Cannabis has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries, but its use has traditionally been associated with smoking or consuming edibles.
However, in recent years, cannabis topicals have gained popularity as a safe and effective way to use cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Cannabis topicals are lotions, balms, salves, and creams that are infused with cannabinoids, the active compounds found in cannabis. Unlike other methods of cannabis consumption, topicals do not produce a psychoactive effect, making them an attractive option for people who want the benefits of cannabis without the high. In this article, we will discuss how cannabis topicals work, what to look for when choosing a cannabis topical, and the benefits of using cannabis topicals. Whether you're a seasoned cannabis user or new to the world of cannabis, this article will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about using cannabis topicals.
The Basics of Cannabis Topicals
Cannabis topicals are a type of cannabis-infused product that is applied externally to the skin. Unlike other forms of cannabis consumption, such as smoking or vaping, cannabis topicals do not produce a psychoactive high. Instead, they are designed to provide localized relief from pain, inflammation, and other skin conditions.
Cannabis topicals come in a variety of forms, including lotions, balms, salves, and patches. They are typically made with a combination of cannabis extract, carrier oils, and other natural ingredients like essential oils or herbs. These products are usually applied directly to the affected area and absorbed through the skin.
When using cannabis topicals, it's important to keep in mind that they work differently from other forms of cannabis. Instead of affecting the brain and producing a high, cannabis topicals work by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating various bodily functions like pain, inflammation, and immune response.
While cannabis topicals can be a great option for those seeking localized relief without the psychoactive effects of other cannabis products, it's important to understand how they work and what to look for when choosing a product. In the following sections, we'll explore the various factors to consider when choosing a cannabis topical, as well as some tips for using them effectively.
How Cannabis Topicals Work
Cannabis topicals work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for regulating a wide range of bodily functions, including pain, inflammation, and skin health. The ECS is made up of receptors located throughout the body, including the skin. When you apply a cannabis-infused topical, the cannabinoids and terpenes in the product bind to these receptors, producing a range of effects.
One of the primary benefits of cannabis topicals is their ability to provide localized relief. Because the cannabinoids and terpenes in topicals do not enter the bloodstream, they do not produce the psychoactive effects typically associated with cannabis consumption. Instead, they work directly on the skin and underlying tissues, providing targeted relief to the area where the topical is applied.
Cannabis topicals can also be used to improve skin health, as many of the compounds in cannabis have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties can help to reduce inflammation, soothe irritated skin, and promote healthy cell growth. In addition, many cannabis topicals contain ingredients like essential oils and moisturizers, which can further enhance the skin-nourishing benefits of these products.
Overall, cannabis topicals offer a unique and effective way to experience the benefits of cannabis without the risks associated with other consumption methods. Whether you're dealing with chronic pain, skin irritation, or simply looking for a natural way to enhance your skincare routine, cannabis topicals are definitely worth considering.
Benefits of Using Cannabis Topicals
Cannabis topicals offer a wide range of benefits that can help with various health issues, including:
One of the primary benefits of using cannabis topicals is pain relief. These topicals can be applied directly to the affected area, providing targeted relief to sore or inflamed muscles and joints. The cannabinoids in cannabis, such as THC and CBD, have analgesic properties that can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Cannabis topicals can also help reduce inflammation, which is often associated with chronic pain, arthritis, and other health issues. The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids, especially CBD, can help alleviate swelling and discomfort in the affected area.
Cannabis topicals are also beneficial for skin health. Many topicals contain ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, and vitamin E, which can nourish and hydrate the skin. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of cannabinoids can help improve skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
No Psychoactive Effects
Unlike other cannabis products, such as edibles or inhalables, cannabis topicals do not produce psychoactive effects. This means that users can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without experiencing the "high" associated with THC.
Overall, cannabis topicals are a safe and effective way to target specific health issues and improve overall well-being.
What to Look for When Choosing Cannabis Topicals
When choosing cannabis topicals, there are several factors to consider to ensure you're getting a high-quality product that meets your needs. Here are some things to look for:
1. Type of Cannabis Extract
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a cannabis topical is the type of extract it contains. The two most common types of cannabis extracts used in topicals are CBD and THC. CBD is a non-intoxicating compound that is known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. THC, on the other hand, is the compound responsible for the "high" associated with marijuana use. If you're looking for a topical that won't get you high, look for one that contains only CBD. If you're looking for a topical that contains THC, make sure it's the right amount for you and that it's legal in your area.
