Do CBD Patches Work?

Do CBD Patches Work?
CBD patches are part of the wide range of CBD products now available on high-street shelves and online shops. Just like nicotine patches, you stick them onto your skin. From there, CBD is slowly absorbed into the body.

But how well do CBD patches work compared to other CBD products? This article will answer that—and more.

What do CBD patches do?

Generally speaking, patches work by entering our body’s bloodstream through the skin. So-called transdermal patches allow their active medication to go through the outer layers of skin (the skin capillaries), then the deeper layers and ultimately reach the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the substance flows around the body.

In the case of CBD patches, once applied to the skin, the CBD slowly moves from the patch to the skin. The process is based on the concept of concentration gradient: the CBD inside the patch—where concentration is high—will try to move to the skin, where there is no CBD. The body’s natural heat facilitates this diffusion.

Once installed, the CBD patch delivers the CBD to the body in a steady fashion for a prolonged time-range, varying from 6 to up to 96 hours. This makes it one of the longest-lasting methods of CBD delivery.

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CBD matrix patches vs. CBD reservoir patches

CBD patches come in two different types: matrix CBD patches and Reservoir CBD patches.

Matrix CBD patches usually contain CBD in the adhesive substance that sticks to the skin.

Through the gradient effect, the CBD migrates from the adhesive onto the skin and eventually enters the bloodstream, after bypassing all seven layers of the skin. In this case, the CBD dose is delivered in a less controlled way. Dosage mainly depends on the quantity of CBD contained in the patch and the area of skin covered by the CBD patch.

Reservoir CBD patches, as their name suggests, have a tiny Reservoir of CBD.

The Reservoir is contained by a release membrane which delivers the CBD in a steady and continuous way. Reservoir CBD patches have a delivery system that distributes the CBD evenly and continually until the Reservoir empties out. Because of this more controlled delivery, reservoir CBD patches are often considered more efficient and beneficial.

Benefits of CBD patches

An easy, discreet and quick way of delivering CBD to the body is through CBD patches.

CBD use is believed to have many benefits. Sticking a CBD patch to the skin is an easy, discreet and quick way of delivering CBD to the body. However, they also carry a number of other advantages.

Is CBD absorbed through the skin?

When vaped, CBD is absorbed through the lungs.

When eaten, as in CBD oils, edibles, pills, or capsules, CBD is absorbed through the stomach. Once ingested, the CBD makes its way slowly through the stomach where it is broken down by enzymes and finally reaches its destination before being discarded by the liver.

By reaching the bloodstream through the skin, the CBD avoids the lungs, stomach, and liver.

All these are powerful barriers, protecting our body from harmful intruders. Even though the skin’s as just as formidable a barrier, some studies suggest that CBD patches manage to carry more CBD to its ultimate destination this way.

CBD patches offer targeted application

CBD patches are particularly useful when people want to treat a specific area.

For instance, arthritis sufferers have used CBD patches on the affected areas, such as knees and joints. By applying the patches directly to the painful areas, sufferers treat more directly.

With a CBD patch you can start delivering CBD directly to the are that hurts you.

Because of their longer-lasting action, CBD patches offer a great alternative to CBD creams, which are usually considered a less effective means of delivery.

CBD patches offer steady and continuous release

Another useful and convenient aspect of CBD patches is that the release is steady and continuous, as opposed to a one-off delivery.

Patches, especially reservoir ones, have the technology to deliver CBD to the circulatory and peripheral systems in a steady flow, lasting from 6 to 96 hours.

The fact that the CBD can be delivered over an extended time frame means that its potential beneficial effects remain in the body longer and the CBD’s presence in the bloodstream is consistently renewed.

In the case of CBD oils, edibles, gummies or pills, the CBD enters the body in a single instance, CBD concentration peaks and then wears off after a few hours. The possible beneficial effects thus culminate and then disappear.

CBD patches and discretion

CBD patches are particularly discreet.

Since they are water-resistant, they can be worn in the shower and as thin as a sticky plaster. Users can wear CBD patches under clothes or even underwear without it being noticed.

Similarly, CBD patches work over a prolonged time range and users do not need to remember to take another dose, as is the case with pills or oils.  

You never know if someone is using a CBD patch.

Do CBD patches have any side-effects?

When a CBD patch user feels that the potential beneficial effects have been achieved, they can just take off the patch.

This could be particularly useful in the unlikely event someone experiences any side-effects from CBD use such as dry mouth, nausea, drowsiness, fatigue, or diarrhoea. Unlike CBD edibles where the effects take time to wear off, in the case of the CBD patch it’s easy to stop the delivery method by unsticking the patch.

Also, you could cut some CBD patches in half if you prefer a smaller dose or want to save the patch for later.

Is it possible to overdose on CBD patches?

Although there is no known CBD overdose in any CBD format, it is even less possible with a patch.

The patch has a clearly labelled dosage which will steadily enter the body over the course of many hours.

Our Recommended CBD Patches – Budslife

Budslife CBD Patches

CBD patches are still a relatively new idea and so there aren’t many products around as yet. However, we’ve found one CBD patch that we are happy to recommend.

Budslife CBD patches offer a slow-release of CBD throughout the day (you can expect each patch to last around 8-10 hours), making them ideal for busy, on-the-go people.

They have lab reports available on their website so you can be sure of the kind of quality of CBD you’re getting. The only downsides are that as a new product, there are few reviews available.

We have, however, tried to overcome that for you by conducting our own Budslife CBD Patches review.

Where to apply CBD patches

The skin where the CBD patch is applied should be dry and unbroken.

Also, many believe that CBD patches work best if they are applied to areas with high concentrations of veins (behind the knees, on ankles, shoulders or wrists, for instance).

The most important is that you apply the CBd patch to a dry, clean and unbroken area of your skin.

The reasoning behind this is that once the gradient effect starts working and the CBD moves from the patch to the skin, it will enter the skin and immediately be absorbed by the veins, thus fast propelling into the circulatory system and the targeted body areas.

Clinical evidence    

As has been often repeated, there is little clinical evidence regarding CBD’s health benefits. Some clinical trials have shown promising results but they do yet offer definitive proof that CBD is effective in treating ailments and conditions such as inflammation, arthritis, depression, anxiety, or insomnia.

Unfortunately, even fewer trials have studied CBD patches so far.

Still, a 2016 clinical trial showed that topical and transdermal CBD application displayed therapeutic potential in treating arthritis in model rats. And a 2018 clinical research analysed the various methods of administering CBD and found some promising results about transdermal administration.

The NHS has no official guidelines where CBD is concerned, nor any recommended daily allowance. People considering taking CBD should always consult with their doctor and should mention any other medication (even off the counter ones) that they might be taking. CBD interacts with some medications (blood pressure, antidepressants, or some antibiotics, among others).


CBD patches are a practical and discreet way of administering CBD to the body.

More importantly, they offer a steady flow of CBD through the skin. This allows for continuous delivery of CBD over a long time period that can extend to up to 96 hours.

CBD patches can be particularly effective for localised problems. They can be directly applied to the targeted areas for more immediate relief.

Still, research around CBD in general is ongoing and there is no definitive clinical trial that proves without a doubt the effectiveness of CBD in treating a vast array of conditions. The same is true of CBD patches as well.

Be sure to buy your CBD from a reputable source as CBD products differ greatly in quality.

Related Article: How Does CBD Feel?


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