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Will Topicals Pave The Way for CBD?

Updated: Aug 20, 2019

Salves, lotions, creams, what’s the difference?

With all the news earlier this month about CVS and Walgreens carrying CBD, it was noted that these large drugstore chains were focusing their product selection on topicals. This makes sense because of the FDA’s Scott Gotlieb’s statement back in January that CBD edibles were still considered illegal. Larger chains don’t want to risk selling CBD that can be ingested until federal and state regulations are made clearer.


Currently tinctures are the most popular form of CBD, however topicals are a close second.

The U.S. skincare market is currently estimated at $18 billion and according to Hemp Industry Daily the skin-care market for hemp-derived CBD is expected to reach $7 billion by 2023.


Topicals seem like a perfect fit for CBD with its natural therapeutic properties. CBD topicals are used to help ease pain, inflammation and symptoms of arthritis. They are also gaining attention in the beauty and skincare space. When blended with other natural ingredients like menthol, beeswax, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint the combinations are endless and the benefits can all have varied effects.


“cannabidiol or CBD, hemp oil contains vitamins A, B, C, D, and E,

all great for the skin! Vitamins A and D help in skin repair. They support skin cell

growth and inhibit too much oil production in the skin. Vitamins C and E are

antioxidants and protect the skin’s collagen and elastin against damage from

the sun and free radicals. B complex vitamins help with the construction process

of new skin, hair and nails.” Jeanette Jacknin M.D.

Salves, lotions, creams, or balms, these are the choices when it comes to CBD topicals. All have varied ingredients, scents, textures and benefits. But What’s the difference between a CBD Salve, a CBD lotion or a CBD Balm? Is it texture, ingredients, benefits? All of the above and in between. It can get confusing, especially if retailers don’t have a “tester” out for their customers to try. Nevertheless, retailers should know the differences in terminology.


CBD Salvesand Balms are blended for medicinal or therapeutic purposes. Although there are different combinations of ingredients and recipes they have the following in common. A natural wax, the most common being beeswax and a fatty oil base as the agent. Usually coconut, almond or avocado oil are used. Salves are binded and then set like a candle. They are thick and the most dense of the topicals.


CBD Lotions, and Creams are blended for a wide range of purposes. These topicals can be made for pain, however a more common use for them is for beauty and skincare. Again there are a wide range of ingredients and recipes all with different benefits.These topicals are typically water based and silky in texture.


Topicals are a great way for consumers to experience CBD for the first time.

They are a safe and effective way to experience the wonderful benefits of CBD.

As with all CBD products make sure your topicals are 3rd party tested and that you read all the ingredients. Until regulations become more formalized, CBD topicals may be the pathway to reach the masses.


Thanks to Sopris Health Wellness and Suzi's Lavender for their input.