Topical vs Edible CBD: Helping You Decide
Reading time – 15 minutes
Looking to consume CBD? Then welcome, you have come to the right article! As you may be aware, you are in no way limited when it comes to methods of consuming CBD oil. This thought may put a smile on your face, or have you tearing your hair out due to the vast sea of options available to you. No need to panic, though – that's why we are here!
CBD has become a prevalent and welcome all-natural wellness supplement that has truly hit its stride in the last few years. There are now CBD-infused shampoos, bath bombs, cosmetics – you name it, it's likely out there! There are also more traditional and widespread ways of consuming CBD oil, and these are a great place to start your wellness journey. These widespread methods include CBD oil, capsules, sprays, vaping, creams, and edibles. Today we will be focusing on the latter, and helping you make the decision between topical and edible CBD, with a particular focus on CBD mints. While the methods of consumption are extremely different, the essential potential benefits of CBD oil remain the same – but the ultimate choice is in your hands. We will also be outlining the key pieces of research into the possible therapeutic benefits of CBD oil, as this helps to explain why people love CBD. So, make sure that you keep reading to discover how best to add CBD oil into your wellness routine.
What is CBD oil?
So, let's begin by answering the most-searched question: what is CBD oil? CBD makes up one of the 113 compounds found in the cannabis plant. These compounds are known as cannabinoids, with arguably the most famous one being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the cannabinoid that gives the user a "high" due to its psychoactive properties. As you may already know, CBD holds no such intoxicating properties, and potentially affects different receptors in comparison to THC. This makes it a fantastic wellness supplement for a range of people, and scientific studies are often taking place looking into its possible benefits. There's evidence of its potential anti-inflammatory effects, pain-relieving benefits, calming properties, and much more.
So, how is CBD oil made? Put simply; it's extracted from the plant. It is then diluted with a carrier oil (such as hemp seed, avocado, or coconut oil). It's then ready to begin its journey into being transformed into a product used for any one of the many methods of CBD consumption.
CBD oil: the current research
"What is CBD oil good for?" is one of the most commonly-searched-for phrases when it comes to CBD oil. People are curious as to the potential wellbeing benefits that it can provide, and hey, you may be one of them! We would be here for a long time if we were to address every single piece of research into CBD oil that's out there, so let's cover some critical areas of research that demonstrate the promising potential wellness benefits of CBD.
Sleep wellbeing and anxiety
Anxiety is a huge problem facing our society today, with an estimated 275 million people suffering from anxiety disorders worldwide – and these are just the people that have been diagnosed – many suffer in silence. This figure is roughly 4% of the global population, so it's safe to say that anxiety is a global issue, deserving of attention. People suffering from anxiety can suffer from a range of symptoms that affect both their physical body and their mental state. The NHS states that the psychological symptoms of anxiety can include feeling on edge, irritable, a looming sense of dread, restlessness, and finding it hard to concentrate on anything. The physical symptoms include feeling fatigued, dizzy, heart palpitations, shaking limbs, muscle aches, insomnia, feeling sick, and excessive sweating that you can't control. Anxiety disorders are typically treated with pharmaceutical drugs, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), however, these can cause a whole host of side effects that can even mimic the symptoms of anxiety itself. These adverse effects can include dizziness, low sex drive, feeling sick, feeling agitated, shaky, and anxious.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can also be used to help treat the condition, or a combination therapy can be used depending on the severity. However, the waiting list for such treatment can be long, or the therapy itself can be too expensive for people to go, leading many people to search for a natural supplement to potentially soothe their anxiety. Enter CBD! A study published in 2011 examined the effect of CBD on a group of people suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD). Participants were either administered a 400mg oral dose of CBD or a placebo, and the researchers reported that the CBD group experienced a reduction in their anxiety levels and symptoms. A reviewpublished by the National Institute on Drug Abuse examined the published literature up until 2015. It reported that animal studies demonstrate that CBD oil can reduce anxiety and stress, as shown through the lowering of animal's heart rates.
Furthermore, CBD oil has been shown to have a positive impact on sleep. A study published in 2019 yielded promising results. Data was obtained from 103 people, and this study measured whether CBD could impact sleep and anxiety. The final sample consisted of 72 adults experiencing poor sleep and anxiety. After one month of using CBD oil, 57 patients (79.2%) experienced a decrease in anxiety, and this remained steady throughout the study. The sleep of 48 patients (66.7%) improved, although it fluctuated slightly as the investigation continued. This led researchers to conclude that CBD oil is a promising tool for potentially aiding the treatment of anxiety and poor sleep. However, further research is needed for more conclusive records.
