Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound derived from the hemp plant that is gaining popularity for its potential health benefits. CBD is available in various forms, including oils, tinctures, edibles, and topical creams. Yes, topical creams exist today as a product that can you the benefits of CBD.
Topical CBD products are applied directly to the skin to target localized pain and inflammation. However, the question remains: is topical CBD absorbed through the skin? Read on to learn what science says.
Understanding the Skin Barrier
The skin is the largest organ in the body and plays a significant role in protecting the body against external factors such as UV radiation, bacteria, and pollutants. The skin also acts as a barrier to prevent water loss from the body. The outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, is composed of dead skin cells and lipids that prevent water loss and protect against external factors. This layer also regulates the absorption of substances into the body.
On Topical CBD and Skin Absorption
When applied topically, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in the skin, which are responsible for regulating various functions, such as pain perception and inflammation. However, the absorption of topical CBD is limited due to the skin barrier. The lipids and dead skin cells in the stratum corneum prevent substances from penetrating deep into the skin and entering the bloodstream.
Studies have shown that topical CBD can penetrate the skin, but the amount that is absorbed into the bloodstream is minimal. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that only 1.7% of the applied CBD dose was detected in the bloodstream after topical application. This suggests that topical CBD products are most effective for localized pain and inflammation rather than systemic conditions.
The Factors Affecting Topical CBD Absorption
Several factors can affect the absorption of topical CBD, including the concentration of CBD in the product, the type of carrier oil used, and the condition of the skin. Products with higher concentrations of CBD may have a higher absorption rate, but they may also cause skin irritation. Carrier oils such as coconut oil or jojoba oil can enhance the absorption of CBD by increasing its solubility in the skin.
The condition of the skin can also affect the absorption of topical CBD. Healthy skin with an intact barrier may have a lower absorption rate than damaged or inflamed skin. A study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics found that the absorption of substances through the skin was higher in inflamed skin than in healthy skin.
On CBD and Transdermal Delivery
Transdermal delivery is a method of delivering substances through the skin and into the bloodstream. Unlike topical products, transdermal products are designed to penetrate the skin barrier and enter the bloodstream, providing systemic effects. Transdermal CBD products are available, but they are not as common as topical products.
Transdermal CBD products typically use a delivery system such as a patch or gel, which contains permeation enhancers to increase the penetration of CBD into the skin. Permeation enhancers can disrupt the skin barrier and increase the absorption of substances into the bloodstream. However, the use of permeation enhancers can also increase the risk of skin irritation.
Topical CBD is absorbed through the skin, but the amount that enters the bloodstream is minimal. Topical CBD products are most effective for localized pain and inflammation rather than systemic conditions. That’s not all–several factors can also affect the absorption of topical CBD, including the concentration of CBD in the product, the type of carrier oil used, and the condition of the skin. Moreover, transdermal CBD products provide systemic effects but are less common than topical products and may cause skin irritation due to the use of permeation enhancers.
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