With pure, full spectrum, and broad-spectrum CBD products out there, we have been asked quite frequently, Can the cannabinoids found in full spectrum penetrate the bloodstream? Since full spectrum contains all of the cannabinoids found on hemp plants such as THC, we thought that this was a very valid question. So, we would like to take the time to discuss the layers of the skin, what they do, as well as discuss the absorption of CBD when applied topically; whether through the use of oils, lotions, creams, salves, etc.

Right off the bat let’s get it out of the way and say that when CBD is applied topically via CBD oils, lotions, creams, or salves, it will never reach the bloodstream. This is because your skin is made up of three layers. Let’s take a look at those layers and what they do.

Epidermis – The epidermis is the outermost of the three layers that make up the skin. The epidermis layer provides a barrier to infection from environmental pathogens and regulates the amount of water released from the body into the atmosphere through trans epidermal water loss.

Dermis – The dermis is a layer of skin between the epidermis and the hypodermis, that primarily consists of dense irregular connective tissue and cushions the body from stress and strain. It is divided into two layers, the superficial area adjacent to the epidermis called the papillary region and a deep thicker area known as the reticular dermis. The dermis is tightly connected to the epidermis through a basement membrane. Structural components of the dermis are collagen, elastic fibers, and extrafibrillar matrix. It also contains mechanoreceptors that provide the sense of touch and thermoreceptors that provide the sense of heat. In addition, the dermis contains hair follicles, sweat glands, sebaceous glands (oil glands), apocrine glands, lymphatic vessels, nerves and blood vessels. These blood vessels are what provide nourishment and waste removal for both dermal and epidermal cells.

Hypodermis – The hypodermis is the lowermost layer of the integumentary system in humans. The types of cells found in the hypodermis are fibroblasts, adipose cells, and macrophages. The hypodermis is used mainly for fat storage.

When using CBD topically, you get targeted relief to a specific area. With that said, the skin absorbs CBD so that it can interact with cannabinoid receptors nearby to help aid in pain, and relief. Generally, human skin is not very permeable, meaning the epidermis blocks the majority of substances to prevent them from entering the body.

A very important thing to note is that our skin does not absorb cannabinoids very well, as absorption rates are very low. This is why, for topical CBD products to work, you will usually have to apply them very generously, and thick enough to break this barrier. If you are liberal enough in your application, the pores on your skin will absorb CBD to affect targeted healing, hence why we use nono-emulsification for all of our CBD products. Nano-emulsification breaks all of the compounds down into much smaller particles using sound, which makes these compounds easier to be absorbed by the body, allowing for better relief.

The only topical CBD products able to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream are transdermal CBD patches. Transdermal, by its very definition, means able to cross the dermal barrier (dermis layer) to reach the blood.

So, while you are on the search for a CBD topical to help with pain and , you can rest assured that topical products will not penetrate deep enough to enter your blood stream. For those who prefer the added benefit of full spectrum CBD products, this means no need to worry about those cannabinoids such as THC causing a negative drug screen.

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Read our previous blog: I Tried CBD, But it Didn’t Work by clicking here.