What to know about hemp creams, why they work, and how to incorporate one into your skincare.
With the growing popularity of CBD, this compound has made its way from a supplement to a keynote ingredient in the skin care, bath, and beauty industries. We now see hemp in soaps, scrubs, bath bombs, serums, shampoos, and even massage oils. But one type of topical in particular, the hemp topical cream, works wonders as a multi-purpose therapeutic.
So, what is hemp cream exactly?
It's a topical product with hemp extract as its key ingredient, brimming with cannabidiol (CBD), terpenes, and other minor cannabinoids. These creams are beneficial for essentially all things skin—moisture, alleviation, localized recovery, and potential anti-inflammation.*
Hemp creams are all about active ingredients, and leading brands use plant-rich hemp extracts to create the most effective products possible. Extraction happens by drawing cannabinoids and other compounds from every part of the hemp plant, including the leaves, stalks, stems, and flower.
Whether through ethanol, butane, water, or CO2 extraction, manufacturers start the process by obtaining high-quality hemp extracts that they can then infuse into formulas like creams and other topicalcannabis products.
Keep in mind that hemp extracts vary greatly in grade in composition, which dictates the efficacy and overall quality. Even if you have the most delicate ingredients for a cream or skin care product, a low-quality hemp extract is going to leave customers dissatisfied with the result.
The key is to balance high-quality hemp extracts with lotion or cream ingredients that support and deliver the plant compounds effectively—while also granting other benefits like soothing and moisturizing benefits via essential fatty acids and other ingredients like vitamin E. Sunmed takes this balanced approach with all of our topical products, from our foundational hemp creams to specialized bath and beauty products for skin care and more.*
Do different hemp creams serve different purposes?
Different hemp creams should serve different purposes based on their cannabinoid ratios and the extra ingredients in the product formula. While you can find general hemp creams that offer versatility for all users, reputable brands recognize that topicalCBD works best with purpose-driven products and unique formulations.
The appeal of hemp cream and skin care products is because of the multi-tiered benefits of cannabinoids and other proven ingredients. While these compounds may work well individually, their combined effects are even more beneficial and can sustain better results for a longer duration.*
Whether you deal with dry skin or problematic joints, there is a hemp-infused formula meant for you.
Why does hemp cream work so well?
It's all thanks to the endocannabinoid system (ECS)—a vast network of receptors throughout the body that regulates a range of physiological processes, such as how we experience stress, digestion, and pain—to name a few. When you apply hemp cream to your skin, the cannabinoids in the cream bind to the ECS receptors, activating the system and providing targeted recovery.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is the reason why our bodies respond so well to cannabis compounds like CBD and THC, but what is it exactly?
The ECS is best understood as a network of receptors, neurotransmitters, and other signals in the body. Research suggests that the system developed hundreds of millions of years ago, implying that the ECS is a core to our physiology as mammals.*
When visualizing the ECS, imaging a network of signals throughout the entire body and clustered in certain areas like the brain and vital organs.*
Because this network is so broad and interconnected, it supports many vital functions of the body and mind. The ECS has been associated with everything from appetite and digestion to learning and memory, mood and metabolism, and even skin and nerve function. A balanced ECS also helps us manage stress, get better sleep, and maintain strong immune function.*
Zooming in on the ECS, we see that it comprises two main types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. While CB1 receptors are located mainly throughout the nervous system and brain, CB2 receptors are more scattered across immune cells and vital organs. Both receptor types are key to ECS regulation, and none are more or less important.*
How do hemp products interact with the ECS?
On top of these receptors, the ECS needs cannabinoids to thrive.* Endogenous cannabinoids are created naturally by the body, while phytocannabinoids occur in different plant species (like cannabis) and can be consumed in different ways.
Of course, the only way to get phytocannabinoids into your system is by ingesting them in proper amounts. This often means sublingual absorption of oils or tinctures, eating edibles, smoking cannabis, or using infused topical creams or lotions.
Depending on the method of delivery and the cannabinoids in question, the ECS will respond differently and produce distinct results. CBD-rich products will interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, while THC binds directly with CB1 receptors to produce psychoactive effects. You’ll find that even trace amounts of THC can provide an entourage effect with other cannabinoids and terpenes, so consider a full spectrum product that contains up to 0.3% THC.*
Even with CBD and other minor cannabinoids, you’re helping your ECS stay balanced and working as it should. With a well-supported ECS, users can expect benefits like reduced discomfort and soothing effects, among many others.*
Do topicals and ingestibles work differently?
