CBD Topicals: Critical Questions to Ask Before You Buy

CBD comes in many forms, including products designed for surface application to the skin, hair, or lips. CBD products that fall into this category are called “topicals.”

However, as we will explore here, not all CBD topicals are created equal. 

Whether you are interested in Sympleaf CBD Sunscreen, Sympleaf Hand & Body Lotion, or Sympleaf Hemp Extract Lip Balm, asking yourself a few questions before making the purchase can ensure you get the right type of product to suit your needs. 

Let’s get into the essential questions to ask before buying that CBD product you are eyeing. 

What Benefit Are You Seeking From CBD Topicals?

People use CBD topicals for many reasons.

The clinically tested and potential health benefits of CBD topicals include:

  • Relieving chronic pain
  • Tamping down inflammation associated with arthritis or injury
  • Relaxing muscles and easing tension
  • Preventing infections through the skin via CBD’s proven antibacterial properties (which, impressively, are on par with pharmaceutical antibiotics)
  • Antioxidation to prevent skin damage caused by radiation or exposure to environmental toxins
  • Treating skin disorders and conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema
  • Treating peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain) that results in discomfort, numbness, and weakened muscles in the hands and feet.

What Type of CBD Is Inside the Product?

Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself when browsing through CBD products is: what type of CBD am I looking for? The terminologies to refer to various CBD products can be confusing to newcomers, so let’s break them down. 

CBD products generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Full-spectrum CBD. When it comes to therapeutic CBD use, full-spectrum CBD is the ideal product because it doesn’t merely contain CBD – which is just one of more than a hundred unique cannabinoid compounds that occur naturally in the plant – but rather the “full spectrum” (hence the name) of medicinal cannabis compounds. This includes the other cannabinoids such as CBG and THC, terpenes, and flavonoids. Together, these compounds create what scientists call an “entourage effect.” According to peer-reviewed scientific research, the central premise of the entourage effect theory is that the various compounds that occur naturally in the cannabis plant – again, the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids – may potentially produce medicinal benefit when they act together in concert rather than individually. 
  • Broad-spectrum CBD. This form of CBD is essentially full-spectrum CBD, containing all the natural compounds discussed above minus THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the cannabis “high”). 
  • CBD Isolate. CBD isolate, as the name suggests, contains pure CBD. Isolated CBD is produced through a process of extraction and winterization through which all of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in full-spectrum CBD are filtered out.
    The major benefit of CBD isolate, and the reason that many prefer it, is that it contains no THC. This is important for legal reasons, as drug screenings for “marijuana” measure the metabolites of THC. THC is still illegal to purchase and consume on a federal level as well as in 34 out of 50 US states without a prescription as of 2021. Therefore, while the concentration of THC in full-spectrum CBD is minimal, does not produce any psychoactive effects, nor is likely to trigger a “positive” on a urinalysis, individuals concerned about taking a drug test nonetheless may opt to go with CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD to play it safe. 

Does the CBD Contained in This Product Meet Safety and Purity Standards?

Due to the relatively new emergence of CBD as a consumer product in the US market, the industry is still a “Wild West” of sorts when it comes to regulation. 

You can protect yourself by taking a few safety precautions when considering a product. You should do your due diligence to research the product you are interested by asking the following questions:

  • Is this CBD sourced from an American supplier (international suppliers are not required to conform to the same standards as their US counterparts – plus you get the added benefit of supporting US farmers when you buy American)
  • Has this CBD product been properly vetted by a lab certified to meet the industry-standard ISO/IEC 17025 requirements? 
  • Does this product come with a Certificate of Analysis (COA) that screens for THC content as well as heavy metals and pesticides?

What Is the CBD Content?

If you are using CBD for therapeutic purposes – for example, to gain relief from chronic pain – then titrating the right CBD dosage is critical to get the painkilling effects that you seek.

The exact dosage will depend on your individual circumstances and the health benefits you wish to achieve. Also, you should consider the possibility of any interactions between medications you are taking and CBD. Again, when in doubt, seek professional medical advice. 

Does the Product Contain Added Ingredients?

Understandably, many cannabis consumers are concerned with what added ingredients come with their foods, drinks, and even cosmetic products – and for good reason. Avoiding potentially harmful added chemicals and toxins from the products we consume is critical for maintaining optimal long-term health.

As CBD topicals have gone mainstream, larger cosmetics manufacturers with less-than-stellar records on harmful additives have begun to mass-produce CBD topicals of questionable quality. 

When you are considering which CBD topical to buy, avoid those with the following common additives that the science says could potentially jeopardize the health of you or your loved ones:

  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Petroleum/Mineral Oils (Petrochemicals)
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Triclosan
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) 

These chemical additives to popular skincare products carry an array of health risks including raising users’ risk of neurodegenerative disease (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.), cancer, and endocrine system (hormone) disruptions.

Therefore, when you see these items on an ingredients list, they are best avoided in favor of all-natural CBD products – as represented, in just one example, by the Sympleaf Sport 800mg CBD Cool Stick containing menthol and all-natural, health-fortifying herbs. 

The Bottom Line on Sourcing the Best, Most Effective CBD Topical

To briefly recap, here are the key takeaways to consider when looking at topical CBD products:

  • What benefit are you trying to achieve with topical CBD?
  • How is the CBD produced?
  • What is your ideal CBD dosage?
  • What other (potentially harmful) ingredients besides CBD are contained in this product? 

Sympleaf uses high-quality, thoroughly tested, CBD in our all-natural, chemical-free products. Browse through our CBD skincare products and check them out for yourself.