Whether it’s cannabis drinks, edibles or tinctures, there’s a plurality of cannabis products out there, but what about cannabis topicals?
A new segment of what many already believe to be a saturated market, cannabis topicals are slowly entering the mainstream in the form of salves, rubs and even skincare products! But does the reality warrant the hype? Do cannabis topicals actually work and more importantly, can they even get you high?
Stay with us and we’ll get into all there is to know about this little-understood segment of the cannabis market and whether or not to dip into topicals the next time you buy weed online.
Cannabis Topicals – What Are They?
While we did say that cannabis topicals are another segment in an already saturated market, it’ll be disingenuous of us to not also admit that this plurality has allowed a greater level of access to medical marijuana that has, up until now, been unprecedented.
For users who need medical cannabis products to get about their day-to-day, there can really be no shortage of options. When it comes to cannabis topicals, these products can be any form of cream, lotion, salve or patches that are either made with the cannabis plant or infused with cannabis products.
Manufacturers of cannabis topicals have touted their ability in effectively treating skin conditions, inflammation, joint pain and even muscle aches and sores.
These salves tend to be infused (or made with) cannabis compounds and cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, CBN (cannabinol) and even CBG (cannabigerol).
Perhaps the most significant question weighing on everyone’s mind is whether or not these cannabis topicals are actually effective or not and more importantly – whether or not they can induce a psychoactive high in its users.
Cannabis Topicals – How Do They Work?
Before we can get into the details of whether or not cannabis topicals work and their efficacy, we need to understand how cannabinoids such as THC and CBD interact with our bodies in the first place.
Within each of our bodies lies what’s known as the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system consists of 2 types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, that are located throughout our bodies. The endocannabinoid receptors produce naturally occurring cannabinoids that help regulate our health, mood, hunger and even energy levels.
When we consume cannabinoids from outside sources, it is this system that also mediates its effects and allows us to feel high.
Unlike smoking and consuming regular weed, topicals do not enter our lungs or our stomachs through the digestive tract. Instead, the cannabinoids found within cannabis topicals are absorbed through our bodies’ largest organ – the skin. Surprisingly, the skin has a large amount of CB2 receptors and a lesser amount of CB1 receptors.
When cannabis topicals with cannabinoids in them are applied to the skin, the receptors of the targeted skin area activate and absorb the cannabinoids into our bodies’ endocannabinoid system, providing specifically localized and fast-acting response.
In a research study that explored the effects of cannabis topicals on rats, scientists discovered that the cannabis topical had helped reduce both pain and inflammation.
The ECS – Will Cannabis Topicals Get You High?
We’ve mentioned above briefly how the endocannabinoid system works but to truly answer whether or not cannabis topicals will get you high, we’ll need to do a deeper dive.
CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system are found throughout our bodies with CB1 being more present in the central nervous system and CB2 being more abundant in the peripheral immune system such as the skin.
CB2 receptors directly regulate pain and inflammation, which makes cannabis topicals extremely effective in treating localized pain. CB2 receptors within the skin will absorb the cannabinoids found within the cannabis topicals and use them to treat the affected area.
These cannabinoids will not penetrate the skin layer and will not get you high. To begin with, cannabis topicals were never designed to get its users high. Instead, they’re focused on treating an isolated area of the body. However, one kind of cannabis topical known as transdermal patches does have the ability to get its users high.
We talked earlier about how cannabis topicals cannot penetrate the skin and enter into our bloodstream to induce a psychoactive high, but that changes when it comes to transdermal patches.
Transdermal patches are a type of cannabis topical that’s specifically designed to get its usures high. Like other cannabis topicals, they’re either made with or have cannabis/cannabinoids infused within but instead of acting on the skin, they’re designed to penetrate the skin layer and slowly administer their contents into our bloodstream.
This can be a great way to medicate if you’re worried about rolling a joint, putting smoking into your lungs or simply wanting to avoid the lingering stench after lighting up a doob.
Like many other cannabis topical products, these transdermal patches are available in a variety of cannabinoid flavours and ratios. Whether it’s THC or CBD oil Canada you’re looking for, there’s likely to be a transdermal patch out there that’s ideal for treating your specific concern.
How do You Use Cannabis Topicals?
It can be a bit daunting learning how to use a new form of medication or product for your skin but we’re here to tell you that it’s not any more different or difficult than trying out a new strain.
Since cannabis topicals are, well, topicals, the only difference that they have with other skincare products is the inclusion of cannabinoids. From creams and lotions to salves and patches, the way you use them can vary greatly.
Generally, these products will come with instructions to tell you how much to apply and how long it’ll usually take before you can begin to feel effects. With the exception of transdermal patches, cannabis topicals will not get you high no matter how much you put on your skin. It’s best to experiment with quantities and products to find one that’s effective at treating your specific concerns.
If you’re worried about the smell of marijuana or just adverse to the idea of smoking but still want to reap the benefits of cannabis and medical marijuana, cannabis topicals are perfect for you.
Since cannabis topicals treat localized areas of pain, they’re perfect at targeting and eliminating inflammation, joint pain, and even some skin conditions such as edema or psoriasis.
If you’re looking to medicate discreetly without attracting much attention, then cannabis topicals in the form of transdermal patches are perfect.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Topicals
While the jury is still out on whether or not cannabis skincare products are effective at treating face concerns, cannabis topicals have already seen large, anecdotal success stories from the thousands that have tried them. While more research needs to be conducted to better understand and improve upon these cannabis topicals, they’re quickly entering the mainstream as an effective smoking alternative for those who want to reap the benefits of medical marijuana discreetly and safely.
The next time you’re experiencing some muscle pain, reach for a cannabis topical instead of an Icy Hot. You might actually find it to be more effective!