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Topical Terminology – What’s The Difference Between CBD Absorption vs. Penetration?

When trying our products for the first time, many new customers are curious about how they work. One of the most common questions we get  is if topical CBD is absorbed through the skin.

If you’re looking for the short answer, then yes, CBD can be absorbed by the skin. However, that doesn’t mean CBD can penetrate the skin layer.

If you’re confused about these two terms, don’t worry! Although we briefly went through this issue in our post on nanotech CBD, we want to dig a little deeper into the topic in this blog post. Hopefully, with a clearer understanding of absorption vs. penetration, you’ll feel more confident applying one of our CBD topicals.

So, Can CBD Penetrate The Skin Barrier?

If you take nothing else from this post, please remember CBD cannot penetrate your skin layer. Any company that claims their CBD topicals can enter your bloodstream is mistaken.

Our skin has remarkably low permeability, which is good news considering all the airborne toxins we’re exposed to daily. Without this low permeability, we probably wouldn’t survive for long, especially in smoggy cities. Because it’s so difficult to get anything past the skin layer, this makes it impossible for CBD topicals to find their way into the bloodstream. 

However, just because CBD can’t enter our bloodstream via our skin, that doesn’t mean topicals are useless. As we noted in our nanotech post, there are loads of cannabinoid receptor sites all over our skin. When a topical CBD product hits our skin layer, it appears these receptors can absorb the CBD molecules. This localized absorption might explain why customers experience relief from back aches or stiff joints after applying our topicals.

CB1 vs. CB2 receptors – Is There A Difference?

To better explain how CBD topicals work, it’s also worth pointing out the differences between CB1 and CB2 receptors. While both of these receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system, they aren’t spread through the body evenly. Most CB1 receptors are in the brain and central nervous system, but our skin only has CB2 receptors. 

Interestingly, CB2 receptors seem to play a central role in alerting our brain to joint or muscle discomfort. Many scientists are interested in activating CB2 receptors to help patients with chronic aches. As more CB2 receptors absorb CBD, it might reduce nerve hyperactivity and promote a sense of relief.   

While there’s still a great deal we don’t know about CB1 vs. CB2 receptors, it’s worth keeping an eye on this research to better understand how CBD topicals work. If you’d like to learn more about the endocannabinoid system, then we encourage you to read through this previous post.   

For Ultimate CBD Absorption, You’ve Got To Go With Bio-Nano™!

Unlike other CBD topicals, all of our salves and rollers are formulated with a proprietary Bio-Nano™ technology. Using the latest advances in nanotechnology, our scientists can shrink CBD molecules to the incredibly small size of 125 nm. For reference, that’s at least 700 times thinner than one strand of hair!

By decreasing CBD’s size to these microscopic levels, it’s far easier for our CBD to absorb deeper into your skin and hit more of the CB2 receptors. This means you only have to apply a small amount of Aspen’s Maximum Relief Salve for powerful results.  

As a bonus, we always use all-natural secondary herbs to enhance the CBD’s remarkable effects. For instance, our Aspen’s Maximum Relief Roll-On has traces of Boswellia Serrata, menthol, and peppermint oil. For more information on this convenient roll-on product, be sure to check it out in our shop.


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