Heart diseases are a worldwide issue, and the NHS has reported that coronary heart disease (CHD) is one of the major causes of deaths worldwide. CHD can also be referred to as coronary artery disease, or ischaemic heart disease. It occurs when the blood supply to your heart becomes blocked due to a build-up of fatty substances. One of the primary causes of the disease is poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, not exercising, eating a fatty diet, and drinking alcohol to excess. As well as managing these lifestyle factors, CBD oil could be a beneficial wellness supplement for heart health. A pivotal studypublished in 2017 discovered that CBD could potentially help in preventing blood pressure fluctuations caused by stress. The small study had nine male participants who either received a placebo or a 600mg dose of CBD. Those administered CBD had lower blood pressure than the placebo group after experiencing stress. They concluded that CBD might be able to help reduce blood cholesterol, stabilise and reduce blood pressure, and reduce the risk of clogged arteries. If true, this could all help to promote a healthy heart, and consequently be able to prevent the major causes of heart attacks.
This is one of the leading reasons that people reach for CBD oil in its many forms – pain relief. There's a wealth of research into the use of CBD oil for pain, and people are continually typing the phrase into the internet in the hopes that it can help them. The good news is that evidence suggests that it may be able to. A 2016 study examined the effects of CBD gel on rats with arthritis. The NHS notes that symptoms of arthritis include inflammation in the joints, restricted movement, weakness in the muscles, joint pain, tenderness, and stiffness. The study took place over four days, and CBD gel would be applied to the rats, but the doses would vary from 0.6, 3.1, 6.2, or 62.3mg. After CBD use, the rats experienced fewer symptoms of pain and inflammation in their joints, without any adverse side effects. The researchers noted that 6.2 mg was the best dose in improving the rats' symptoms of pain and inflammation. Finally, a reviewpublished in 2020 concluded that CBD oil holds the potential to help individuals manage their chronic pain, and therefore, in turn, help to improve their sleep, as well as reduce inflammation. They also raise the point that CBD is non-intoxicating, and that it's a natural solution that people could turn to if the current treatments for their condition are insufficient.
The brain plays a vital role in our health and performance, and it is undoubtedly a highly complex organ. Taking care of your brain is just as important as taking care of your heart health, mental health, diet, the list goes on. Some researchers believe that CBD should be regarded as a neuroprotective compound, so let's examine why. A study published in 2004 examined the impact of CBD on oxidative stress, a process linked to Alzheimer's disease. It occurs when there's an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals. The results of this research are promising, as the scientists concluded that CBD demonstrated a "combination of neuroprotective, antioxidative, and anti-apoptotic effects." However, they also acknowledge the need for more research to take place in the form of animal or clinical trials. Another way that CBD may be able to act as a neuroprotective is through its potential anti-inflammatory properties, as inflammation can contribute to neurodegeneration. Chronic inflammation can ultimately damage cells, or even destroy them. A studypublished in 2010 found that CBD can prevent the build-up of proinflammatory cytokines; these are essentially the messengers that ignite the body's inflammatory response. The research into CBD oil as a neuroprotective is promising, and has led scientists to believe that CBD holds the "tremendous potential" to be a new medicine for neurodegenerative diseases.
What are CBD topicals?
CBD topicals are creams infused with CBD oil that you apply directly onto your skin. Creams are one of the most popular choices, due to the way they don't leave a sticky residue. Lotions are also an option, and they are a popular choice for many people's beauty routines, thanks to CBD's possible moisturising properties. Balms can also help to potentially soothe sore skin that has become dry and cracked. There's a growing body of research into topical CBD and its possible ability to soothe conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis. Furthermore, topical CBD is popular as a supplement to help manage pain and inflammation on particular areas of the body. Plus, these topicals usually smell great – so you have the added benefit of smelling lovely!
What are CBD edibles?
You guessed it, CBD edibles are something you eat! Except they contain CBD oil for added wellness benefits, so you can enjoy your healthy snack guilt-free. There are so many options at your disposal when it comes to CBD edibles- for starters, you can either purchase them or make them yourself at home. Some of the most popular options include gummies, brownies, cookies, and hot drinks like tea and coffee. This allows you to take a moment out of your day for yourself, and will enable you to experience feelings of calm and peace. Fitness-lovers out there may appreciate CBD smoothies, protein shakes, and protein bars. These are a fantastic way of adding to your healthy lifestyle. Some of the main factors behind CBD's rise to popularity is the variety of consumption methods. Companies are becoming more innovative, and the CBD mint reflects this! As it's impossible to compare CBD topicals to every edible, we're going to put the CBD mint into focus. After all, they have the added benefit of making your breath smell great!
A direct comparison
Now it's time to directly compare the topical and edible CBD, as you will discover that they are two very different ways of consuming CBD oil. Understanding the differences is key to knowing what will work best for your lifestyle.
