CBD Oils vs. Topicals Creams: What’s the Difference?

CBD Oils vs. Topicals Creams: What’s the Difference?

Jun 9, 2020

A jar of Kanavia’s salve form of CBD next to eucalyptus leaves

The CBD industry has been flourishing in the past few years since the  2018 Farm Bill opened up the way for hemp products to be grown, made, and marketed throughout the United States. Among the many forms of CBD that are now on offer, oral CBD and topical CBD are two of the largest categories. Read on to learn more about CBD oil vs cream and when you might benefit from each of these products.

What is CBD?

Before we take a look at CBD oil vs cream, let’s clarify what CBD is and how this compound is made into products. Firstly, CBD or cannabidiol is one of more than 100 known cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa that contributes to the plant’s physical and psychological effects.

In contrast to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive and offers therapeutic benefits without getting you “high.” Its benefits are constantly being confirmed by research, with some of its most well-known properties including:

Furthermore, when applied topically, CBD has been found to provide significant relief for the following conditions:

With such an impressive list of therapeutic actions, it’s no wonder that the various forms of CBD have become so popular. In fact, the U.S. CBD industry grossed  $5 billion in 2019 alone! Let’s take a look at the main types of CBD products available online and the pros and cons of CBD oil vs cream.

CBD in the form of a container of Kanavia Premium CBD Salve for Pain

CBD Oil vs Cream: How Our CBD Products Are Made

The organic CBD that we use in our products at Kanavia is the same whether you purchase an oral CBD product or a topical one: A broad-spectrum, phytocannabinoid-rich,  natural CBD oil extracted from our medicinal-grade organic hemp. After growing our hemp on American soil, we extract the oil through a proprietary process that retains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and sterols without any THC or toxic residues.

Taking the hemp oil, we then mix it with a carrier oil to create our oral CBD drops or combine it with other nourishing skincare ingredients to create  CBD muscle balms and CBD face masks. The presence of healthy fats and oils in all of our products help the CBD to be readily absorbed by the body.

Two hands rub in a lotion form of CBD

CBD Oil vs Cream: How They’re Absorbed

When you compare products like CBD oils and CBD gummies, you’re talking about a similar kind of systemic absorption — even though the oils hit your bloodstream first. In contrast, comparing CBD oil vs cream forces us to look at two very different routes of administration with effects that are wonderfully complementary.


When you take CBD oil sublingually (by placing a dropperful of CBD oil under your tongue), the active ingredients pass quickly through the capillaries and salivary glands to the bloodstream where they eventually affect your entire body. Some users report feeling calmer and having reduced sensations of bodily aches within an hour of taking sublingual CBD.

CBD Topicals

CBD that is applied topically, on the other hand, is absorbed into the surrounding skin, fat, and tissues in the area where it was applied. Compared to CBD oil, it has a much quicker and more localized effect. For people suffering from an itch, joint pain, or inflammatory skin condition, CBD cream provides relief where it’s needed most.

Studies have also shown that CBD is a potent antioxidant — working to encourage collagen production for improved elasticity and protecting the skin against free radical damage from UV rays and environmental pollution. This has made CBD popular in the anti-aging industry, although more studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness.

An oil form of CBD sits on a white, porcelain tray

Choosing Between CBD Oil vs CBD Cream

For people who suffer from chronic pain, both forms of CBD (oral and topical) can go hand-in-hand to provide general as well as targeted relief. However, for people taking CBD for other reasons, the choice isn’t always as clear-cut.

In general, we would recommend trying sublingual  CBD oil if you suffer from stress, anxiety, or need some help to wind down for a good night’s sleep. For athletes, dancers, or people suffering from a topical skin condition, CBD cream can be much more effective for giving localized relief.

CBD Oil vs CBD Cream: Other Considerations

Apart from the zone of therapeutic activity, another important factor to take into account is that oral CBD can interact with other oral herbs and drugs whereas topical CBD cannot. This is a particular concern for anyone who takes blood thinners or any medication with a “grapefruit warning.”

The reason that grapefruit can sometimes be a problem is that it keeps other medications in your system for longer — leading to a potential overdose. CBD has some similar effects to grapefruit on medications in the body, so you’ll need to talk to your doctor about whether you can combine your drugs with CBD and how much of each to take.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Another reason you might want to go for topical forms of CBD is if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. While we don’t know for sure whether CBD poses risks to babies, many mothers and physicians prefer to stay on the safe side and stick to topical CBD until multiple clinical studies prove oral CBD to be safe during pregnancy.

Discover the CBD Oils and Creams at Kanavia Organics

At  Kanavia Organics, we go to great lengths to make all-natural CBD oils, capsules, topicals, and edibles that are rich in natural terpenes and cannabinoids and are 100% THC free. Testing has shown that our proprietary nanoemulsion technology makes our products up to six times more bioavailable than similar products made by our competitors — giving you more value for your money and better results!

To receive personalized guidance regarding CBD oil vs cream, please  contact a Kanavia healthcare provider. Our founder has 25 years of clinical experience and can help you find the perfect product. All of our products come with free ground shipping to the USA and a free CBD face mask to help you relax and refresh.