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Transdermal Patches

The smoke conundrum is why we’re excited about THC transdermal patches, ideal for cannabis users that desire or require a smokeless THC experience with a long-term, steady release. They are designed for wear during everyday life, as they can be discreetly worn under clothing and, depending on the brand, even in the shower.

Learn more in-depth information about transdermal cannabis products, including CBD and 1:1 THC:CBD patches, with our FAQs below.

Table of Content

Cannabis Transdermals FAQs

Of course, you can consume cannabis in a diverse variety of ways, including vaping, smoking, oral capsules, sprays, tinctures, edibles, lozenges, and more. You may even have heard of topical cannabis products that can be applied to the skin. Though they are a topical product, transdermal patches provide different benefits and effects than other forms of topicals.

Transdermal Patches

Why Does Cannabis Affect Your Body?

The function of the human body relies heavily on the body’s own native endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system utilizes a broad network of cannabinoid receptors that can be influenced by endocannabinoids created by the body as well as other cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis. The ECS has a hand in regulating inflammation, pain, and other aspects important to sleep, memory, metabolism, and stress response. Introducing cannabinoids like CBD and THC from cannabis can cause the body to react in ways normally accomplished by healthy ECS functioning. That’s why cannabis is often used for sleep, pain relief, relaxation, and other ECS functions.

How Are Cannabis Patches Different from Topicals?

Cannabinoids are lipophilic molecules, meaning they are not water-soluble and therefore are unable to cross from the skin into the bloodstream when in a traditional topical formulation. Instead, the cannabinoids interact with ECS receptors in the upper layers of your skin. While this makes them excellent for treating conditions that affect the dermis (skin), and other localized issues, topicals cannot provide whole-body relief. This is because their cannabinoids cannot move into the bloodstream for transport to the body’s endocannabinoid system.

What Are Cannabis Transdermal Patches?

Cannabis transdermal patches are skin-safe appliqués that can be adhered to your skin to deliver THC, CBD, or other cannabinoids. They are like some cannabis topical products in that they use a lotion or gel to deliver cannabinoids to the skin's surface. Unlike traditional topicals, though, transdermal patches can transport the cannabinoids past the skin’s surface and to the bloodstream.

How Are Cannabis Patches Different from Topicals?

Cannabinoids are lipophilic molecules, meaning they are not water-soluble and therefore are unable to cross from the skin into the bloodstream when in a traditional topical formulation. Instead, the cannabinoids interact with ECS receptors in the upper layers of your skin. While this makes them excellent for treating conditions that affect the dermis (skin), and other localized issues, topicals cannot provide whole-body relief. This is because their cannabinoids cannot move into the bloodstream for transport to the body’s endocannabinoid system.

The function of the human body relies heavily on the body’s own native endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system utilizes a broad network of cannabinoid receptors that can be influenced by endocannabinoids created by the body as well as other cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis. The ECS has a hand in regulating inflammation, pain, and other aspects important to sleep, memory, metabolism, and stress response. Introducing cannabinoids like CBD and THC from cannabis can cause the body to react in ways normally accomplished by healthy ECS functioning. That’s why cannabis is often used for sleep, pain relief, relaxation, and other ECS functions.

How Do Cannabis Transdermal Patches Work?

Transdermals rely on encapsulation technologies to enable cannabinoids to be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, producing effects within about ten to fifteen minutes. There are two subtypes of patches: matrix patches and reservoir patches. Matrix patches saturate the patch adhesive itself with the desired cannabinoids. 

When the adhesive concentrates adhere to your skin, it causes a reaction that allows the THC to travel from the highest concentration (on the patch) to the lowest (on your skin). Then, the encapsulation technology takes the cannabinoids through your skin and into the bloodstream.

Reservoir patches contain a reservoir inside the patch that houses the cannabinoids. The reservoir stores the cannabinoid in the form of a gel and then releases the combined mixture onto your skin through a membrane that restricts flow, ensuring a steady delivery. After you remove a cannabis transdermal patch, you can expect the effects to cease within about 30 minutes.

How Do Cannabis Transdermal Patches Work?

Why Release Cannabinoids into the Bloodstream?

Transdermal patches provide a uniquely effective route of cannabinoid intake. These patches release cannabinoids onto and through the skin and then into your bloodstream. Because transdermal patches allow cannabinoids to bypass the lungs, stomach, and liver (places that filter or break down cannabinoids), you get the full medicinal value of the cannabinoids.

Are Cannabis Transdermals New?

Though patches are relatively new in the cannabis industry, transdermal medication delivery has existed for over 40 years, established when the FDA approved a transdermal patch that supported patients suffering from motion sickness. They were rapidly followed by patches for heart problems, joint pain, nicotine addiction, and many other conditions. Transdermal patches are a safe and effective route to access your daily cannabinoid dose.

Can Transdermal Patches Have Psychoactive Effects?

It’s worth noting that different people will have different tolerances for cannabinoids, particularly THC. THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the psychoactive effects that can occur following cannabis use. Depending on your tolerance level, any cannabis product that contains THC will cause a psychoactive effect if the THC is transported into the bloodstream. This effect is milder in transdermal patches because they allow the body to absorb the THC slowly, often over a lengthy period in low doses.

The best part of cannabis patches is that they have an “off” button; after removing the patch, the effects will dissipate in ~30 minutes.