Let's begin with the dosage. When we refer to the dosage, we are referring to the amount of CBD oil in the product that you are consuming. Different doses work better for different people. Therefore, it's always a good idea to do your own research into the matter. When it comes to dosing, we believe that CBD edibles have the edge. For instance, CBD mints are not only easy to consume (like most other CBD edibles), but they are also convenient for when you are on the go. The dosages of CBD edibles currently on the market are typically higher than that of creams and lotions, as lower doses range between 5mg to 25mg, while higher doses range between 50 mg to 120 mg.
On the other hand, topical CBD content ranges from 3mg and 8mg for your average recommended application; whereas high CBD potency products will contain 8mg or more per every application. There's no set dose when it comes to topical CBD, as it all depends on what you are hoping to achieve. For example, you may want to use a higher dose if you have painful muscle spasms, compared to the amount you would put on your acne spots. Dosing with CBD edibles and mints is extremely simple, and it allows CBD novices to build up slowly to their ideal amount of CBD to add to their wellness routine. This makes them the perfect choice to begin your journey into the world of CBD, whereas working out what constitutes as one application of topical CBD could be a little tricky for some people.
Bioavailability – a big word, with a simple explanation! It is basically referring to the time it takes to feel the effects of CBD oil, as it needs to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Various factors can influence how long this takes, such as your overall health, age, weight, height, and so on. When it comes to CBD topicals, there is no set time in place, as it all depends on the amount of CBD you apply. A small amount of CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream because of the skin barrier. Some people are able to feel the effects within minutes, while for others, it can take longer than one hour. Once the therapeutic benefits begin to kick in, you can be sure that the potential benefits will last for five hours or longer. When it comes to CBD edibles, it can take between 30 minutes and 120 minutes for you to reap the potential benefits of CBD. A study published in 2007 found that CBD edibles have a bioavailability rate of 4-20%, while the bioavailability of topical CBD has yet to be properly quantified. CBD edibles need to pass through your digestive system before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and this is why the rate is somewhat on the low side. Despite this, CBD mints hold the power to be absorbed quicker, thanks to them being dissolved on the tongue. Therefore, it's important to remember that not all CBD edibles are the same, and you should do your own research into the variety of methods out there for you.
What's more, CBD edibles are great for those of you wanting to feel the benefits for longer. You see, the effects can last up to 8 hours or longer for some people. This means that simply popping a CBD mint into your mouth can provide you with potential calming and pain-relieving properties for the entire day. The same goes for possibly helping you to get a much-needed peaceful night's sleep, as this is beneficial to your overall wellbeing. CBD mints and other edibles can ensure you wake up feeling fresh as a daisy!
This is where things get difficult comparing the two forms of CBD – as it all depends on what brand you purchase from. This means that we would be here all day, if we were to do a comprehensive price comparison between the two. When purchasing CBD products, you should work out a budget and decide what you are willing to pay, as well as what you are using CBD for. If you desire to experience the potential calming and therapeutic benefits (or just add CBD to your wellness routine in general), CBD edibles are a viable option. Adding CBD mints to your routine will see you feel the effects for longer, allowing you to carry on with your day. CBD topicals, on the other hand, are quite possibly ideal for specific, targeted pain relief, or to potentially help a skin condition. Another note to make is that you can make CBD edibles yourself if you find yourself restricted by a tight budget. Simply purchase some CBD oil, and add a few drops into your coffee, smoothie, cookie recipe – the list just goes on and on!
There are plenty of topical CBD options out there for you to choose from. There will be a range of fresh smells, different amounts of CBD, and other potential benefits such as moisturisation associated with each product. However, we would argue that the vast world of CBD edibles can't be beaten when it comes to variety! We won't go over what you can buy again (we would be here all day), but there's no way that you could ever become bored consuming CBD edibles. You could mix up your wellness routine by having a CBD-infused smoothie one day, and a CBD brownie the next! Or, if you are the type of person that prefers sticking to a set schedule, adding CBD mints to your routine couldn't be easier. So easy, in fact, that you won't notice any changes- apart from the potential therapeutic benefits CBD can bring to your life.
Weigh up your options
We hope that this article has armed you with all the relevant information you need, and helps you make a choice between topical or edible CBD. It all depends on what you believe will suit your lifestyle the best, and what you are taking CBD for. For example, topicals could be favourable for supplementing the treatment of specific pain and inflammation in the joints. In contrast, CBD edibles could be better for reaping the potentially long-lasting calming benefits. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from trying both and discovering first-hand what works for you. You may even wish to vape your CBD. If so, check out our vast range of CBD vape cartridges – we have a vape for your every mood, allowing you to experience a moment of much-needed peace. All the ingredients we use are natural, containing organic CBD distillate, and flavoured and unflavoured terpenes to help boost your wellness routine. However you choose to consume CBD, we are sure that you will appreciate the all-natural potential benefits it can bring to your lifestyle.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD Oil.
Contributor | Angus Taylor CEO
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.