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CBD Topicals: What They Are How They Work and How To Make Them Super Cheaply

CBD topicals are infused lotions, balms, and oils that are used to treat pain, inflammation, and various skin conditions. They are an excellent alternative to over-the-counter or prescription medications.

You can use them multiple times throughout the day as needed, and they're perfect for people who want an effective treatment without any side effects.

Plus, CBD topicals are incredibly easy to make on your own, so you can save a ton of money! Read on and grab the recipe for a super simple CBD topical salve!

I Love Topical Cannabis

If you've been here a while, you know I'm a huge fan of topical cannabis. In my house, we keep it pretty simple. I have a small container of cannabis-infused olive oil that I keep on my counter. My kiddos and I use it for EVERYTHING!

  • bug bites

  • small scratches and wounds

  • skin moisturizer

  • painful muscles

  • massage oil

  • acne (though it's not working perfectly for me)

How Do CBD Topicals Work?

CBD topicals work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating various functions in the body. By activating this system, CBD can help to reduce inflammation, pain, and other symptoms associated with different conditions.

CBD topicals can be a safe and effective way to treat various conditions without resorting to prescription medications.

How to Use CBD Topicals

No matter what condition you're using CBD topicals for, the application process is the same.

  1. Start with a small amount of balm, lotion, or salve. I promise you that a little goes a long way.

  2. Vigorously rub it into your skin. The truth is, CBD does not love crossing our skin barrier, so make sure you really rub it in to give it a chance to get where it's needed.

  3. If you don't feel relief after about 20 minutes, reapply. There's no worry about you getting high from too much CBD cream, so have atter.

What if CBD Topicals Don't Work For Me?

Even if you've followed the steps above perfectly, it's possible that the topical just won't work. This could be for a couple of reasons:

  • the topical is too weak - it needs more CBD to be effective

  • your pain/inflammation/skin condition is pretty severe

So then what? Quit cannabis and head back to the pharmacy? Not yet!

If your CBD topical doesn't work right away, and you've tried a more potent formula as well, I always suggest trying a product with THC in it.

Yes, THC is the compound that gets you high, but luckily, it's extremely unlikely that even having a full-on bath in THC topicals likely wouldn't affect you.

Why? Remember when I said that CBD doesn't love crossing your skin barrier? THC hates it too. And even if you rub your little heart out, there's no real way for most topical THC products to enter your bloodstream so ithey can make ittheir,theirs way to your brain to make you feel all loopy.

So, grab yourself some THC cream or a CBD and THC combo and see how it feels.

Do CBD Topicals Make You Fail a Drug Test?

Okay, I'm not a drug tester, and there's no way I want you to fail a drug test because of this advice, but in general, the answer is no. There are two reasons for this.

  1. Drug tests aren't searching for CBD - they're looking for THC metabolites.

  2. Even if you have THC in your formulation, it’s extremely unlikely that it can get into your bloodstream as we discussed above.

Now, does this mean there's NO way to fail? No.

Let's say your CBD topical has some THC in there, and the producer has added a penetration enhancer to make it work better. It's possible (barely) that this could trigger a drug test. So, if you're tested often and need a clean test, make sure your topical is CBD only.

Do CBD Topicals Interact with Prescription Medications?

This depends. If you're taking an oral medication, there's very little chance of it interacting with topical CBD. However, if you're applying some sort of prescription cream to the target area and then adding CBD lotion, there could be some interaction or irritation.

Talk to your cannabis-informed doctor, and always start with a tiny spot if you're going to double up on topical formulations to ensure you're all good.

How to Make Inexpensive CBD Topicals

I'm all about simplicity and cost-effectiveness here. Who wants to do a butt-ton of dishes or spend hundreds of dollars on DIY stuff? Not me!

That's why I'm giving you the EASIEST way to make your own topical CBD oil in two ways!

  1. The first and easiest way is to simply mix some CBD isolate powder into olive oil. I use olive oil because it's inexpensive, has a long shelf life, isn't generally irritating to the skin, and it's easy to find. You could use avocado oil, MCT oil or any skin-friendly oil you'd like. I generally try to get about 50-100mg of CBD per ounce of oil. For example, if I were making a cup of infused olive oil, I'd add between 400-800 mg of CBD isolate powder. Simply stir/shake well and... you're done! I told you it was easy! The only downside to this method is that it's ... oily! You really have to spend some time applying it before you can go about your day or you look pretty shiny. Plus, CBD isolate never works as well as a full-spectrum product.

  2. If a salve is more up your alley and you're up for just a little bit more work, I've got your back. Grow or buy your own CBD flower, decarb it, infuse it into your favorite skin oil and then mix it with other oils and beeswax to make a salve that stays hard. This is a great place to add in other essential oils like lavender or peppermint to boost the anti-pain and inflammation properties of CBD. This salve is a bit easier to apply and is obviously less greasy than the simple olive oil infusion. You can grab the full, printable recipe here.


CBD topicals are fantastic for pain, inflammation and skin conditions. They're also a great way to start with cannabis if you’re hesitant to try other forms.

If you don’t see results from using CBD topicals, add more CBD or even some THC and see how you do. You can make your own CBD topicals using ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen, or you can buy them pre-made.

Have you tried CBD topicals? Tell us about it in the comments and don't forget to sign up for the awesome Reveal Cannabis newsletter for more simple, inexpensive DIY cannabis recipes.


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