Cannabis topicals have become a popular form of treatment for a variety of illnesses since the legalization of medical marijuana began in 1996. With so many ways to consume marijuana including smoking, vaping, dabbing, drinking or eating it, cannabis topical often don't get the kind of focus they deserve. However, for those looking for a remedy for localized pain, topicals can provide the most effective relief. Cannabis is known to be an effective pain killer and anti-inflammatory. However, when consumed internally, the benefits affect the whole body rather than a specifically painful area. Internal consumption may also provide the relaxation and calm of the CBD compound or the euphoric high from THC, depending on the content of the product being used. For some, though, pain relief is all that's desired from cannabis and that's exactly what topicals provide.
How Cannabis Topicals Work
Cannabis topicals come in a variety forms, including oils, balms and lotions that are applied to the skin. These can be applied liberally to whatever part of the body is in pain and the cannabis compounds will go to work to offer pain relief without side effects and without affecting the mind. There is no psychoactive effect created from topicals because they don't reach the bloodstream. Rather, the cannabinoids in the topical go directly on the skin to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). There are CB1 and CB2 receptors below the surface of the skin that become activated via contact with cannabinoids to help restore health, reduce pain and inflammation, and increase immunity. This means a person gets all the medical benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects.
Why Patients Use Marijuana-Based Topicals
This method of application is especially beneficial for those suffering from chronic pain, arthritis, rheumatism and other physical injuries. The healing properties have been shown to relieve pain, tension, muscle ache, and inflammation in the area where applied. For this reason, it can be of great benefit to athletes who want pain relief without the side effects of prescription opioids which are not only dangerous but also prevent users from operating at peak performance levels. The topical can work to reduce muscle and joint pain and inflammation without slowing the athlete down or affecting cognitive functions. Cannabinoids in topicals not only have anti-inflammatory effects but also contain antibacterial and antioxidant properties and improve immune response of the skin. For this reason, they are effective in the treatment of burns, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and skin infections.
The Use of CBD and THC in Topicals
CBD and THC can be found in topicals, depending on which variety you choose. CBD is the most common type of topical on the market. THC, when consumed, produces a high but, when placed on the skin, only delivers its medicinal benefits. In fact, CBD and THC topicals used together can help treat the central pain experienced by those who have multiple sclerosis. Transdermal patches and lubricants have also begun to hit the market and with a high enough amount of THC, they will be able to reach the bloodstream and may produce relaxation or a high (although, generally speaking, topicals are non-psychoactive). They are a powerful and effective way of treating pain and inflammation, helping patients to be pain free.