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Topical and Transdermal Applications of CBD

Our skin, or dermis, is the biggest organ in the body. It is considered our defined border and the shield of our immune system, containing within its tissues the majority of our white blood cells. These blood cells act as gatekeepers, which keep pathogens and foreign molecules from penetrating the skin and causing infections or allergic reactions.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is effective in regulating immune response. Topical and transdermal applications of CBD have been shown to treat a variety of dermal and musculoskeletal conditions and diseases involving pain or inflammation.

What is the difference between topical and transdermal applications?

The difference between topical and transdermal applications is in the level of skin penetration. Topical treatments penetrate about three layers of the epidermis, and do not reach the bloodstream. Transdermal applications, on the other hand, contain substances that help penetrate through the skin, and reach the musculoskeletal tissues and bloodstream.

The most effective solutions depends on the condition being treated.

For dermal conditions such as irritation, inflammation, burns or wounds, topical solutions are sufficient and highly effective. CBD contains cannabinoids that bind to the endocannabinoid receptors in our skin (CB1 and CB2), and can activate the endocannabinoid system locally — reducing pain, irritation and inflammatory symptoms locally, without reaching the bloodstream.

With chronic conditions such as muscle pain and arthritis, allergic conditions including atopic dermatitis or eczema, and inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis, CBD must penetrate through the skin and into the bloodstream for effective treatment. In these cases, a multi systemic approach, combining internal and external CBD consumption, will yield the best results. This ensures that the CBD (and any additional beneficial substances included in the product) will reach the system or organ in which the condition first formed, and additional target sites in the body — providing more complete treatment.

What kinds of topical and transdermal treatments are there?

While there are numerous varieties of topical cannabidiol treatments on the market, the most common forms, which are all formulated and carried by Kiara Naturals, are oils, salves, and lotions. Each form of treatment has unique properties, and should be chosen based on the characteristics of the individual and condition at hand.

  • Oils: CBD oil is a topical that is applied directly to the required area of treatment. The cannabinoids in the oil will bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors and activate the endocannabinoid system, providing local treatment without reaching the bloodstream.
  • Salves/balms: Salves combine CBD with other substances, such as essential oils, which carry additional therapeutic benefits. Salves tend to absorb through the skin and carry other molecules into the bloodstream with them. They are made of oil and waxes only, meaning they are highly concentrated and remain on the skin for a long period of time.

Lotions/creams: Creams are another from of transdermal treatment that combine CBD oil and water through a process of emulsification. They are less concentrated than oils or salves, but are more easily absorbed into the first layers of the dermis. Additionally, both oil and water soluble substances can be added to creams, allowing a wider range of phytochemicals, or active ingredients, to work with. Creams do not leave the skin oily, which is important for conditions that worsen in humidity.

How do different kinds of CBD treatments treat different conditions? Which treatment is recommended for use?

  • Chronic musculoskeletal conditions: Cannabidiol has long been researched and used for effective pain management. CBD blocks pain promoting agents in the brain, and stimulates the immune system to reduce inflammatory responses. A multi systemic CBD treatment can help relieve the pain and other discomforting sensations that accompany conditions like arthritis, back pain and herniated discs — while furthering deep therapeutic treatment of the condition’s root cause. For such conditions, apply a CBD salve or balm topically, and take 20-30% CBD oil orally.
  • Inflammatory conditions: Research has shown that cannabinoids help maintain homeostasis of the skin, and can inhibit skin keratinocyte proliferation — one of the key factors contributing to chronic skin conditions. CBD is effective in treating several prevalent skin disorders, including atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, scleroderma, acne, pigmentation disorders, keratin diseases and itchiness. For inflammatory skin conditions, use a CBD cream or lotion topically, and take 20-30% CBD oil orally.
  • Neuropathy and nerve pain: Neuropathy refers to any condition that damages or impairs peripheral nerves in the body. It is caused by a wide variety of factors, including diabetes, arthritis, chemotherapy and autoimmune diseases. CBD has been shown to inhibit neuronal damage caused by chronic conditions, and to promote neurogenesis, the regeneration of new neuronal cells. To relieve neuropathy and nerve pain, use a CBD salve or balm topically, and take 20-30% CBD oil orally.
  • Skin repair: Various antioxidants, essential amino acids and B-complex vitamins are found in CBD, all components that are vital in maintaining healthy skin and preventing future damage. The most effective way to use CBD oil for skin conditions is to apply it topically, allowing for easy absorption and causing no side effects. Research has proven that topical treatment with CBD-enriched ointments and creams significantly improves skin parameters, and reduces inflammation, irritation and scarring. For skin repair, it is best to use a CBD cream or lotion locally.

So what should I keep in mind?

CBD products can effectively treat a range of dermal and musculoskeletal conditions. Various kinds of treatment types on the market address these conditions.

  • Topical treatments penetrate the first three layers of the skin, and do not reach the bloodstream. Transdermal treatments treat the outer skin and penetrate through the skin, reaching the muscle-skeletal tissues and bloodstream
  • While topical treatments are sufficient for some dermal conditions, transdermal and multi systemic treatments are best for chronic conditions
  • Topical treatments include oils, salves, and lotions. While oils and salves are more concentrated, lotions are more easily absorbed, and do not leave the skin oily
  • The best treatment for you highly depends on the condition at hand. Be sure to fill out Kiara’s custom questionnaire, which will help you select the products most accurate for you

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