Free Shipping on Orders Over $100 | Create an Account to Earn Rewards

Topical Hemp: Everything You Need to Know

Welcome to the world of hemp.

Specifically, topical hemp. There’s so much to explore. 

In this post, we’re talking about the many ways you can use hemp and CBD topically — that is, on your skin. 

First, some housekeeping: 

  1. Nothing we discuss in this article is going to get you high. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. We’ll get into the why behind that a little later. 
  2. I’ll do my best to answer each question quickly and clearly. Wanna dig a little deeper? More info is a click away! Check out the hyperlinks throughout this article to get more details on available hemp products, how they work and more.

Now, on to the good stuff:

Your top 5 questions about topical hemp

Feel free to jump around to the question you’re most curious about — here’s a guide to the questions we’ll cover. Or, scroll through it all for the full picture!

  • What is hemp? (And how is it related to CBD oil?)
  • How can you use hemp products? 
  • Are there benefits of using topical hemp products?
  • Are hemp and CBD safe for sensitive skin? 
  • Is CBD absorbed by the skin? 


So, if you were here for last month’s blog, “Did you know hemp can help your heart?” you might remember we covered some hemp basics. The highlights run like this:

Hemp is considered an industrial crop.The plant’s official name is Cannabis sativa L. It has less than 0.3 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis (so it can’t get you high). Its strong fibers are used for things like cordage and coarse fabrics, and the seeds (the seed oil, specifically) are an increasingly common ingredient in food and body products.

When we get into the oils and extracts, things get tricky. Let’s clear up the confusion:

  • Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil is the extract from, well, hemp seeds. Just the seeds. So, while it’s chock full of omega-6 and omega-3s and antioxidants, cannabinoid content is negligible to nil. It’s delicious, nutritious, and moisturizing.

  • Full spectrum hemp extract

Full spectrum hemp extracts contains a full range (the “full spectrum”) of the cannabinoids that occur naturally in the hemp plant. This includes CBD, CBC, CBG, CGN, and CBDA, terpenes, flavonoids and more.

  • CBD oil 

CBD oil can come from either hemp plants or cannabis (marijuana) plants. Usually, the CBD is extracted from the flowers and leaves and paired with a carrier oil (like coconut). Even CBD oil from marijuana plants won’t get you high, though—the rule is still less than 0.3 percent THC for CBD products.

But we’re not done yet. Hang with me: There are three different spectrums of CBD oil. 

  1. Full-spectrum — the whole plant is processed, so negligible amounts of THC will be present with all the other naturally occurring cannabinoids. 
  2. Broad-spectrum — the end product has undergone refinement to keep all of the original compounds except THC.
  3. Isolate — the end product contains no other cannabis compounds, only CBD

Notice anything? Full spectrum hemp extract and full spectrum CBD oil are the same thing. I know. Marketing makes things tough sometimes.

Image source:

Now that we know what we’re talking about, let’s move on.

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on topical, full-spectrum, hemp extract products. Or, full-spectrum CBD topicals


Short answer: Any way you want. 

Longer answer: You can find a version of nearly any health and wellness product with CBD in it. Lotionsbalms and creams are popular, but you can also find more exotic CBD products like intimate oils and wrinkle serums

Here are just a few of the ways you can use topical CBD and hemp:

  • Treat skin irritations like eczema, psoriasis and acne
  • Improve the pain from peripheral neuropathy
  • Soothe joint inflammation from arthritis, exercise or injury
  • Treat muscle pain and soreness anywhere on the body
  • Increase blood flow and pleasure during intimacy
Pictured: full spectrum hemp extract cooling gel in sleek, black packaging by brand Charlotte's Web.
Products like this cooling full spectrum hemp extract gel can help sooth common muscle and joint pain.


