Health & Wellness

CBD Salves—What You Need to Know

By Josh Hall

The word salve has been around for centuries and is undoubtedly something you heard your mom or grandmother spout off when you had a burn or cut as a child. That’s because a salve is a buttery blend of materials containing a medicinal agent rubbed directly on the skin to induce healing. While you may have had antibiotic ointments slathered on that childhood cut, CBD is now becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in salves.

CBD salve, cream, balm, lotion, and ointment are terms that get used interchangeably because they all share a somewhat similar consistency and purpose. Just like that antibiotic cream, you apply a CBD salve topically and allow the restorative power of CBD to spread through the skin and tissue. The result can be thorough and highly localized or targeted relief from pain, especially pain that lies directly on the surface.

What is a CBD salve?

Though most people think of medicine or curing remedies as intricate and complex concoctions loaded with an assortment of different types of ingredients, that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to salves.

In fact, they really only carry three main components, which include a natural wax, a base of fatty oils, and some sort or medicinal agent—CBD in the case of CBD salves. Though there are other options, beeswax is most frequently used and mixed with coconut oil and active CBD.

The process through which manufacturers perform that mixing involves extreme heat that breaks down the CBD into a form that melds with the oil. Some manufacturers also include terpenes for a desirable scent.

Unlike CBD salves, CBD-infused creams and lotions use splashes of water and other moisturizers in their bases. CBD salves stick purely to fatty oils and wax and skip the water.

How to use a CBD salve?

Our skin is the largest organ our bodies have and averages out to about 22 square feet for the average adult. It also serves as a wonderfully efficient vehicle to spread the power of CBD throughout your body.

Medical research has shown that power to intensify by regulation of the body’s endocannabinoid system, which consists of cannabinoids and associated receptors that are naturally producing and control several physiological and cognitive processes. The great thing about CBD salves is that you can accelerate that reaction because you select the medicine’s entry point.

Let’s say you have localized knee pain, arthritis in the elbow, eczema on your neck, or psoriasis behind your ear, you can simply rub the CBD salve directly on the area you want to target. The healing power of the CBD uses your skin as a natural pathway to reach the affected joints and tissue to stimulate relief.

How to measure a dose of a CBD salve?

There is a common misconception that CBD salves lack potency, which can result in improper dosing, particularly among those who are new to using salves or creams.

Because of the way the salve enters into your body, it is essential that you follow the same advice we caution for any CBD newcomer: start slow and see how your body reacts. The best suggestion is to use it sparingly at first and make a note of any changes you recognize.

Did your pain levels or blemishes stay the same? If so, you may not have used enough of the product. Did you feel sluggish or tired? If so, you may have used too much. Your answers to those questions can dictate how to move forward with dosing.

There are several other factors that can influence your dosage of CBD salve, including your general health and body weight. The good news is that like other CBD products, salves do not contain THC, so there’s no concern in getting high. A product manufactured and sold by a reputable outlet will also include labels that denote the strength of CBD in its salve.

What are the benefits of using a CBD salve?

In clinical trials, topical CBD-infused applications—like salves and creams—have been found to reduce inflammation and pain-related behaviors. These studies indicated that the inflammation-reducing benefits specifically targeted arthritic joint pain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 54 million adults in the United States afflicted with arthritis. In its recommendations for managing arthritic symptoms, the CDC suggests that proper management of arthritis can help to decrease pain and improve function—two of the fast-acting attributes associated with the use of topical CBD products like salves.

There’s also something soothing and therapeutic about rubbing a silky-smooth product onto your skin. For users opposed to vaping or dabbing, CBD salves offer an attractive and enjoyable substitute.

In general, CBD can not only relieve pain and anxiety but also aid in the treatment of cancer and prevent seizures. However, you may find that other methods of consuming CBD, most notably tinctures or orally-ingested forms, may be more beneficial for common conditions like anxiety.

What are the negatives of a CBD salve?

As mentioned, some manufacturers will use added scents or moisturizers to their CBD salves and creams. As a means of protecting your skin and your body, it’s crucial that you do the due diligence to ensure these additives are all natural and non-toxic. Some users find the consistency of CBD salves to be off-putting because it can be greasy and messy. These people will often turn to an alternative like a lotion or cream for less mess.

What else should I know about CBD salves?

Beauty and skincare products steeped with CBD have become a trendy must-have for consumers, and salves are certainly an important part of many makers’ lines. Since these creamy substances typically come in small, unassuming tins or cans, they are easy to carry in a small bag or purse. They’re also great for travel and are less likely to require explanation when traveling through airport security than a tincture or edible gummy.

CBD salves are legal in all 50 states and are readily available online and at specialty brick-and-mortar shops.

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