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Healthline has sole editorial control over this article. Potential uses for the products listed here are not health claims made by the manufacturers. The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. It’s not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a healthcare professional. Healthline encourages you to make any treatment decisions with your healthcare professional.

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 spray products really work as well as CBD oils? Read on to find out and learn how to find a quality spray.

CBD sprays come in a few different types:

  • Oral sprays. These are sprayed into the mouth for absorption through the mucous membranes and a full-body effect. These products tend to be flavored and they’re both easy and discreet to use.
  • Topical sprays. They’re designed to mist directly onto the skin for a localized effect. They may be combined with ingredients, like arnica, for an extra boost of anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Nasal sprays. These use a specific nozzle for administration through the nostrils. This type of CBD spray is less common than oral and topical sprays.

The right method of application will depend on the spray itself. But keep in mind that CBD sprays, particularly nasal versions, 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, oral, and nasal sprays are still limited, and many looked at products containing both CBD and THC. That makes it hard to say for sure whether a spray containing only CBD would work just as well.

It’s also important to note that available studies look at the effects of oral CBD sprays specifically.

In a study from 2014 researchers 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 oral spray was effective in reducing neuropathic pain.

An earlier study from 2010 revealed 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 the 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 review published in 2018 about cannabinoid delivery systems for pain and inflammation notes that both nasal and oral transmucosal delivery deliver CBD directly into the blood, making them more efficient than products designed to be swallowed and digested.

Pros

  • discreet and easy application
  • higher bioavailability when used sublingually under the tongue or through the nose, compared with ingested CBD products
  • available in different flavors and strengths

Cons

  • harder to find than CBD oils or gummies
  • dosing is imprecise compared to other methods of consumption

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

Plus, both oral and nasal sprays are quick, convenient application methods. If you’re using an oral spray, keep in mind that you’ll need to 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. It’s also an option if you want something discreet and easy to use. The same is true of nasal CBD sprays, but they aren’t as common as other spray forms. Some people don’t like the sensation of nasal administration, so that’s also worth keeping in mind.

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 or nasally. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before use.

It’s important to follow directions to use a CBD nasal spray properly. In most cases, however, you’ll insert the nozzle into one nostril, gently press the side of the nose to close the opposite nostril and push down on the nozzle to administer the spray.

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. For the fastest uptake, hold the product beneath the tongue or against the tongue instead of swallowing right away.

The package directions should also include a recommended dosage. 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 or on the mucous membranes of the nasal passage to reduce pain, relieve anxiety, or promote sleep.

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

If you’re using both products sublingually, the key difference is the method of application. Sublingual administration delivers CBD directly to the bloodstream through mucous membranes, whether it’s an oil you’ve dropped beneath your tongue or a spray you’ve spritzed there.

However, if you spray CBD into your mouth and swallow it immediately, the CBD must be processed via the digestive system and takes longer. Your body may also not use as much, as some of it can be metabolized in your stomach before it gets to your bloodstream.

Nasal sprays also work rapidly through mucous membranes, while topical CBD sprays work via transdermal administration. That means the CBD is absorbed into the blood through the skin and skips the digestive process.

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 oil. If you prefer a product that you can add to food and drinks, CBD oil is a better choice.

Rapid onset of effects may also be important to you. In that case, transdermal, nasal, and oral transmucosal delivery is your best bet. That means shopping for a topical, nasal, or oral CBD spray.

How much does CBD spray cost?

Just like CBD products in general, there’s no single pricing system for topical, nasal, and oral CBD sprays. Costs for CBD sprays vary depending on the type of CBD in the product, its potency, the product size, and the company.

Does topical CBD spray help your skin?

It might. CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits, so it might be beneficial if you have a skin condition like eczema, acne, or psoriasis.

One study found that CBD could help reduce excess sebum, which has been linked to acne. A study from 2019 found that CBD can help treat dryness and itching, which is helpful if you have eczema or psoriasis.

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.