Topcial and ingestible CBD products differ in terms of delivery method and have subtle differences in how they work. But in general, the effects of the active cannabinoids are similar regardless of how the compounds are delivered to the ECS.*
Several studies have examined the pathways and absorption rates for both ingestible and topicalCBD products. Researchers have found that while sublingual absorption is more efficient for whole-body benefits, topical creams more effectively target certain areas by directly introducing cannabinoids to the skin and underlying tissue.*
Topicals will also work more quickly depending on the quality of the formulations and the presence of other ingredients like menthol, lidocaine, or herbs like arnica. These compounds can provide rapid soothing benefits for the skin.*
So while the cannabinoids may not vary greatly between a tincture, a gummy, or a topical cream, the supporting cast of ingredients might be entirely different and provide targeted effects that make these certain products ideal for certain use cases.
Always look beneath the surface of a CBD product and discover more about the cannabinoid ratios and other ingredients that make it special. This will help you choose the right products for your goals and use them at the perfect time.
And it's not just the cannabinoids that make hemp cream so effective. The product may also contain other natural ingredients, such as essential oils and plant extracts, that have skin-soothing properties. Together, these ingredients create a powerhouse of natural benefits that can be used for essentially endless skin and topical recovery needs, including but not limited to:
Soothing feelings of tension: According to the NIH, CBD has possible anti-inflammatory properties that many users find to be an effective reliever for aches and pains. As inflammation is the root of many skin conditions, hemp topicals may help problem areas and prevent flare-ups.
Moisturization: Dry, flakey skin—no more. Hemp cream also hydrates, moisturizes, and soothes the skin for a soft and smooth complexion. Look for hemp creams with peppermint for an additional cooling effect.
Are hemp creams safe for all skin types?
Most hemp creams are safe for all skin types, featuring safe and natural ingredients that you’ll find in the majority of over-the-counter moisturizers and lotions. Still, it’s important to account for any skin conditions you may have and use common sense when scanning ingredient lists and other variables.
Someone with sensitive skin, for instance, will want to be more discerning when choosing a hemp cream, reading relevant disclaimers and any available customer reviews online. However, most topicalhemp creams do not contain ingredients that will irritate the skin, especially those that use ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil, and essential oils.*
Skincare is never a one-size-fits-all affair, so treat it as an ongoing work in progress and get as much additional information as possible to find the best CBD cream for you. Trusted brands like Sunmed offer full transparency for all our products so that you can find the right fit while accounting for possible healthcare concerns.*
As always, you must balance health benefits with possible side effects and consult your doctor if you’re navigating any skin conditions. Play it safe with the affected area, and remember that everyone can benefit differently from the cannabis plant.
Is it best to use hemp creams every day?
Hemp creams can be used every day, just as you would use CBD oil or other skin care products. Treat your favorite hemp cream like any other moisturizer, or save it for certain moments when you experience acute sensations of discomfort or tension.
Some users find that hemp cream works best on tense muscles, so applying it after a workout might be a good idea. Delayed muscle tension can occur in the days following a vigorous training session, so keep your trusted hemp cream nearby to get the soothing effects you need at any time.*
Keep in mind that hemp creams are most effective when paired with an ingestible hemp extract like a tincture or edible gummy. This leads many users to take an inside-and-out approach to the CBD lifestyle and produce maximum strengthCBDhealth benefits throughout the day.*
On the other hand, you don’t always need a hemp moisturizing cream for every situation. Sometimes a standard skincare routine will do the job, so consider using your valuable hemp creams sparingly or as needed.
Do hemp creams contain THC?
Full spectrum hemp creams can contain up to 0.3% THC, producing an entourage effect by combining the key cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. Alternatively, broad spectrum hemp creams contain negligible amounts of THC, but still offer many of the soothing effects and health benefits.
THC is also slightly less effective when absorbed topically, so even the most potent full spectrum products will not produce psychoactive effects. Still, small amounts of THC can amplify the entourage effect and offer soothing effects on the skin and muscles.*
Sunmed offers full transparency for all our product formulations, including third-party lab-tested certificates of analysis. Always check out the COA before you commit to a product and account for your skin type or conditions in the process.
How to incorporate a hemp skincare routine?
This is the fun part. Cleanse your skin, pat dry, and massage the cream into the desired area. Depending on the product, you should feel the soothing, cooling effects within minutes.
Feel free to keep your cream with you throughout the day for on-the-go recovery, or let it live next to your nightstand or bathroom sink. But trust me—once you feel the alleviating effects of a little hemp cream, it's likely you will want to keep it close by.
There is no real limit on how often you can use your topical cream, but in order to prevent wasted product or adverse effects, keep it to a minimum of 3 times per day. Of course, always read the application guidelines and stay away from your eyes, as well as other sensitive areas.