Home » How To Use CBD On Your Skin (Topical CBD)

Cannabis extracts have been used topically to relieve pain and treat skin rashes in India and Latin America for hundreds of years.

CBD skin products come in ointments, salves, and lotions. They are not psychoactive and can be used to treat pain, inflammatory skin rashes, and bacterial skin infections.

What can CBD be topically used for?

CBD and cannabis products made for skin application have a wide possibility of use:

  • Joint pain (arthritis pain)
  • Joint swelling
  • Muscle pain
  • Inflammatory skin conditions
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Itchy rashes
  • Bacterial infections (MRSA)
  • Skin cancer (this is how Rick Simpson claims he cured himself)
  • Neck and back pain
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Acne
  • Nerve pain

Topical CBD seems to be one of the most versatile applications for this already very versatile compound. Every day we are find out new applications for people who have had no luck with conventional medicine:

Screen Shot 2017 05 28 at 1.40.45 AMSource: https://tinyurl.com/ybe3lcbn

How does CBD work on the skin?

The endocannabinoid system is thought to play an important role in the immune response of our skin. An improper immune response can result in inflammation and this is why CBD is being researched as an anti-inflammatory for inflammation related skin conditions.

Other important functions of the endocannabinoid system in the skin include regulation of cell growth and wound healing.

Both CB1 and CB2 receptors have been found throughout the skin.

Are there side effects of using CBD on the skin?

CBD and cannabis skin products are generally safe to apply liberally to the skin and are not likely to cause side effects. Even if the product contains THC, psychoactivity is not likely with this delivery method.

However it is very important you test a small amount on your skin first before applying liberally to the affected area. Allergic reactions have occured and you need to test yourself to see if you are allergic. It’s also not recommended to use CBD skin products which contain alcohol as this could make some skin conditions worse.

If you do have an allergic reaction, it may not necessarily be an allergic reaction to CBD or one of the cannabinoids. Instead, you may be having an allergic response to an additive in the product you are using. Check product labels and try to find products which only contain CBD, cannabinoids, and the base that acts as the carrier – i.e. coconut oil.

How should I use CBD on my skin?

After making sure you are not allergic, you can liberally apply CBD lotion to any place you have pain or skin irritation.

People with arthritis pain have reported fast relief by applying cannabinoid rich topical products directly to an inflamed and painful joint.

Screen Shot 2017 05 28 at 1.24.00 AMSource: https://tinyurl.com/yabuuoxm 

CBD lotions and balms can be used on the hands, knees, feet, back, and neck.

People are having success treating eczema with CBD.

CBD for eczemaSource: https://tinyurl.com/ycez7cjd

While it’s generally recommended to stick to external use only, some people have reported CBD lotion to be effective for treating hemorrhoids.

CBD for hemorrhoidsSource: https://tinyurl.com/y8dftwhd

Mixing different delivery methods of CBD is common and people have reported success with using topical applications at the same time as a tincture or vape product for faster relief of their symptoms.

What terpenes are good for CBD topical applications?

Look for B-caryophyllene and pinene. These terpenes are anti-inflammatory and work synergistically with THC and CBD.

What are studies saying about using cannabinoids (CBD and THC) for topical applications?

  • When CBD gels were applied to rats with arthritic knee joints, their was found a reduction in join swelling
  • Topical application of THC was found to decrease allergic inflammation in a model of eczema
  • Five major phytocannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and CBC) showed potent activity against MRSA
  • Topical cannabinoid extracts demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in laboratory animal experiments


Goldstein, B. (2016). Cannabis Revealed: how the world’s most misunderstood plant is healing everything from chronic pain to epilepsy.

Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis

The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities

Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: A Structure-Activity Study






Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • My husband has a deep bed sore which is tunneling up his back tail bone, its very painful and im wondering if cbd salve or oil can treat the wound?

    • Hey Jennie. Thanks for your great question. It’s not possible for me to know if CBD salve would be beneficial for the wound. However as long as you and your husband feel comfortable with it, I think it’s worth a try. I think it would be best to a. make sure he is not allergic to anything in the product you decide to use (other ingredients in the product in addition to CBD) and b. use a very small amount at first, to make sure there is no bad reaction. It’s always a good idea to let his doctor know as well of any new products you will be trying out. I hope that helps and please stay in touch 🙂