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Whether you’re looking to alleviate pain, expand on your health routine, or are simply exploring different CBD methods, trying a CBD salve may be your perfect solution. Cannabinoids can provide targeted skin care relief​, but what exactly are the differences between CBD salves and a CBD creams?

CBD Salve – Everything You Should Know

Whether you’re looking to alleviate pain, expand on your health routine, or are simply exploring different CBD methods, trying a CBD salve may be your perfect solution.

Let’s talk about what CBD salve is, how to apply it effectively, and whether it may be the right fit for you. Also, what really is the difference between a CBD salve and other CBD topicals such as cream or lotion?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As a refresher…

CBD 101

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its party animal cousin, THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause the effects of euphoria or the “high” that is associated with marijuana. CBD is often used for natural remedies to alleviate stress, anxiety, pain, and more. For a deeper dive, check out our blog CBD Basics – CBD 101 where we answer common frequently asked questions.

cbd salve – what is it?

CBD salve is a topical ointment infused with cannabidiol that typically comes in a small jar or container. Different from CBD lotion and other topicals, a CBD salve is meant to only be applied to a small area on the body. Additionally, salves tend to have fewer ingredients than CBD topicals. Ingredients in a CBD salve typically include a type of oil (typically coconut or olive) and beeswax. The wax is the primary base of the salve and the oil is the medicinal base. Varying oils will contain different levels of fatty acid, and the more fatty acid, the better it binds and the more CBD it can carry. The texture of a CBD salve differs from other topicals, as it is stiffer due to the beeswax.

WHAT IS A CBD SALVE VERSUS A CBD BALM?

Generally, both a salve and a balm will come in similar, small containers and designed for use on specific spots of pain. The implication is they are meant to be absorbed and focus in on a pain point. Salves technically will contain oils and beeswax while balms will only have beeswax. Some balms use butter as well, but for the purposes of CBD use, either a CBD Balm or Salve will serve as a good remedy. CBD Creams and Lotions contain more water and other additives.

APPLYING CBD SALVE EFFECTIVELY

Less is more when it comes to applying a CBD salve. As we mentioned, this comes in a smaller container and differs from CBD topicals as the recommended use is to focus on a painful area or pressure point. If there isn’t a specific spot that you are looking to target, some common spots include your feet, shoulders, neck, temples, and joints. Think of anywhere that you are looking to relieve tension, inflammation, or pain. We will talk more about the reasons to use a salve later in this blog.

After you identify your desired area to apply the CBD salve, follow these two simple steps:

  1. Start with a clean slate. Wash your hands before applying the salve and be sure to quickly wipe the desired area with a cloth. After use, be sure to wash your hands as this does leave a bit of residue.
  2. Start with a small amount. Work this into the desired area and begin to slowly massage. Be sure to take your time to work the salve into your skin completely.
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Your best dosage for CBD salve will be discovered with trial and error, as it is really not a one-size-fits-all solution. To discover your perfect amount, you’ll first need to understand the dosage in the entire product. Check the product label to identify the total milligrams of CBD in the entire container. Now, here’s where a little bit of math comes in so bust out your calculator if needed. Divide the total number of milligrams by the number of ounces in the container. Identifying this number will help you to discover the product that is best for you based on the area that you need to cover, the frequency that you will use the product, etc. This will also level-set your intake, and make it much easier to adjust your regimen as you go through an initial trial and error period.

IS CBD SALVE or CBD BALM FOR ME?

Now that you know a little bit more about the basics of CBD salve, you may be wondering why you may use this compared to the endless other means of absorption. From oils to tinctures to bath bombs, the options for CBD intake can certainly be overwhelming at times. However, once you identify your key need, products are much easier to categorize and understand. Different from the topicals and lotions in the space, CBD salve is not seen for beauty uses and is primarily used as a natural medicinal remedy. Similar to any other topical medication, a CBD salve will provide instant relief when applied. This is different than something like a CBD oil that may not take effect until it has been ingested.

Some reasons that you may use a salve include:

  • To reduce swelling, irritation, or inflammation in the skin – A popular product: KOI Full Spectrum CBD Healing Balm 1000 MG
  • Arthritis pain – In a 2016 study done on rats, it was concluded: “topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects.”
  • Acne – Recommended for normal to oily skin: CBDfx Hemp Charcoal Face Mask 20mg
  • Eczema – The Medterra Manuka Cream is formulated to soothe sensitive and stressed skin.
  • Psoriasis – Researches in Italy conducted a study and discovered that applying CBD topicals on psoriatic skin helped to relieve symptoms.
  • Joint pain/Nerve pain – Neuropathy, sciatica and specific point-nerve pain
  • Muscle recovery – CBD Muscle Balms like the Koi Healing Balm work great for muscle recovery
  • Tendonitis – CBD Salves and CBD Balms work great for specific tendonitis pain

HOW ABOUT CBD LOTION?

