CBD Topical Vs CBD Vapes – What Are The Differences?

If you are thinking about starting CBD use, you have a multitude of options from which you can choose the product that you find best. CBD choice is influenced by the method of administration, potency as well as the medical condition that one is treating. Two of the most popular type of CBD products are CBD topical and CBD vapes.

In this session, we are making a comparison between CBD topical and CBD vapes.

Property CBD Topical CBD Vapes
Product types CBD salve, CBD cream, CBD lotion, etc CBD e-liquid
Administering method External application on skin Vaporizing
Duration of effects More Less
Time taken for effects More Quick effects
Discreetness More Less discreet


CBD topicals are meant for external use and are made by adding CBD extract to topical like creams, lotions, salves, etc. On the other hand, CBD vapes are made using CBD isolate with a minimal number of ingredients added to them.

Product Types    

Multiple products come under the category of CBD topical and CBD vapes. Some of the commonly used CBD topicals include CBD cream, lotion, salves, etc. The water content in the products is what differentiates them. CBD salves completely lack water content as they are made by adding CBD extract to carrier oils like coconut oil and emulsifier like beeswax. Zero water content of CBD salves helps increase the shelf life of CBD salves. CBD creams and CBD lotions are water-based topicals.

The most commonly used CBD vape product is CBD vape oil, which is referred to as CBD e-liquid that is specifically designed for vaping. Sublingual CBD oils cannot be used for vaping due to their thick consistency making their addition to vape devices difficult. CBD e-liquids are made by using ingredients like Polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, etc.

Administering Method  

As CBD topicals are designed for exclusive external use, they are applied on the skin surface. In the vaping method, CBD oils are heated up to produce vapors thereby producing vapors that are inhaled. To use vape products, special vaping instruments like vaporizers are required.

Time Taken For The Effect

The potency of the CBD product, as well as the method of intake, decides the time taken for CBD to kick in. It takes some time before the CBD in topicals penetrate the skin layers and produce the desired results whereas vapes produce an immediate effect. It doesn’t take more than 10 minutes for CBD to kick in when you use CBD vapes because the vapors are directly introduced into the lungs that have appreciable permeability, enabling the easy entry of CBD into the bloodstream.

Duration Of The Effects

There is no denying that CBD vapes produce faster effects than CBD topical but the effects do not last long when you vape in CBD. When you use CBD vape, the CBD in it enters your body immediately but it leaves the system faster, indicating that you may need to use CBD vapes multiple times a day to get relief throughout the day.

Although CBD topical takes more time to produce the desired effect in the body, the effects last longer when compared to that of CBD vapes. The longer-lasting effects of CBD topicals indicate that the users need to apply it only once or twice a day.

Equipment Required

Special vaping devices like CBD-e-cigs that contain pre-filled hemp-infused e-liquid, CBD vaporizer kit that comes with an empty cartridge, which can be filled with CBD-infused vape juice, etc are required to use CBD vapes.

CBD topicals are similar to common topicals that you are familiar with, and their application does not require special equipment. All you have to do is apply the topical on the affected area and rub it onto the skin gently.


The discreetness of a CBD product is determined by the method of intake. Because CBD topicals are used externally like common skincare topicals, the option has appreciable discreetness.

Vape devices, on the other hand, require a special vaping device that lessens the discreetness of the option.


Vaping is a highly convenient way that suits people who require a controlled way of dosing because you can get smaller doses by taking smaller hits and larger doses by taking larger hits. Vape oil bottles correctly mention the amount of CBD that is contained in the bottle.

Dosing of CBD topicals is not as easy as that of CBD vapes and a general recommendation is to take a fingertip full of CBD topical and apply it to the affected area.


The amount of CBD that reaches the bloodstream when you use a CBD product is termed as its bioavailability. Vaping is the administering method that has the highest bioavailability. When we use CBD topical, the CBD content in it does not enter the bloodstream directly. The bioavailability of vaping is about 56%, indicating that 56% of CBD in the dosage reaches our bloodstream when we use it. However, this is low for CBD topical and ranges around 40%.

If you are a new CBD user, Analyze multiple factors like your medical condition, lifestyle, etc before you make the CBD choice.