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Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in the cannabis plant that’s making its appearance in an incredible array of products. That’s because, beyond its therapeutic benefits, CBD won’t cause the “high” associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

If you’re interested in trying CBD, you might consider a CBD spray. But do these products really work as well as an oil? Read on to find out, and learn how to find a quality spray.

CBD sprays can be used in a few different ways. Some are designed to mist directly onto the skin. Some are sprayed into the mouth for oral intake.

The right method of application will depend on the spray itself. But keep in mind that CBD sprays aren’t as popular as other forms of CBD, like gummies or oils, so they can be harder to find.

There’s anecdotal evidence that CBD sprays can offer effective topical relief. But clinical studies on topical and oral sprays are still limited.

Many of the studies on sprays looked at products made with both CBD and THC, so it’s hard to say for sure whether a spray containing only CBD would work just as well.

A study from 2014 found that Sativex, a prescription oral CBD and THC spray used in Canada and some parts of Europe, was both safe and effective in people with multiple sclerosis.

Other research from 2014 found that a CBD and THC spray was effective in reducing neuropathic pain.

An earlier study from 2010 found that a CBD and THC oral spray reduced nausea relating to chemotherapy in people with cancer.

There’s evidence to suggest CBD in general can help decrease pain, reduce anxiety, and improve quality of sleep.

Like CBD oils, CBD sprays that are used sublingually, or beneath the tongue, also have a higher bioavailability than CBD products that are ingested. That means the amount of CBD your body absorbs is greater with a sublingual product than one you eat.

A CBD spray designed for oral use is pretty similar to a CBD oil in terms of effects.

Plus, a spray is a quick, convenient application method. You can spray the product directly beneath your tongue or onto the inside of the cheek for the most rapid effects.

That may be easier than trying to hold a CBD oil beneath your tongue for the recommended amount of time.

CBD sprays can also be a versatile product. They’re often combined with other ingredients for specific benefits, like melatonin for sleep or botanicals to calm the skin.

However, keep in mind that not much is known about how CBD interacts with supplements or vitamins. It may be best to opt for CBD-only products.

If you’re looking for specific benefits from an oral or topical CBD product, a spray might be a good choice. They’re also an option if you want something discreet and easy to use.

However, if you want more options or something that you can dose more precisely, opt for a gummy or oil.

Purchasing CBD products isn’t like shopping for other over-the-counter wellness products. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate CBD in the same way as drugs or supplements, it’s important to do your homework before making a purchase.

The safest CBD products will come with current, comprehensive certificates of analysis (COAs) from reputable third-party labs. You should be able to find them online easily, or the company should have no problem providing them upon request.

Note that making a purchase shouldn’t be the only way you can get access to a product’s COA.

Make a habit of reading the COA prior to making a purchase. This way, you can confirm details, like potency, the cannabinoid profile (or how much CBD and THC a product has), and if there’s any evidence of contaminants, like heavy metals, molds, or pesticide residue.

Look for a company that’s upfront about where it sources hemp, the cultivation processes, ingredients, and product potency. You can also check a company’s reputation by looking for FDA warning letters and lawsuits.

Finally, take a look at customer reviews. If you see bad reviews, pay attention to the complaints shared. It could be a sign to steer clear of a particular brand.

Some CBD sprays are designed to be used topically, while others are meant to be used orally. Be sure to read the manufacturer instructions before use.

Generally, you’ll spray a topical spray directly onto the affected area, being sure to avoid broken skin and mucus membranes. In most cases, you won’t need to rub them in. Oral CBD sprays are sprayed into the mouth.

The package directions should also include a recommended dosage, and it’s always wise to start with the lowest dose, so you can gauge your body’s response.

Our CBD dosage guide is a good reference point if you’re new to CBD.

While CBD is generally considered safe and may help various conditions, there’s research that suggests some people may experience side effects. These can include:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight

If you’re using a topical CBD spray, try a small test patch first to see how your body responds. You should also avoid using it on broken skin to avoid irritation.

Before trying any CBD products, speak with your doctor first. That’s particularly wise if you’re currently taking any medications, as there can be interactions.

What do CBD sprays do?

Some CBD sprays are used topically to relieve pain and inflammation at specific points on the body or for certain skin care benefits.

Other sprays are used sublingually to reduce pain, relieve anxiety, or promote sleep.

What’s the difference between CBD oil and CBD spray?

The key difference is the method of application. The effects are largely the same.

Is CBD oil better than CBD spray?

It’s largely personal preference.

If you want a CBD product that’s discreet and tidy to use, a spray may be a better option than an oil. If you prefer a product that you can add to food and drinks, a CBD oil is a better choice.

A CBD spray may be a great way to experiment with CBD products that are both convenient and effective. Just remember to research your options first.

Look for a product from a reputable brand that tests its products for potency and contaminants.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.


Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.