2. Extraction Method
The extraction method used to make the cannabis extract can also affect the quality of the topical. Look for topicals that use high-quality extraction methods, such as CO2 extraction or ethanol extraction. These methods produce high-quality extracts that are free of contaminants and preserve the beneficial compounds in the plant.
3. Other Ingredients
The other ingredients in the topical are also important to consider. Look for topicals that use natural, organic ingredients and avoid products that contain artificial colors, fragrances, or preservatives. Some common ingredients to look for in cannabis topicals include essential oils, shea butter, and aloe vera.
4. Potency and Dosage
The potency and dosage of the topical is another important factor to consider. The potency refers to the amount of CBD or THC in the product, while the dosage refers to the amount of product you should use at one time. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for dosage and start with a low potency if you're new to using cannabis topicals.
5. Brand Reputation
Finally, consider the reputation of the brand before purchasing a cannabis topical. Look for brands that are transparent about their sourcing and manufacturing processes and have positive reviews from customers. You can also check for third-party lab test results to ensure that the product contains the amount of CBD or THC advertised and is free of contaminants.
By considering these factors, you can choose a cannabis topical that is safe, effective, and meets your specific needs.
How to Use Cannabis Topicals
Using cannabis topicals is easy and straightforward, and they are usually applied directly to the skin. Here are some simple steps to follow:
Clean and dry the affected area:
Before applying any cannabis topical, make sure the skin is clean and dry. This will ensure that the topical is effectively absorbed into the skin.
Apply the topical:
Squeeze or scoop out the desired amount of the topical and apply it to the affected area. Rub the topical into the skin using circular motions until it is fully absorbed.
Wait for the effects:
The effects of cannabis topicals can take up to an hour to fully kick in. So be patient and wait for the full effects to take hold before reapplying.
Reapply as needed:
If you don't feel the desired effects after the first application, you can reapply the topical as needed. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the label and not exceed the recommended dosage.
It's important to note that cannabis topicals are for external use only and should not be ingested. Also, be careful not to apply topicals to broken or irritated skin as this can cause irritation or infection.
Topical vs. Systemic Cannabis Use
Cannabis topicals are different from other forms of cannabis use, such as smoking, vaping, or consuming edibles, because they are applied directly to the skin and do not enter the bloodstream. This means that the effects of cannabis topicals are localized and do not produce the psychoactive effects typically associated with cannabis use.
Systemic cannabis use, on the other hand, refers to any method of cannabis consumption that enters the bloodstream and affects the entire body. This includes smoking, vaping, edibles, tinctures, and other forms of ingestion.
One advantage of using cannabis topicals is that they can be applied directly to the affected area, providing targeted relief for localized pain and inflammation. They are also a good option for individuals who want to experience the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects.
Systemic cannabis use, on the other hand, can be more effective for treating conditions that affect the entire body, such as anxiety, depression, and nausea. However, it is important to note that systemic use of cannabis can result in a longer onset time and longer-lasting effects compared to topicals.
Ultimately, the choice between topical and systemic cannabis use depends on the individual's specific needs and preferences. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using cannabis for any medical purposes.
The Final Word
Cannabis topicals have become a popular way for people to experience the potential benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects associated with other forms of use. These topicals work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, providing targeted relief to specific areas of the body. When choosing a cannabis topical, it's important to consider factors such as potency, ingredients, and intended use.
As with any cannabis product, it's important to follow responsible use practices and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or questions about using cannabis topicals.
What are the potential benefits of using cannabis topicals?
Cannabis topicals may provide relief for localized pain, inflammation, and skin conditions. They may also offer relaxation and therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects associated with other forms of cannabis use.
Can cannabis topicals cause a positive drug test?
It's possible for cannabis topicals to cause a positive drug test, although it's rare. This is because most drug tests are looking for the presence of THC in the bloodstream, and topicals typically do not enter the bloodstream in significant amounts. However, it's important to be aware of the risk and take precautions if necessary.
Can I make my own cannabis topicals?
Yes, it's possible to make your own cannabis topicals using ingredients such as cannabis-infused oils or balms. However, it's important to use caution and follow safe practices when making your own products. It's also important to consider the potency and intended use of the product before using it.
Are there any side effects of using cannabis topicals?
While cannabis topicals are generally considered safe, they may cause side effects such as skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people. It's important to do a patch test before using a new product and discontinue use if you experience any adverse effects. It's also important to follow responsible use practices and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.