^ ^
Try CBD Risk-Free with our 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Shop Now
30% Off Sitewide! Coupon Code: JUNE30
Shop Now
30% Off Sitewide! Coupon Code: 30FORALL
Shop Now

CBD Oil VS CBD Cream: What's the Difference?

Written By Ellese Symons Dec 29th 2023
Table Of Contents
Related Products

The cannabinoid-rich oil extracted from hemp flowers is used as an ingredient in an impressive number of CBD-infused health and wellness products. Despite the number of skeptics assuming the "CBD craze" would diminish over time, CBD users continue to recommend their favorite products to family and friends. The demand is so strong that market analysts predict that 35% of US adults will be CBD users by 2024 (Julia, 2023). 

Based on the feedback of nearly 2000 survey respondents, most CBD users report positive results using hemp-derived products for relaxation, better sleep, mild or temporary anxiety, and pain, stiffness, and inflammation after physical activity. Some prefer taking CBD oil orally, while others feel they get the best results applying CBD topically. Once you know how CBD oil and CBD creams compare, it's much easier to decide which popular option is right for you. 

Understanding the Basics of CBD: What It Is & How It Works 

CBD (cannabidiol) is an active plant element classified as a cannabinoid. There are two potential sources, hemp and marijuana. Since the oil extracted from marijuana also contains high concentrations of THC, hemp-derived products are ideal for anyone looking for a CBD experience with minimal risk of intoxication.  

Decades of research show that CBD and other plant-derived cannabinoids interact with multiple molecular targets throughout the body and brain, including the endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors, the largest regulatory system in your body (Lingresti et al., 2016). Cannabis researchers believe supporting ECS function with CBD helps promote homeostasis (Sallaberry & Astern, 2018). 

Recognizing the Risk of Possible Side Effects  

CBD is generally well-tolerated and considered safe for most people. In a 2020 publication by the World Health Organization, the agency reported "no evidence of public health-related problems" with daily use (WHO, 2020). However, some people find that oral administration can cause fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, or changes in appetite (Bergamaschi et al., 2011). The cannabinoid can also interact with several medications. 

Although topical application further minimizes the risk of developing potentially uncomfortable symptoms, you may need to consider how the products are made. If you're sensitive (or allergic) to any of their ingredients, you could end up with any number of unpleasant skin reactions, including itching, burning, redness, or other signs of irritation. For any questions or concerns, consult your healthcare provider or dermatologist. 

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing CBD Oil or CBD Cream  

Finding CBD oil and creams is easy. Hemp-derived products are available just about everywhere. But you may want to resist purchasing the first item that grabs your attention unless you have enough product information to know what you're getting. Purity, potency, and overall product quality can vary by brand. The best products are made with plant extracts sourced from non-GMO, naturally cultivated hemp. Why is that so important?   

Hemp plants draw heavy metals and other potentially harmful substances from the soil, contaminants that could easily taint anything made with their extracts. But natural farming alone is no guarantee of product quality. There are several other factors you'll want to consider before you buy.   

Extraction Methods  

Some CBD oil extraction methods leave residue behind. To ensure you're not ingesting potentially harmful solvent residues or applying them to your skin, stick with brands that rely on food-safe CO2 or ethanol extraction. CO2 extraction is best for products made with CBD oil; ethanol is ideal for obtaining pure CBD isolate powder. 

Third-Party Testing  

The best CBD manufacturers rely on third-party batch testing to confirm the purity and potency of their products. Although 75% of CBD brands claim their products are third-party tested, only about 13% batch test at least 90% (Harrington, 2021). You can protect yourself from any misleading claims by sticking with transparent brands that provide a Certificate of Analysis from a reputable lab. 

Extract Type  

There are three main types of hemp extract: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. Full spectrum hemp extract contains each element produced in the plant, including a small amount of THC. Broad spectrum has many of the same cannabinoids and terpenes, but the THC is reduced to non-detectable levels. Pure CBD isolate is a flavorless, odorless, 0% THC cannabidiol powder. 

Cannabidiol Concentrations  

Avoid investing in any CBD product if you see vague descriptions like "high-potency" or "extra-strength" if the manufacturer does not also specify how much CBD their products contain. You should see an amount printed on the label that indicates the total amount of CBD in each bottle or jar, a number specified in milligrams. The higher the CBD concentration, the less you'll need per serving. 

An Overview of CBD Oil  

The product so many people know as "CBD oil" is a tincture made with a blend of hemp extract and an edible carrier oil. The carrier oil is used to improve cannabinoid bioavailability. Although many people use their tinctures to add CBD to foods, drinks, or their favorite recipes, it can take an hour or more for the CBD to enter the bloodstream. A portion of each serving is lost to digestive processes. 

CBD users who want a faster way to experience the cannabinoid's impressive list of potential benefits tend to prefer using their tincture sublingually. They hold the oil beneath their tongue for 45-60 seconds before swallowing (Ramalho et al., 2020).  

An Overview of CBD Cream  

The product often called "CBD cream" is made for external use. Some CBD creams are made with a blend of plant oils and additional extracts selected to complement the cannabinoids reported influence on skin health and appearance; others are enhanced with a range of ingredients that help maximize their many potential benefits for distressed skin. 

