CBD salves have become a staple on the CBD scene. What exactly is a CBD salve, though? How is it different from CBD oil or other CBD-infused topicals? Well, we’ve put together this complete guide to CBD salves to help you make an informed decision.
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…which means all of us have a lot to learn about this very beneficial cannabinoid.
CBD salves can be beneficial for a variety of applications, 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 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 for your individual needs.
What Is a 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.
A salve is basically a plant-infused blend that is applied directly to the skin, where it is then absorbed. In the case of CBD salves, that 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 (45:45).
The only real difference 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 other compounds, sometimes dried herbs, but not always. Essential oils are usually added to the wax and carrier oil for increased wellness benefits.
CBD salves are made in a similar fashion to 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 fatty acids are 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 essential oils, and at Joy Organics our CBD Salve is no different. We’ve added both lavender and eucalyptus for both their impact on wellness and how wonderful they smell!
How Do CBD Salves Work?
Using CBD topically is much different than taking it 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. This is when the CBD begins to target the surrounding area it was applied to.
Dr. Tamas Biro, director of immunology at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, says that, because the endocannabinoid system is present in skin cells, 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.”
How to Use CBD Salve
A CBD salve is used just like any other topical salve or ointment. Simply apply it to the area that you want to target and let it do its magic.
Think about it. You now know that when you apply a CBD salve topically, the CBD is absorbed into surrounding skin cells and tissues.
This is why CBD salves (as well as other healing salves) are applied directly to the skin, for instance, to help muscles recover from a workout or just to support healthy joint and muscle function. The salve will go to work by absorbing into the skin cells in a targeted area.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Salves
CBD salves are used by being applied directly to the desired 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.
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 a CBD salve. You don’t have to wait forever to achieve results. If you take CBD by mouth, you’re going to wait much longer to feel its effects.
While CBD salves have provided support to 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 is more agreeable to your personal taste.
Are CBD Salves Right for You?
They could be!
We put together this CBD salve guide because, personally, we’re wild about them. We’ve found them to work quickly and effectively for anything from athletic recovery to promoting vibrant and healthy skin. Have questions about how CBD salves could benefit you? We’re always here to help.
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Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.