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

cbd creams salves
Written by Sophie Smith
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With medicinal use of CBD on the rise, we’re seeing a big expansion in ways to effectively utilize this natural remedy.

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 salves creams

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.

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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 salves creams

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.

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

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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