With the market for different cannabis products only expanding, it’s easy to see why this range has extended to topicals. They’re a great way to consume cannabis and benefit from its therapeutic qualities in focused areas of the body. Topical users don’t have to smoke a spliff, take an edible, or even get high.
What Are Topicals?
Topicals are substances that have been infused with cannabis and are made to be absorbed into the skin. They’re designed this way to offer you a localized relief of pain and discomfort.
Topicals can come in the form of lotions, oils, sprays, salves, ointments, and bath salts, which means that you can choose exactly how you prefer to consume their cannabis.
What’s in a Topical?
Topicals can contain CBD and/or THC, along with other ingredients such as essential oils, herbs, terpenes, and other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. The ingredients in each are tailored for the specific therapeutic needs that the product addresses. They are then infused into carrier substances, such as coconut oil, cocoa butter, or beeswax.
Different topicals have varying levels of CBD and THC, depending on the purpose of the product. However, a topical will usually have significant amounts of cannabinoids so that they can pass through your skin barrier in large enough quantities to make a difference.
How Do Topicals Work?
Administering a topical dermally allows the cannabinoids within it to enter into the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of your body.
Cannabinoid receptors in the ECS regulate many of your bodily functions, including mood, memory, sleep, appetite, and pain response. Upon entry, the cannabinoids in a topical bind to the receptors in your skin. They enable the receptors to work more effectively than when they can access only the endocannabinoids that your body produces.
In the case of a topical, this process can result in reduced inflammation or infection, for instance.
However, even if a topical contains THC — the active component in cannabis — it won’t be able to induce any level of psychological euphoria. In other words, it will not get you high.
This is because the cannabinoids in most topicals are not able to breach the barrier into your bloodstream. They only work locally, penetrating your skin.
One product that still technically comes under the umbrella of topicals is an exception to this. Transdermal patches deliver cannabinoids into the bloodstream, so they can induce intoxicating feelings. They may also cause you to fail a drug test.
The average onset time for a topical is fast — you’ll usually feel its effects within 0 to 15 minutes. You can expect these outcomes to last for 1 or 2 hours.
What Do Topicals Treat?
Users report that topicals seem to work best for inflammation, aches and pains, and skin conditions.
People looking for localized pain relief may choose to apply a topical to the areas where their back aches, or where the pain in their knee emanates from.
Muscle tension, soreness, and even headaches or cramping may be helped by cannabis topicals.
Topicals are also often used to treat the symptoms of arthritis, and to prevent swelling in joints and injuries. This is largely due to the anti-inflammatory properties of both the cannabinoids CBD and THCA.
Topicals are ideal for treating skin conditions because the cannabinoids linger in your skin for some time. Popular uses include treating acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
Why Choose Topicals Over Other Types of Cannabis?
Many people choose topicals because they can enjoy the therapeutic effects of THC and CBD without having to consume cannabis in a more traditional way.
After all, it’s far easier for you to apply a cream than to roll a joint. Many topical users are simply looking for relief from pain or discomfort. They’re not looking to get high while they do this.
One of the strongest aspects of topicals is their ability to provide localized, fast relief in the areas where you need it the most. Some topicals are infused with other ingredients that create a tingly, warming or cooling sensation.
Think of a cooling massage oil used after a long hike, or a warming balm applied liberally for menstrual cramps.
Lastly, applying a topical is one of the most subtle ways to consume cannabis while you’re out in public. No one can tell what’s in your topical just by looking.
1. Decide Where To Apply Your Topical
Before you apply your topical, decide on your primary motivation for using it. Once this is established, if you’re feeling pain or discomfort, try to figure out where the source of it is. Is the pain from your headache originating from tension in your neck, for instance?
If there are no specific problem areas to treat, think about where you generally hold tension in your body and go from there. Perhaps you’d prefer a massage on a wider area of your body, from either yourself or a loved one.
2. Clean the Area
Clean both of your hands and the area of application before using your topical. This can be as simple as using a washcloth and soap with water. However, don’t apply topicals immediately before or after showering, bathing, or swimming.
Dry your skin completely before you begin.
3. It Pays To Be Generous
Apply a generous layer of your topical to your chosen area. You may end up doing a second or third application, as many people do, but there’s no need to decide this just yet.
The great thing is that you can’t apply too much of a topical — there is no need to avoid the psychological effects of too much THC.
Firmly and vigorously massage the topical into your skin, but don’t apply so much pressure that it hurts.
4. Wash Your Hands
Once you’ve finished applying your topical, wash your hands well. You don’t want to unintentionally spread the ingredients from the topical to your mouth, eyes, or anywhere else.
What To Expect From a Topical
Don’t expect cannabis to become the cure-all remedy for all of your aches, pains and inflammation.
Many users experience subtle relief and an improved ability to tolerate their condition. Your personal outcomes may also depend on the blend of ingredients in the topical that you use.
If one topical isn’t working for you, it doesn’t hurt to try another. If you’re interested in trying a cannabis topical, VidaCann operates 14 medical dispensaries throughout Florida where you can drop in and browse our selection. We also offer a wide range of other cannabis products and have an online store, so stay in and order for delivery if you’d prefer.