and arnica, combined into a cream-like consistency. The act of massaging the solution into the skin and muscles allows for deep penetration.
  • Super Soothing Pain Serum Cream: This serum has 500mg of full spectrum CBD and lidocaine in a lotion-like formula. Like the other two solutions above, the skin quickly absorbs the CBD to harness its anti-inflammatory and pain-combatting abilities. This product is particularly well-suited for usage alongside a cryo massage ball roller.

These products are helpful for almost anyone with specific aches, from athletes with sore muscles to individuals battling arthritis. However, CBD absorbed through the skin can also provide full-body relaxation and relief. For example, look no further than infused bath bombs designed to rejuvenate tired limbs, nourish your skin, and lift your mood. To learn more, read CBD Bath Bombs: How They Work, Benefits & FAQ.

Alternatively, check out the CBD bath bomb variety pack, perfect for testing out our most popular types: lavender, sandalwood, eucalyptus, and rose. Your skin will absorb 100mg of full-spectrum CBD paired with other healthy oils from natural sources to deliver anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties.

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How CBD Can Be Absorbed Through Skin to Help Your Complexion

CBD is an antioxidant-rich ingredient, so its anti-aging purposes are far-reaching. It can help smooth, hydrate, and moisturize, as well as treat fine lines and wrinkles. CBD ramps up the body’s production of essential elements like elastin and collagen, which are important for reducing and smoothing stretch marks and cellulite.

The same anti-inflammation properties of CBD that relieve pain in the muscles and joints are also useful in reducing skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, acne, hyperpigmentation, and other problems common with sensitive skin. Better still, CBD even has antifungal and antibiotic properties too!

Because your skin absorbs the CBD in your products, it’s important to choose a brand with all-natural ingredients backed by transparency. Rest easy knowing that Botanika Life only uses plant-based elements that are organically grown in the USA and backed by third-party lab testing. Some of our most popular CBD-based skincare solutions include:

Vitamin C & CBD Skin Elixir – This elixir is great for reinvigorating your skin. The absorbed combination of full spectrum CBD oil, Vitamin C, and squalane reduces signs of aging, brightens your complexion, and even mitigates UV damage to the skin. Squalane is also non-comedogenic, which means it can be used with sensitive skin types.

Plant Stem Cell Skin Elixir – The Plant Stem Cell elixir incorporates full spectrum CBD oil with marula oil and apple plant stem cells. The plant stem cells help restore the body’s own skin cells, and the marula oil is incredibly moisturizing and nourishing.

Unblemished: CBD Acne Treatment Unblemished comes with 120mg full spectrum CBD oil, salicylic acid, and tea tree oil, making it the perfect product to prevent and fight acne. It can even be used as a cleanser on the whole face and neck.

Elite Elixir: It contains 1500mg of full-spectrum CBD oil and an organic hemp seed oil, and that’s it! You can use the exlir on its own or as the base layer within a multi-product skincare routine, letting the CBD absorb directly into the skin to receive the diverse advantages. You can even add the Elite Elixir to food or drink, or apply it directly under your tongue.

The Difference Between Topical Absorption and Ingested CBD

There are two general ways to use CBD. We’ve discussed the myriad benefits of topical CBD, but you may be wondering: what about oral or ingestible CBD?

The CBD that you consume (whether through an infused drink or gummies) has to go through the same digestive process as beverages and food for the body to perform metabolization. Most people understand this to include the stomach and intestines, but it also includes the liver. So, when the CBD has to go through this process, the liver filters out contaminants, but it also reduces the efficacy of the CBD and takes longer for those effects to be felt.

CBD oil that is administered sublingually, is part of the oral or ingestible family, but it’s a little different because, like topicals, it also accesses the endocannabinoid system directly through receptors in the mouth, and on the tongue. In this way, it bypasses digestion but still takes longer than topicals for you to feel their effect. Sublingual CBD also has something called bioavailability, in that it enters the bloodstream. In fact, it has the highest bioavailability of the other ways to use CBD.

Topicals are absorbed by the skin and, resultantly do not have bioavailability. It also lets you concentrate the CBD’s effects towards where it is needed most. Because of these two points, they are an excellent place to start your CBD journey.

Can CBD oil be absorbed by the Skin?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical with low solubility in water but good solubility in oils and alcohols. In the body, water soluble nutrients and chemicals are transported easily into the bloodstream, whereas oily and fat soluble nutrients and chemicals on their own are not, since blood is essentially a ‘watery’ solution. So, when placing drops of CBD oil in a mouth coated with saliva, first of all the oil droplets don’t mix with saliva very well and then only a small proportion of the dose taken is absorbed through the mucous membrane of the mouth into the blood – common estimates are that only 5-10% of CBD oil taken by mouth is actually absorbed. Any CBD oil that’s swallowed and then absorbed from the intestines passes directly to the liver and is metabolised (broken down) before entering the general circulation, which also greatly reduces its effectiveness. Alternatively, preparing the CBD in such a way that it is in a water-soluble form allows the chemical to be easily absorbed when taken by mouth.

