We often receive questions about whether to apply hemp topically or take it orally. Topical hemp works great for patients with pain or inflammation in a single joint, such as a knee, elbow, or foot. The topical formulations generally do not penetrate deep enough to be used for chronic back pain, although we do have a patient who uses it with heat, and she says it helps dampen the pain. The topical pens seem to work well for headaches if you apply it on your temple. Patients with neuropathy, especially in the feet, use the cream or ointment with some benefit, but we generally recommend to add oral CBD with the topical, so the two can work synergistically. There are transdermal creams that absorb well enough to elicit blood levels similar to that of oral formulations. These transdermal creams are a great choice for people who do not tolerate the oral formulations. One drawback of using the topical formulations is that they tend to be a little more expensive than their oral counterparts.
My personal bias is that hemp is so healthy for a multitude of symptoms. It helps balance out your own endocannabinoid system. It helps balance your immune system which in turn works on chronic inflammation. It is a great antioxidant, neuroprotectant, anxiety reducer, pain reducer, and auto-immune disease modifier. This begs the question, why would you not take it internally? There are so many benefits to taking it internally, that many of our patients plan to use it long term for a continued healthy lifestyle.