Can You Use Too Much Topical CBD? – How to Apply Properly

The temptation to put on that extra layer of CBD cream may be strong, especially if you’re dealing with chronic pain, but what are the potential consequences?

It’s not really possible to overdose on CBD, so you don’t have to worry about overdosing on CBD topicals either, especially because CBD topicals do not enter the bloodstream. It’s difficult, then, to use “too much” topical CBD, but using more than normal may make side effects more likely.

In addition to increasing the likelihood of problems, using a lot of topical CBD can lead to product waste. If it’s not actually making a difference in terms of the pain levels you experience, applying extra topical CBD isn’t really the best decision. Knowing these tips and more, discussed in more detail below, can help you maximize the potential benefits of your products and save your hard-earned money.

Can You Overdose On Topical CBD?

You can’t overdose on topical CBD products because you can’t really overdose on CBD itself. CBD is a non-addictive, non-habit-forming substance that causes minimal side effects, and even copious amounts of it are unlikely to cause much more than some discomfort.

Even if CBD was potentially toxic, it’d be very hard to consume enough of it to actually take “too much,” or overwhelm the body. 

Taking an entire bottle of CBD oil at once, for instance, may be too much, but considering how many individual doses are in each product, consuming this much is unrealistic and actually quite challenging.

There is no exact set amount of CBD that’s considered an overdose, mostly because too much CBD doesn’t cause serious health concerns or fatality. Additionally, how much is too much depends on the individual, product type, and a user’s experience with CBD.

Topical CBD is even more unlikely to cause negative side effects than other CBD products because it does not enter the bloodstream. Instead, it does its job by binding to endocannabinoid receptors on the skin, thus limiting its exposure to only the surface of the body.

What Are the Side Effects of CBD Cream?

The side effects of CBD cream can look quite different than side effects from other types of CBD, mostly because topical CBD (including creams) doesn’t interact with your body in the same way.

CBD cream doesn’t enter the bloodstream in the way CBD oil, tinctures, or inhalants do. When you smoke CBD flower, for instance, CBD is rapidly absorbed into the blood via the lungs.

CBD cream doesn’t need to actually go into the body to do its job, though, much like a numbing topical anesthetic. As a result, the side effects you might experience from using it are likely to be related to the skin itself, not bodily processes.

Using CBD cream may result in minor side effects that generally resolve on their own, such as:

  • Skin irritation
  • Dryness
  • Itchiness

These symptoms may actually be the result of other additives in your cream, not CBD itself. If you do notice side effects after using CBD cream, don’t ignore them; if they persist, it might be wise to try out a different topical or swap to a different product type altogether.

Jar of lime green CBD cream with a hemp leaf laying on top and the lid laying on the ground to the right.

How To Effectively Use CBD Cream

To maximize the benefits of your CBD cream, it’s best to:

  • Apply the product to dry, clean skin
  • Apply only an appropriate amount of the product (not too little or too much)
  • Ensure the product is evenly distributed and worked into the skin
  • Target areas that are the root of the pain/discomfort you’re looking to relieve
  • Re-apply regularly; every 4-6 hours is a good estimate, but the exact time frame you’ll want to follow depends on you and your product.

Being wise about when and how you use your CBD topicals can help you make the most of them. These products are really ideal for spot-treatment and targeting specific, painful areas on the body, so if that’s not your goal, you may want to try something else.

Be sure to take a look at the packaging that accompanies your product, too, as it’s likely to contain important information about dosage and use instructions.

How Much Topical CBD is Effective?

Depending on the size of the area you’re looking to treat, a dime- to quarter-sized amount of CBD cream may be enough. If you’re working with a part of your body that’s larger, though, you may need much more to cover the entire surface of your skin.

You want to be sure that you’ve thoroughly coated the area in question, but it’s not necessary to apply multiple layers of your topical. In fact, applying too much is likely to do more harm than good; it won’t necessarily produce stronger effects, but it will waste your product and money.

When in doubt, start small and work your way up. It’s also a good idea to double check your product information to see if there are any dosage guides provided.

How Long Do the Effects of Topical CBD Last?

The effects of most topical CBD products generally last from about 2-6 hours, but the stronger they are, the more likely they are to be long-lasting.

If you take the time to apply your CBD topical carefully and thoughtfully, you can likely extend the timeframe in which your product is working its hardest.

When you begin to feel the effects of your CBD topical wearing off (if pain begins to creep back up, for example), it’s likely time to apply another dose. 

Because topical use is so individual, it’s hard to put an exact number on how long you can expect to reap the benefits of your product. Take some time to figure out what works best for you if you’d like to regularly use CBD topicals for pain-management.

How Often Should You Apply CBD Cream?

Most individuals find that reapplying CBD cream or topicals every few hours or so–that is, every 2-4 hours–is a good rule of thumb, especially if you’re looking to avoid periods of time between doses where symptoms return.

There really isn’t much harm to reapplying more frequently than you need to (other than wasting what is often a slightly pricey product, of course), but it’s still wise to test the waters when introducing a new product into your routine, especially if you’re not a seasoned CBD user.

Takeaway: Too Much? Probably Not

It’s possible to have too much of just about any good thing, but CBD is a bit of an exception to this rule. Taking “too much” CBD of any kind won’t threaten your life or safety, so it’s relatively safe to experiment with higher-than-average doses.

CBD topicals in particular are even less likely to cause adverse effects than their counterparts; because they don’t enter the bloodstream, they’re not able to interfere with bodily processes and organs.

So, what happens if you slather on an excessive amount of CBD cream? Probably very little, other than creating a feeling of frustration and disappointment for yourself; applying extra product on top of what’s actually effective won’t deliver a significantly different experience.

CBD topicals are great choices for managing local, specific pain or inflammation, or for just boosting the overall health and vibrance of your skin. 

If you do choose to use them for either purpose, be sure that your expectations match the actual potential of these products. Otherwise, you may find yourself underwhelmed by the effects of your topical or have a hard time understanding how to use it appropriately. 

CBD topicals come in all sorts of forms, not just CBD cream, so it’s certainly worthwhile to take some time to explore all the market has to offer. We’ve made doing so easy for you with our directory, which contains product information, reviews, recommendations, and anything else you might need to make a sound and financially-wise decision.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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