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How does CBD interact with your Skin?

The outer layer of skin (known as the stratum corneum) is a protective barrier for the body, being primarily made of compounds known as ‘lipids’ (aka ‘fats’). Similar to CBD itself, these lipids are insoluble in water but dissolve in solvents such as alcohol, and include oils, waxes and fats naturally produced by the body (including compounds such as fatty acids and cholesterol). Due to their affinity with lipids, oily compounds are more easily absorbed into the skin than water, which is why products such as ‘baby oil’, coconut oil and olive oil help keep skin looking and feeling supple and healthy. Even though cannabidiol is soluble in oils, the compound is actually poorly absorbed through the skin but can pass through the skin pores and enter the body that way. The CBD that passes into the skin then acts locally on cannabidiol receptors in the skin layer with no detectable amounts entering the bloodstream, so rubbing oil into the skin could help in localised areas.

Does CBD oil enter the bloodstream when placed on the skin?

However, studies have shown that high doses or large quantities applied to the skin actually can result in CBD entering the blood. Although taking a water-soluble formulation by mouth is probably the most convenient way of taking CBD, this shows that a systemic (whole body) effect can potentially be achieved by applying the compound to the skin. Probably the most reliable way of achieving this is by using transdermal (meaning ‘across the skin) patches, rather than applying oil, gels or ointments. These patches contain a concentrated ‘reservoir’ of CBD that, when applied to the surface of the body, ensures the compound is directed into the skin at a steady rate, from which it then gradually passes into the blood vessels that run through the skin, transporting it throughout the body. With skin application, the rate and extent of absorption will be affected by the thickness of skin at the site of application of the product as well as blood flow to the area (which is usually dependent on temperature).


So in conclusion, for problems with a particular part of the body, it may be worth trying CBD oil rubbed into the skin over the area concerned. If that’s not effective, or for a whole body effect, a water-soluble product taken by mouth can be used.

Thank you for reading our blog and if you are interested in trying any of our products please use the code CBD20 for a 20% discount on your first order at checkout.

CBD for Skin: What to Know

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in Cannabis sativa plants, which include marijuana and hemp plants. Lately, there’s a lot of hype around skin products infused with CBD. You can find it in cosmetics like creams, lotions, balms, oils, face masks, shampoos, and even bath bombs.

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You may have heard that CBD is good for acne, certain skin disorders, and fine lines and wrinkles. But does it really work? Is it safe to use? Ongoing studies on CBD’s uses and benefits are in early stages, so experts say there needs to be more large-scale research to know for sure.

Popular Claims on Benefits

While there isn’t in-depth research available to prove benefits for any skin conditions, scientists are looking for answers, and some early studies have shown some promise.

One small study looked at CBD’s effects on 20 people with the skin conditions psoriasis or eczema, as well as the scars they may leave. Participants used a CBD-enriched skin ointment twice daily for 3 months. They showed some improvements like reduced inflammation. No irritation or allergic reactions were reported, but the study had many limitations.

Experts say there needs to be more research on proper dosage, long-term benefits, and side effects to know if it’s safe and effective, especially if you plan to use it as part of your daily skin routine.

Potential Side Effects and Risks

CBD products in general often make misleading claims, the FDA notes. Since CBD products don’t need a prescription and are easily available, many people may think CBD is mostly harmless. But this isn’t necessarily true. According to the FDA, there are possible risks to look out for when you use CBD.

CBD, especially if taken by mouth, can damage your liver. There’s not yet information on whether CBD products can have the same effect when you apply it on your skin. For instance, it’s not clear yet how much CBD gets absorbed through your skin.

If you use CBD skin products, you may develop a rash. It could be from the CBD or other ingredients in the products you use.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, the FDA warns against CBD use in all forms whether it’s a cream or an oral capsule. The FDA is studying the safety of CBD products, including cosmetics, food, and supplements.

Before you try any CBD products, make sure to read the product labels carefully for active ingredients. Even so, it can be hard to know exactly what’s in the product, including how much CBD it contains. If you have questions, talk to your doctor about it.

Is It Legal?

There are no laws against using CBD in beauty or skin care products. CBD doesn’t contain any THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that’s found in high levels in marijuana. So you can’t get high on it. But some skin products may add THC along with CBD. Some experts find this concerning.

It’s illegal to market CBD if it’s added to foods or sold as a dietary supplement.

Experts want to see more reliable research before they recommend CBD for your skin. But if you do decide to use CBD-infused skin products and notice a reaction, tell your doctor about it. If you have skin problems, talk to a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment options.

Show Sources

FDA: “What You Should Know About Using Cannabis, Including CBD, When Pregnant or Breastfeeding,” “What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD.”

AAD: “The Truth About Skin Care Products with CBD.”

La Clinica Terapeutica: “A Therapeutic Effect of CBD-Enriched Ointment in Inflammatory Skin Diseases and Cutaneous Scars.”

Mayo Clinic: “Psoriasis,” “Atopic dermatitis (eczema).”

National Institutes of Health: “Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.”

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