Cannabis-infused topicals don’t receive nearly as much attention as they should, particularly in medical dispensaries. Unlike their more conventionally consumed counterparts, products such as balms, salves, ointments, lotions, and even cannabis beauty products are applied externally to the skin, and their effects are not psychoactive.
These infused topicals provide physical relief that is limited to the area it was administered, because the THC undergoes a different form of intake, or delivery system, than if you ate an edible or smoked a joint. It’s called transdermal absorption.
The main takeaway in understanding transdermal absorption is that the results are non-intoxicating. Because of THC’s simultaneous lipophilic and hydrophobic tendencies, it is absorbed through the skin encouraged by epidermal lipids, but does not enter the bloodstream. Without this breach, THC and other extant cannabinoids will not cross the blood-brain barrier. This delivery system will only provide localized relief. In other words, you do not get high when you use cannabis-infused topicals, and effects are only felt where the topical was administered.
why choose topicals?
Let us not understate the potential therapeutic value of cannabis topicals, though! The anti-inflammatory properties of THC make them an excellent candidate for targeted relief from muscle soreness and arthritic pain. Blending THC with other cannabinoids, most commonly CBD, and other target-specific ingredients (think menthol, aloe vera, tea tree oil, etc) can amplify certain effects and help you choose what topical might best suit your needs.
In conjunction with these added components, THC topicals may potentially serve even a wider range of purposes, like alleviate menstrual cramps, reduce redness in skin conditions like psoriasis, or help with general headaches and migraines. Like much of the medical cannabis community, the learning process is ongoing.
Picking Your Product
Spending some time investigating if topicals can serve any of your specific medical needs is a worthwhile foray, and we hope to have piqued your interest.
Always talk to your budtender to be certain of what you are purchasing; there are some exceptions to the non-psychoactive behavior of topicals, specifically with transdermal patches whose contents are intended to reach deep beyond the skin, and possibly some extra high-dose products. But by and large, what you see in dispensaries for topical selection are disarming, therapeutic, and tend to smell really good. Come see us up in the Quincy quarries and learn more today!