Where Can I Place a Cannabis Transdermal Patch

Where Can I Place a Cannabis Transdermal Patch?

Quality transdermal patches are designed to be worn discreetly so you can benefit from the cannabinoids when you need them and throughout your day. Though they can be applied anywhere, transdermal patches that work by diffusing the substance into the bloodstream are best placed in highly venous areas. This will allow the cannabinoids to more effectively and easily penetrate your bloodstream; patches placed on say, your shoulder, will provide more localized relief as veins are not as easily accessible. Common application areas for cannabis transdermal patches include the inside of the wrists, top of foot, lower back, inner thigh, and the inside of the bicep.

Can Cannabis Transdermal Patches Interact with Other Medications?

Though cannabinoids are naturally occurring in the cannabis plant and resemble native endocannabinoids in our body, cannabis patches have the potential to interact with some other substances. This may include herbal products, over-the-counter medications, and prescription medications. If you are taking medications, it is important to discuss the use of transdermal patches with a medical professional.

Are There Negative Side Effects to Transdermal Patches?

As with any therapeutic treatment, there is a limited potential for negative side effects from transdermal patches. However, they are rarely severe enough to be disruptive. You could experience a heightened sense of smell, increased appetite, and other symptoms associated with a mild cannabis high. The severity of these side effects will depend on your individual tolerance for cannabinoids, but it is important to consider these side effects will typically be extremely mild and muted due to the slow and steady absorption rate.

What Is the Difference Between THC and CBD?

Though both THC and CBD are primary cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant, there are crucial differences between the two. THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chief psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent cannabinoid found in cannabis. Both compounds can exhibit effects on the endocannabinoid system, but while THC interacts directly with ECS receptors, CBD appears to be most effective in attenuating THC interaction. 

For this reason, THC produces a psychoactive response while CBD does not; meanwhile, CBD appears to make THC’s psychoactive effects milder. CBD has shown promise in the treatment of depression, anxiety, migraines, inflammation, PTSD, and seizures. THC may be successful when used to treat insomnia, glaucoma, nausea, poor appetite, tremors, and chronic pain associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia.

What Are the Benefits of CBN?

Cannabinol (CBN) offers many therapeutic benefits when used in transdermal patches. It has anti-inflammatory properties, making it ideal for relieving pain and inflammation. CBN also assists with relaxation, helping to reduce stress and anxiety levels. This cannabinoid can promote better sleep quality and has been shown to protect against insomnia. CBN can even act as a neuroprotectant and may help to protect against degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

CBN Transdermal Patches

What Are the Benefits of Using a Cannabis Transdermal Patch?

Transdermal patches offer a multitude of benefits to achieve your daily cannabinoid intake. They are discreet and convenient, eliminating the need to carry soft chews, take a smoke break, or hold a tincture under your tongue for several minutes. Cannabis patches create a milder high feeling than that characteristic of THC-rich cannabis because the cannabinoids are absorbed slowly over an extended period of time. Transdermals can manage chronic symptoms but also stack well with an extra dose from a topical, a vape, or an oral spray to give your body a cannabinoid boost.

What Is the Difference Between THC, CBD, and 1:1 Patches?

The difference between the types of patches is the cannabinoid content they release. CBD patches are designed to release cannabidiol into the bloodstream. They are frequently used to treat inflammation and pain with the same efficiency as other CBD intake methods. THC patches release the cannabinoid delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, targeting ECS receptors that may address muscle spasms, pain, nausea, and more. 1:1 patches release an equal ratio of CBD and THC, allowing the user to gain the benefits of both cannabinoids. 1:1 is known as the “golden ratio” because products with this ratio can offer both sets of benefits without a heavy psychoactive effect.

Mary's Medicinals Transdermal Patches
Image credit: Mary's Medicinals

Does Zen Leaf Carry Transdermal Cannabis Patches?

With both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries across the United States, Zen Leaf product offerings vary from state to state and store to store. Always check your local dispensary menu for current products found at a Zen Leaf near you. 

Some of our dispensaries carry Mary's Medicinals Transdermal Patches.

Mary's award-winning transdermal patches provide discreet, convenient and reliable relief. Apply these 2"x2" squares to any venous area of the skin for best results, and you can expect 8-12 hours of unsurpassed, systemic relief. With a high bioavailability and 15-30-minute uptake time, these patches offer fast and long-lasting relief.

Are Transdermal Patches Right for Me?

There is only one way to know if cannabis patches are right for you: try them! There are very few downsides to cannabis transdermal patches. For most people, transdermal patches will have mild psychoactive effects without the heavy psychoactive effects capable of causing anxiety and paranoia. Similarly, most people will not experience even the mildest negative side effects. 

Trying cannabis transdermal patches will likely enable you to experience the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. If you try them and decide transdermal patches are not for you, fortunately, there are many other routes of cannabis intake you can explore. Speaking with an experienced budtender at a licensed dispensary can help guide you to the best options for your personal preferences.

Transdermal Cannabis

Transdermal patches are uniquely capable of delivering controlled doses of cannabinoids through the skin and into the bloodstream, resulting in steady release and long-term symptom relief.

Do you have additional questions about cannabis transdermals? Inquire at your local Zen Leaf dispensary or shop online today to find transdermal patches at a dispensary near you.