While CBD lotion is another topical application, it varies in texture, and due to this is often used for more extensive skin solutions. The key difference between these two products is that while CBD salves are comprised of oils and wax, lotions and creams alternatively use water and other moisturizing agents. CBD lotion and topicals additionally penetrate the skin deeper and absorb faster than CBD salve. This may be a better holistic solution if you are looking for something that can be applied anywhere on the body, rather than a specific pain point. Or, if you’re looking to kick your skincare routine up a notch.

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THINGS TO CONSIDER…

Ready to take the leap into the world of CBD skincare? Here are a few parting words of advice.

Do your research. When you’re ready to purchase your next CBD salve, CBD Balm or lotion, be sure to read the label to properly understand the ingredients and THC content. All of the products that we offer on The Green Dragon CBD site are of the highest quality from national brands to local growers, and we encourage you to vet them to see which may be the best fit for you.

Take a look at our products page to see our full selection of CBD salves, lotions, topicals, bath products and more:

PLEASE USE COUPON CODE: SALVE20 for 20% OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER OF ANY PRODUCTS

CBD Salves vs CBD Creams: What’s the difference?

Thanks to the ever-growing number of studies showing CBD’s effectiveness when applied to the skin, topical methods of CBD application like balms, salves and lotions are becoming more popular. Known to have anti-inflammatory effects, cannabinoids can provide targeted relief for ​dry skin​, arthritis and even ​acne when used in skincare. But what exactly are the differences between CBD salves and a CBD creams?

CBD Salves

CBD-infused salves are healing and long lasting

Use of salves can be dated as far back as ancient Egypt. Back then, their primary uses were to treat infection, inflammation and pain. Salves are created by combining a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil with beeswax (or vegetable wax in vegan formulas), herbs and sometimes essential oils.

For more medical cannabis updates and other important stories, make sure to subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter, the top source for cannabis news.

In CBD salves, the ‘herbal’ part of the formula is replaced by cannabidiol and the fatty acids in the oil act as the ‘vehicle’ for carrying the cannabinoids. Beeswax acts as a preservative and because they contain no water, CBD salves last much longer than products which contain a water base such as lotions or creams.

CBD Creams

The difference with CBD creams lies in the water content of the formula. Creams are a combination of oil, emulsifying agents (e.g. beeswax) and water, allowing them to easily absorb into the skin. The CBD is administered in the same way as in a salve – through the fat content within the oil base.

CBD creams are hydrating and easily absorbed into the skin

Typically, water in skincare equals a need for some kind of preservative, due to water’s ability to harbor bacteria. So for those with sensitive skin, it’s worth considering looking for creams with natural ingredients to avoid preservatives which may further irritate the skin. Bear in mind that products with water also usually carry a shorter shelf life in comparison to those with a wax base.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to CBD creams and CBD salves, the real differences between the two lies in the fact that creams use a percentage of water in their bases. On the other hand, salves use only oil and wax, resulting in a longer product shelf life.

Critically, it’s down to the individual to determine which product is better suited for their condition. Though it’s safe to say that whether you’re suffering from muscle aches, ​dry skin, arthritis or pain in general, topical CBD application is a great alternative when it comes to localized relief.

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For more medical cannabis updates and other important stories, make sure to subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter, the top source for cannabis news.
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About the author

Sophie Smith

Sophie Smith is a writer and natural health enthusiast. Founder of a green beauty blog, her knowledge of natural remedies and plant-based cosmetics has lead Sophie to become an advocate for the many benefits of cannabis as an alternative medicine. Her mission is to help combat the stigma associated with ‘cannabis’ by writing factual content that empowers your CBD choices.

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Sophie Smith

Sophie Smith is a writer and natural health enthusiast. Founder of a green beauty blog, her knowledge of natural remedies and plant-based cosmetics has lead Sophie to become an advocate for the many benefits of cannabis as an alternative medicine. Her mission is to help combat the stigma associated with ‘cannabis’ by writing factual content that empowers your CBD choices.

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