The base used to deliver the cannabinoid determines if the product is best described as a cream, lotion, salve, or balm. Salves and balms are generally thicker and firmer than CBD creams because they're made with a base of fatty acids and wax. CBD creams tend to seal in moisture better than lotions because they contain less water. Many CBD users report long-lasting results and relief that begins in as little as 10 minutes. You can apply most CBD topicals as needed to clean, dry skin. 

Recommended CBDistillery® Products: Choosing the Best Option for Your Needs 

With so many ways to appreciate CBD's health and wellness potential, there's no single product that suits all CBD users equally. But there's also no reason to settle. Whether you're leaning towards trying the targeted effect of a CBD cream, have the most to gain from system-wide ECS support, or are looking for a second product to complement the effect of another, consider browsing the selection of high-quality, fairly priced products you'll find at CBDistillery®. 

When you choose CBDistillery® CBD products, you can shop with confidence. Our hemp extract is sourced from non-GMO, naturally farmed crops. We rely on the cleanest extraction methods available, and our products are third-party tested, quality assured, and backed by a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. Now that you know a few of the many reasons so many CBD users choose CBDistillery® CBD oil and creams, consider browsing the following product descriptions to find the best option for your needs. 

CBDistillery® Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tinctures  

Full spectrum CBD oil is considered the most potent of the three main types because of the way the combined effects of the many additional cannabinoids and terpenes amplify the contributions of each plant component, producing an "entourage effect" (Nahler et al., 2019). CBDistillery® Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tinctures are available in concentrations ranging from 500mg to 5000mg per 30ml bottle. 

CBDistillery® Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Tinctures  

Broad Spectrum CBD oilshave a similar cannabinoid and terpene profile, but their THC is reduced to less than .01%. While they have the cannabinoids and terpenes required for an entourage effect, some (not all) CBD users feel the lack of THC diminishes the impact (Wilkins, 2022). CBDistillery® Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Tinctures are available with 500mg, 1000mg, or 2500mg of CBD per bottle. 

CBDistillery® CBD Isolate Tinctures  

CBD isolate is a pure, potent, highly refined powder.While you won't get the additional components needed for an entourage effect, investigators specified that the data collected for the studies referenced in their 2020 report reflected the positive effects of the "pure form" of CBD (Larsen & Shahinas, 2020). CBDistillery® THC-Free Pure CBD Oil Tinctures are available with 500mg, 1000mg, or 2500mg of CBD.  

CBDistillery® Full Spectrum CBDol® Topical Salve 

When the effects of a strenuous workout or any other physical activity leaves you feeling stiff or sore, consider applying CBDistillery® CBDol® Topical CBD Salve. Each jar gives you 500 mg of full-spectrum CBD and the complementary effects of ingredients selected by our expert botanists. As the eucalyptus and wintergreen help ease your discomfort, the shea butter and coconut oil seal in moisture. 

CBDistillery® THC-Free Relief Sticks & Lotions  

If you object to the aroma of hemp, consider applying a CBDistillery® 500mg or 1000mg Isolate CBD Relief Stick. They're mentholated and ideal for on-the-go relief. Our non-greasy 500mg Isolate CBD Cooling Cream is also infused with soothing menthol, while our 500mg Isolate Warming Cream could be your best bet for easing muscle tension before, during, or after a strenuous workout. 

Visit CBDistillery® to Learn More About Our Selection of CBD Oils and Topical Creams  

There are numerous ways to experience the health and wellness potential of hemp-derived CBD. You can choose between CBD oils and topicals or use them together. At CBDistillery®, you'll find an impressive selection of CBD-infused products made with the oil extracted from our non-GMO, naturally farmed crops. If you're impressed with what you've learned so far but still not sure where to start, consider taking our 3-minute CBD Product Quiz or scheduling a personal consultation. Our plant-powered wellness products are rigorously tested, quality assured, and made with 100% clean ingredients. 


Bergamaschi M, Mateus R, et al. (2011) Safety and Side Effect of Cannabidiol, a Cannabis Sativa Constituent. 6(4) Curr Drug Saf 237-49. https://doi.org/10.2174/157488611798280924 

Harrington A. (2021) 25% of CBD Products Are Not Tested for Purity. Forbes. 

Julia N. (2023) CBD Statistics: Usage Data & Demographics (2023 Update). CFAH 

Larson C, Jorida S. (2020) Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials. 12(3) J Clin Med Res 129-41. 

Lingresti A, De Petrocellis L, et al. (2016) From Phytocannabinoid Receptors and Endocannabinoids: Pleiotropic Physiological and Pathological Roles Through Complex Pharmacology. 96(4) Physiol Rev 1593-659. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27630175/ 

Nahler, G, Jones T, et al. (2019) Cannabidiol and Contributions of Major Hemp Phytocompounds to the "Entourage Effect"; Possible Mechanisms. J Altern Complement Integr Med 70(5) PDF download 

Ramalho I, Pereira D, et al. (2021) Current Trends on Cannabidiol Delivery Systems: Where Are We and Where Are We Going? 14(8) Pharmaceutics 1533. https://doi.org/10.1080/17425247.2021.1952978 (PDF) 

Sallaberry C, Astern L. (2018) The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator. 34(6) JYI 48-55. https://www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator 

Wilkins T. (2022) What Is the Entourage Effect? How This Enhances CBD Effects. Marijuana Takers.  

World Health Organization. (2020) Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. PDF https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/controlled-substances/whocbdreportmay2018-2.pdf?sfvrsn=f78db177_2