Ever since CBD made its debut, cannabis has entered the mainstream – cannabis drinks, edibles and vapes all exist in abundance – but a new product, cannabis topicals, is starting to slowly take over the spotlight.
What are cannabis topicals, how do they work and can they get you high?
If these questions still have you on the fence about cannabis topicals, stay with us because we’re going to answer each and every one of them for you so you can feel comfortable using this brand new product!
What Exactly Are Cannabis Topicals?
For a long time, medical marijuana had been outlawed and considered an illegal substance. That slowly changed as the CBD-dominant strain, Charlotte’s Web, cured an 11 year old girl of her seizures. Since then, medical marijuana and by extension, recreational marijuana has been decriminalized and legalized for sale in many countries around the world and a few states in the US as well.
Today, users seeking the medical relief of marijunana and cannabis no longer need to source Charlotte’s Web for dosing. Instead, CBD capsules, drinks and edibles have all become readily available options for those not wanting to smoke.
But what if you don’t feel comfortable ingesting any cannabis products?
Enter Cannabis Topicals.
Cannabis topicals, like any other spectrum of topicals, are any salves, creams, oils or lotions that are either infused with or created with cannabis and/or cannabis compounds such as THC, CBD, CBN and CBG.
Topicals are applied directly to the skin and are designed to treat a localized area of the body to mediate pain, inflammation and a host of other ailment, but how do they work if they’re applied directly to the skin?
How Do They Work?
Understanding how cannabis topicals work requires an understanding of our bodies’ natural endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for regulating homeostasis in our bodies as well as regulating energy, mood, appetite and even sex drive. When the ECS is damaged, conditions such as acne, hair disorders, psoriasis and tumours may arrive, so keeping your ECS healthy is imperative.
Within our bodies, there exists 2 receptors which are designed to receive and regulate cannabinoids within our bodies, whether they be naturally formed or artificially consumed (through cannabis). When CBD, THC or any other kind of cannabinoid enters our bodies, they’re absorbed through either the CB1 receptors or the CB2 receptors of the ECS.
When we consume cannabis whether it be through smoking or eating edibles, the cannabinoids are processed by the ECS receptors in our lungs or digestive tract which then transport it into our bloodstream, into our brains and throughout our bodies. This is what induces the psychoactive high, sleepiness and munchies that many users experience.
However, when cannabis topicals are applied to the skin, they are absorbed through the skin’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. Unlike ingesting or smoking cannabis, the skin directly absorbs the cannabinoids and they do not penetrate the skin’s outer layer. This allows the cannabis topical to work directly onto the applied area without any risk of the user becoming high.
In a study conducted on rats with arthritis, scientists have discovered that cannabis topicals have effectively treated the rats’ pain and inflammation. These rats did not get high from the use of topicals.
However, there is a certain type of cannabis topical that could get you high if that’s what you’re looking for!
We’ve mentioned before that cannabis topicals can’t get you high. That’s true, because cannabis topicals aren’t designed to get you high and now that you’re aware of the science behind cannabinoids and the ECS, you’ll know exactly why they won’t get you high.
However, a type of cannabis topical known as a transdermal patch is designed exactly to get you high.
As the name suggests, a transdermal patch is designed to penetrate the skin’s dermis layer and administer its cannabinoids into the bloodstream. All you’ll have to do is apply it on to an area of your body and wait a period of time for your body to absorb the cannabinoids.
Transdermal patches represent a revolutionary way to consume cannabis that’s indiscreet and easy to dose. Many of these transdermal patches come in a varietiy of cannabinoids so users are able to pick out exactly what it is that they’d like to do dose themselves with. Popular cannabis topicals transdermal patches include cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), Cannabidiol (CBD), Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and Cannabinol (CBN).
Additionally, many of these patches offer cannabinoids in different ratios so you can be extra-sure of what you’re dosing yourself with. If you want to enjoy the benefits of medical marijuana discreetly without smoking or ingesting cannabis yourself then the best way would be through the cannabis topical known as transdermal patches.
Who Are Topicals Best Suited For?
If you’re someone who’s simply looking to get high or to enjoy the ritual/flavours of the cannabis smoking experience, cannabis topicals are unfortunately not the method of choice for you. Transdermal patches, although potent in THC, are designed to be slow-release and will not induce the same level or intensity of high compared to the likes of smoking flower or concentrates.
However, if you’re suffering from pain in a localized area be it your joints or inflammation, cannabis topicals are the ideal solution. They won’t affect your entire body like edibles and flower will and they also have no chance of getting you high at all.
However, if topicals are applied to skin that has been cut or broken there is a chance that some of cannabis topicals’ contents could make their way into the bloodstream. It’s best to apply to areas of unblemished skin and to wash your hands after application to ensure no cross-contamination.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Topicals
With virtually no chance of getting its users high, cannabis topicals are a discreet and inconspicuous way to medicate without the need to ingest or smoke cannabis flower.
If you were on the fence of trying cannabis topicals out for yourself, why not take the chance and give them a try? You might end up preferring them over the usual tinctures, edibles and drinks!