Cannabis Topicals 101
Cannabis topicals are more than just balms or topicals. Topicals are a natural therapeutic agent for relieving muscle and joint pain, inflammation, and soreness.
Unlike other forms of cannabis, smoking dried flower, ingesting edibles, or vaporizing cannabis concentrates to name a few, most topicals do not produce a psychoactive response or enter the bloodstream.
This means that they don’t produce the "high" associated with other forms of cannabis, making them a convenient and safe option for those looking for the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the potential for impairment.
Learn some cannabis topical facts, like the various types of cannabis topicals, their potential health benefits, and how to choose a high-quality product.
What Are Cannabis Topicals?
Cannabis topicals are products that are infused with cannabis extracts and designed to be applied to the skin. These products are designed for local, external use rather than being ingested or inhaled like other common cannabis forms. Topicals can come in a variety of forms, including creams, lotions, balms, oils, and salves. They are often used to help manage pain, inflammation, and other skin conditions. Some people also use topicals for relaxation and to help with stress and anxiety.
Cannabis topicals are typically made by infusing a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, with cannabis extracts. The infused oil is then used as the base for a variety of topical products, where the cannabinoids dissipate in the upper layers of your skin for localized relief.
Common Forms of Cannabis Topicals
When you think “topical,” lotions and balms probably come to mind. Really, though, cannabis topicals encompass so much more. Let’s take a closer look at some of the topical products you might find at your local dispensary:
What Is the Difference Between Topicals and Transdermals?
Cannabis topicals and transdermals are both types of products that are applied to the skin and absorbed into the body to provide relief from various symptoms. However, there are some differences between the two.
Mechanism of Action
Cannabis topicals are designed to be absorbed through the skin and into the underlying tissues, but they do not enter the bloodstream. Cannabis transdermals, on the other hand, are designed to be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, where they can have a more systemic effect. This is possible because transdermals utilize what’s known as encapsulation technology, which allows the cannabinoids to pass through the lipid-rich barrier of the skin and into the bloodstream.
Cannabis topicals and transdermals may contain different types of active ingredients. Cannabis topicals are typically made with CBD, THC, or a combination of the two and may also contain other plant-based ingredients, such as essential oils or herbs. Cannabis transdermals may contain CBD, THC, or other cannabinoids, as well as other encapsulation ingredients that are designed to help the product penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. These compounds are referred to as transdermal carriers.
The effectiveness of cannabis topicals and transdermals may vary depending on the specific product and the condition being treated. Some people may find relief from using cannabis topicals for certain conditions, while others may find that transdermals are more effective. Both have shown potential, so it is likely that you will need to experiment to find the right product for your needs.
Cannabis topicals may also be helpful for managing skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Some people find that the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD and other cannabis compounds may help reduce redness and irritation associated with these conditions.
Limited Risk of THC Detection
Cannabis topicals can be a beneficial option for athletes and individuals who get drug tested regularly because they offer localized relief without the psychoactive effects associated with other forms of cannabis. Because topicals do not produce a psychoactive response or enter the bloodstream, there is a very low risk of THC showing up on drug tests and can be used without the risk of THC detection. This makes them a convenient and safe option for many.
Note: the same is not true for transdermal cannabis products.
Cannabis Topicals FAQs
Cannabis topicals are on the rise and they are gaining in popularity as people discover the variety of potential benefits they offer. Common questions abound, so let's have a look at some of the top FAQs.
Where Can You Buy Cannabis Topicals from Zen?
If you're considering using cannabis topicals to address a specific health concern or to support your overall wellness, be sure to speak with one of our certified cannabis professionals to determine if they are right for you.
Zen Leaf dispensaries span multiple states, including:
Whether you’re seeking cannabis topicals, concentrates, flower, edibles, or vapes, you can be certain you will find your zen. Visit your local Zen Leaf Dispensary to chat with one of our educated Cannabis Advisors to see what suits your needs best.