• Bill

CBD Salves: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: Mar 24, 2019

CBD salves have become a staple in the CBD scene. What exactly is a CBD salve, though? How is it different from CBD oil or other CBD-infused topicals?

We understand consumers have a ton of questions when it comes to CBD. For as huge as the industry has become, it’s still in its infancy stages…which means all of us have a lot to learn about this very beneficial cannabinoid.

CBD salves can be beneficial for quite a few conditions, which is why we’re here to clear up any uncertainty you might have about them once and for all. The CBD market has become huge and the array of different products can be difficult to differentiate between. Here, we’ll take a deeper look at CBD salves, so you can make an informed decision as to whether it’s a beneficial product to meet your individual needs.

What is CBD Salve?

By definition, a salve is “an ointment used to promote healing or protection of the skin.” There’s really no difference between a salve, ointment or balm…they’re basically all the same.

A salve is basically a therapeutically-infused blend that is applied directly to the skin where it is then absorbed. In the case of CBD salves, the “therapeutic infusion” is CBD.

Are CBD salves the same as CBD lotions and creams? Not exactly. While they’re all applied topically and absorbed through the skin, there are slight differences between them. Each is explained in a bit more detail here:

Salve: Salves are a combination of oil (typically coconut or olive oil) and beeswax.

Lotion: Lotion is a combination of oil and water mixed with an emulsifier (typically emulsifying wax or beeswax). Lotions contain a higher ratio of water to oil (70:20).

Cream: Creams are also made using a concentration of water and oil along with an emulsifying agent. Creams are heavier than lotions because they contain more oil than lotions (45:45).  

The only real difference then between CBD salves, lotions and creams is the amount of water that is used to make them. In the case of CBD salves, they aren’t produced with any water, something that makes them a much thicker consistency than CBD lotions or CBD creams.

How are CBD Salves Made?

Salves are actually one of the most simple CBD topicals there is to create. The base of any salve is wax (typically beeswax) with the carrier oil (typically coconut or olive). This is then infused with various healing compounds, sometimes dried herbs but not always. Therapeutic essential oils are usually added to the wax and carrier oil for increased wellness benefits.

CBD salves are made very much the same as other salves.

The first step taken in making CBD salves is to create an infusion of the carrier oil and CBD. Coconut is the most common when making CBD salves because of the increased fatty acid content it contains, as they’re what help to carry the CBD oil.

The CBD oil is then simply mixed with melted beeswax to create the salve. Many CBD salves also contain other therapeutic essential oils, our CBD salve is no different. We’ve added both lavender (an antimicrobial that may reduce inflammation) and eucalyptus (an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and more).

How Do CBD Salves Work?

Using CBD topically is much different than taking it internally via a tincture or capsule. How does putting something infused with CBD on your skin even help? Good question. Let us help answer it.

The skin is the largest organ in the human body. Think about that for a minute. It’s no wonder that it acts as a powerful molecular pathway.

Say you apply a CBD salve to your knee. When you apply this salve topically, it’s absorbed into the skin and the fatty acids carrying the CBD (that come from the carrier oil) move through the skin cell membranes. This is when the CBD begins to target the surrounding area and surrounding tissues it was applied to.

With research suggesting the existence of the endocannabinoid system present in the skin, it’s easy to see how applying CBD topically to the skin could result in therapeutic benefits. Dr. Tamas Biro, director of immunology at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, says that because the endocannabinoid system is present in skin cells that the dermal layers in the skin are “indeed capable of producing endocannabinoids.” Biro also contends that “most, if not all, skin functions are controlled by a certain extent by the local skin endocannabinoid system.” Dr. Raj Gupta of Folium Biosciences, a CBD wholesaler based out of Colorado, says that “because the skin has its own endocannabinoid system, just the superficial application of CBD by itself can be extremely helpful.”

How to Use CBD Salve

CBD salve is used just like any other topical salve or ointment. Simply apply it to the area where you need some relief…and let it do its magic. Think about it. You now know that when you apply a CBD salve topically, the CBD is carried across skin cell membranes and absorbed into surrounding skin cells and tissues.

This is why CBD salves (as well as other healing salves) are applied directly to the skin where you’re feeling discomfort. Experiencing joint pain in your knee from that fall you took skiing? Try applying some CBD salve where it hurts. The salve will go to work by absorbing into the skin cells and tissues in this targeted area.

Are you getting a better understanding of why salves work so well for things like joint pain, inflammation and skin conditions like eczema? They target the area they’re applied to and offer relief at the very source of the pain.

The Pros and Cons of CBD Salves

CBD salves are used by being applied directly to the affected area. One of the benefits of a CBD salve is that unlike CBD oil, it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive tract or be metabolized by the body to feel its effects.

Have you ever used a traditional salve (like Tiger Balm or Icy Hot) and noticed how you can feel the effects almost instantly? It’s the same thing with CBD salve. You don’t have to wait forever for the discomfort to dissipate. If you take a CBD oil for the same discomfort, you’re going to wait much longer to feel its effects.

While CBD salves have shown to provide relief to the countless people who have used them, not everyone reacts the same to CBD. You might have to experiment with different salves before you find one that works for you.

Something else to keep in mind — salves can be greasy. If this is something you want to avoid, your best bet would be to try a CBD lotion or cream to see if the consistency on your skin is more agreeable to your personal taste.

Is CBD Salve Right for You?

Research shows that the topical application of CBD has “therapeutic potential for the relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects.”

Does this mean CBD salve could work for you? It could!

Personally, we’re wild about CBD salves. We’ve found them to work quickly and effectively for athletic recovery, seasonal eczema and various issues of inflammation. Have questions about how CBD salves could benefit you? We’re always here to help.

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