What’s The Difference Between Topical And Transdermal CBD Products?


Cannabis has a number of applications ranging from pain relief to the treatment of epilepsy. Of the many delivery modes of its herbal component, two are CBD topicals and transdermal products. Often consumers and even some medical professionals confuse the two. However, there’s a huge difference between them and their uses.

Topical CBD Products

Topical CBD products are those that are applied on the skin for benefits that are associated with the dermal layer. For instance, a CBD topical may relieve pain in the dermal layer of the skin. Or it may decrease acne spots or hydrate the skin. Take for instance, a CBD sunscreen. This product doesn’t cross deeper into the skin’s layers or tissues.

Transdermal CBD Products

Transdermal CBD products are completely different from CBD topicals. These products enter into the skin’s dermal, epidermal, and subcutaneous layers. They contain special chemicals that increase the permeability of CBD and its bioavailability. These products work effectively to enter into the bloodstream and curb other deeper bodily concerns such as migraine pain or anxiety relief.

Compared to other delivery modes, transdermal CBD delivery is more bioavailable and the effects last longer as well. This is because CBD doesn’t have to get metabolized or pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Know that transdermal use can show up on a drug test if there’s THC in the mix. The same doesn’t happen with topical use.

Compared to topical products, transdermal products are 40% more bioavailable. A 2016 study showed that transdermal CBD treated inflammation and pain in rats. Some claim that transdermal usage of CBD is more bioavailable than vaping or sublingual usage.

Should You Go For Transdermal Or Topical CBD?

Whether you should choose transdermal or topical depends on the reason you are using CBD. For example, you want better skin. In this case, you can use skincare CBD topicals such as bath bombs, creams and the like. However, you can expect a topical to relieve a headache. For that, people commonly apply a transdermal patch, gel or lotion on their neck.

How To Know If A Product Is Topical Or Transdermal?

Despite the huge difference between the two, many companies often are unaware. Therefore, what they do is that they list the benefits that you can get from transdermal application under topical products. This is why, if you are looking for transdermal products, choose ones which clearly mention that they are for transdermal use.

You can also check out the ingredients on the label. If they include emulsifies or permeability boosters then the product is likely to be a transdermal product. Know that you can make topical CBD products at your home. However, you cannot safely make transdermal CBD products.

Sum Up

There is a huge difference between topical and transdermal CBD. CBD topicals only have surface level effects whereas the use of transdermal products is deeper. Most topicals list transdermal use due to lack of awareness. Thus, be sure to purchase transdermal products carefully.


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