CBD soothes and heals

There is considerable evidence for topical CBD/hemp use. Skin loves cannabis. In fact, science shows that topically applied cannabis is anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, pain relieving, healing, and anti-proliferative (keeps malignant cells from growing) 

The entourage effect

Let’s talk about the entourage effect for a minute. The entourage effect is the idea that the other botanical compounds (terpenes) in hemp work together with certain cannabinoids (like CBD) to provide more powerful results.

For a long time, the entourage effect had a bit of a mythical quality, with backing from hemp geeks but no hard scientific evidence. But scientific support is growing now, with a recent study finding that a number of terpenes can improve the pain-relieving effects of cannabinoids.

This is why full-spectrum products should be your go-to choice when you’re looking for topical hemp products and cbd topicals. If you could amplify the beneficial effects of CBD, why wouldn’t you? 


Yes. CBD is safe for sensitive skin. In fact, CBD oil is known for being soothing and helping to reduce irritation, so it may be an especially good solution for people with sensitive skin struggling with dryness and itching. 

CBD isn’t a known allergen, but if you have sensitive skin, you should always check labels before you buy. For example, some people have a sensitivity to menthol, and there are several mentholated full-spectrum hemp products on the market. Always try new products with caution.


Ok, so this one is a yes and no. Yes, CBD is absorbed into the skin. Earlier, when I said “skin loves cannabis,” what I really meant was this: your skin is full of cannabinoid receptors. (More than you would think — take a look at this interactive exhibition of the endocannabinoid system in the skin.) 

Because of that, full spectrum hemp topicals are effective at soothing and treating skin conditions — because they penetrate into the skin.

But, critically, they don’t penetrate through it. So, if you’re worried about cannabis products being absorbed into your bloodstream from topical application, you’re all good. Topical CBD won’t reach your bloodstream (unless you’re using a transdermal patch designed specifically for that purpose).

Ready to try topical hemp?


Stop by Sona Pharmacy! We have a variety of high-quality, pharmacy-grade hemp products and we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Plus, we’d love to see you.


The Sona Hemp Shop online offers the same products with the convenience of online shopping. 


Finally, if you need a suggestion to get started, we have one. A good low-commitment high-impact purchase for topical hemp beginners is this hemp-infused balm by Charlotte’s Web. 

With 300mg CBD per ounce and soothing sunflower seed oil and beeswax, it’s great to try on sore knees, aching knuckles, and anywhere that needs soothing and moisturizing.



Industrial Hemp. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Revised April 2022. Accessed March 16, 2023. 

Cannabis Plant / Hemp. Updated Nov. 2022. Accessed March 16, 2023. 

The “Full-Spectrum” Difference: Why To Look Out For This Term On A Label. Jennifer Cheak. MindBodyGreen. Updated Feb. 2021. Accessed March 16, 2023. 

Comparing CBD Oil & Hempseed Oil: How are They Different and What are They Used For? CBD Clinic. July 2020. Accessed March 16, 2023. 

Topical Cannabidiol (CBD) in Skin Pathology – A Comprehensive Review and Prospects for New Therapeutic Opportunities. Makhakhe L. S Afr Fam Pract (2004). 2022 May 30;64(1):e1-e4. Accessed March 16, 2023. 

New Study Finds Evidence of the Entourage Effect in Enhancing Pain Relief. Alexander Beadle. Analytical Cannabis. July 2021. Accessed March 6, 2023. 

Cannabis Sativa Terpenes are Cannabimimetic and Selectively Enhance Cannabinoid Activity. LaVigne, J.E., Hecksel, R., Keresztes, A. et al. Sci Rep 11, 8232 (2021). 

The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities. Xu DH, Et al. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 

Can CBD Make Sex Better? Here’s What the Experts Say. Joni Sweet. Updated Nov. 2019. Accessed March 16, 2023. 

Is CBD Oil Good for Skin? Louise Brown. Jan. 2021. Accessed March 16, 2023.

Can You Be Allergic to CBD Oil? Adam Biederman. Oct. 2020. Accessed March 16, 2023. 

The ECS in Skin. Phytecs.