CBD bath bombs sound like a neat idea, but do they really help you in any way?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today, the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids” that are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its therapeutic profile.
Bath bombs were invented in 1989 by Lush co-founder Mo Constantine. They are a mixture baking soda and citric acid, which causes the effervescent effect. Typically, the bath bomb base is combined with a variety of ingredients whether therapeutic — Epsom salt, or cosmetic — glitter. But what happens when you add CBD?
CBD is hydrophobic — as an oil, it is not water soluble. This means that when CBD is added to a bath bomb, it won’t dissolve into the water. Instead, when you put a THC/CBD bath bomb in your bathwater, all of the molecules cling to the sides of the tub or stay on the surface of the water. Without emulsifiers or chemical compounds, only a small amount will have the chance to absorb into your skin (if any).
Some companies are now producing what they claim to be “water-soluble CBD.” “Water-soluble” by definition means it needs to homogeneously incorporate into water by separating into molecules or ions (thus dissolving like sugar, alcohol or salt). Oily substances are repelled by water, which forces them to stay separated from it.
CBD, THC and many other oils can be made water soluble if they are formulated as micro- or nano-emulsions, which are stable and visually homogeneous oil/water mixtures. Both micro- and nano-emulsions can be prepared in concentrated forms that are fully mixable with water and, therefore, appear to be “water-soluble.” However, both emulsion processes require the use of surfactants, which dilute the products.
Even if you find a water-soluble CBD bath bomb, it’s important to ensure the ingredients are organic — and watch how often you use them. Bath bombs can disrupt your vagina’s pH balance, making you more susceptible to things like bacteria and irritation.
Michael Cackovic, M.D., an ob/gyn at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF there are about 10 to 20 bacteria that normally live in the vagina “in perfect harmony.” This harmony leads to a pH level between 4 and 4.5, which helps keep infection-causing pathogens at bay. But there are a number of ways you can disrupt this balance — like by douching or by exposing your vagina to chemicals, such as those used in bath bombs.
For these reasons, we shy away from bath bombs, because those brightly-colored and beautifully-scented glitter balls can mess with your lady parts. If you’re looking for truly therapeutic effects, they may not be the best delivery mechanism. Even so, there’s something to be said for dressing up your bath time with a bunch of interesting concoctions to make you feel like you’re doing something more than just sitting in the tub. So if you’d still like to try a CBD bath bomb, we recommend Life Elements brand – they’re vegan and do not contain harsh chemicals, preservatives, aluminum, colorants, foaming agents or synthetic fragrances.