Today’s cannabis enthusiast enjoys a range of products and methods. Some don’t like the idea of smoking or vaping cannabis. Therefore, applying it to the skin is another way to enjoy medicinal and recreational effects of THC and CBD. (1) Cannabis topicals are applied to the skin, yet go deeper, making their way into the bloodstream.
Think of how one would regularly use cream or lotion: as a skin softener and beauty enhancer. Now, add on the effects of THC and/or CBD and you get a product that offers physical and psychological benefits.(2)
Oil may be applied to the skin as cream or lotion. Cannabis oil offers another angle of consumption; some take teaspoons of it or dab it under the tongue.
Cannabis gel offers a cooling relief, somewhat like aloe vera gel. However, users report the relief of headaches and sinus congestion.
Salves are similar to creams but softer, often containing beeswax. Moreover, some use cannabis salves to treat psoriasis and other skin conditions.(3)
Those who seek a real kick of cannabis seek transdermal patches due to their potency. Patches offer THC, CBD, or a mixture of both. Enthusiasts use THC for its euphoric effects and benefits in treating anxiety, etc.
CBD is respected as helping to alleviate minor pain.(4) Some patches can be left on for several days, offering many hours of effect and relief.
Cannabis ingredients can be manipulated into a spray for easy and gradual application. What’s nice about topicals is that you can usually incorporate your favorite strain.
How it’s Made:
Cannabis topicals are cannabinoid-infused substances that are applied to the skin to provide relief to a localized area. They’re found in a variety of forms: creams, salves, patches, bath soaks, and even face masks. Most topicals don’t enter the bloodstream, so they won’t have any psychoactive effects and can be applied liberally without worrying about getting high.
CBD cream can reduce the pain that affects your body. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD help to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. CBD is applied topically, interacting with the endocannabinoid system as it reduces inflammation and thereby relieves pain. It also helps to reduce back pain and headaches. CBD is used in relieving anxiety in humans as well as animals.
Because hemp plants contain only trace amounts of the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, it is necessary to use large quantities of hemp stalk and seed to extract a small amount of CBD. Furthermore, since cannabis cultivation is illegal in many places, hemp farmers often have little incentive to produce hemp flowers, which contain the bulk of cannabinoids. Thus, the CBD content of most hemp-derived CBD products is very low.
The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years. The Ebers papyrus, written in Egypt in around 1500 BCE, mentions the topical application of cannabis to treat inflammation. Assyrian clay tablets report the medicinal use of cannabis, called azallû in Akkadian. Cannabis was probably used as a medicine to treat depression. (5)
Looking to the Future:
Nevertheless, the diversity of cannabis products will increase as more companies introduce products that hyper-concentrate on each of the over 100 minor cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. The legalization of recreational use of cannabis in more states will make this industry a lot more mainstream, and big-box chains will offer a range of topicals and ingestibles in various product categories and applications.
|↑1||Stella, B., Baratta, F., Della Pepa, C. et al. Cannabinoid Formulations and Delivery Systems: Current and Future Options to Treat Pain. Drugs 81, 1513–1557 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40265-021-01579-x|
|↑2||Baswan, S. M., Klosner, A. E., Glynn, K., Rajgopal, A., Malik, K., Yim, S., & Stern, N. (2020). Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 13, 927–942. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S286411|
|↑3||Scheau, C., Badarau, I. A., Mihai, L. G., Scheau, A. E., Costache, D. O., Constantin, C., Calina, D., Caruntu, C., Costache, R. S., & Caruntu, A. (2020). Cannabinoids in the Pathophysiology of Skin Inflammation. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(3), 652. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25030652|
|↑4||Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European journal of pain (London, England), 20(6), 936–948. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.818|
|↑5||Scurlock JA, Andersen BR. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois; 2005. Diagnoses in Assyrian and Babylonian Medicine: Ancient Sources, Translations, and Modern Medical Analyses p. 82. [Google Scholar]|