What Are Cannabis Topicals? Medical Uses, Potency, and Benefits

cannabis topicals

Decades ago, the most popular ways of consuming cannabis were by either smoking it or eating “pot” brownies. Not everyone likes to smoke, though. And for those with lung issues, it’s not even an option.

Fortunately, times have changed. Thanks to the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis, there has been a raft of innovative ways to consumer cannabis.

If you’re interested in cannabis but don’t want to smoke it, you might want to consider vaporizing, edibles, ingestible oils, tinctures, beverages, dabbing, and cannabis-infused topicals.

One of the most popular smoke-free ways of getting the benefits of cannabis without getting high, is using topicals. These are cannabis-infused balms, gels, lotions, and salves that are applied directly on the skin and used to treat pain, muscle and joint aches, and inflammation.  

Below we explore the many benefits and uses of medical cannabis topicals.

How Do Cannabis Infused Topicals Work?

Cannabis-infused topicals like lotions, oils, and sprays work by binding to cannabinoid receptors. These receptions are located throughout the body and are activated by either naturally-occurring endocannabinoids or by cannabis compounds known as cannabinoids (Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and Cannabidiol or CBD are the two most prominent).

Topicals with high concentrations of CBD are great for those looking for mild to moderate pain relief. Topicals with high concentrations of THC can be effective for managing moderate soreness and discomfort. The most effective topicals tend to have similar or equal amounts of THC and CBD.

While THC can get you high if you smoke or eat it, you won’t get that euphoric feeling with a cannabis-infused topical. That’s because cannabinoids don’t make their way into the bloodstream; they only penetrate the skin for localized relief.

That said, transdermal patches, by design, deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream and could, if the THC content is high enough, induce a psychoactive feeling.

What Are the Medical Uses of Cannabis Topicals?

Cannabis topicals are used for a wide variety of symptoms, including localized pain relief, inflammation, and muscle soreness. But an emerging body of research is showing the cannabis-infused topicals can be used to treat additional issues, including arthritis, headaches, cramping, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

How Do Cannabis Topicals Differ from Other Cannabis Types?

The biggest difference between cannabis topicals and other forms of cannabis is how its consumed and how the body processes the cannabinoids.

For example, vaping involves heating a vaporizer and inserting a small amount of cannabis flower or extract, which you then inhale. With dabbing, you drop cannabis concentrates onto a heated water-pipe and inhale.

Edibles are a popular way to consume cannabis. Where in decades past you were limited to homemade pot brownies or cookies, today, you can buy medical marijuana gummies and other cannabis edibles.

When you inhale, the THC gets quickly absorbed by the bloodstream where it moves quickly to the brain. In just a few short minutes, your entire body could experience an immediate high. Eating cannabis-infused edibles means the cannabis is metabolized through your stomach and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours to start to feel the effects.

This doesn’t happen with cannabis topicals. When applied locally, the effects of cannabis topicals are only felt on the localized area where it is applied. As with any cannabis product, the intensity and longevity of the effects will depend on your weight, gender, how much food you’ve eaten, and how quickly your metabolism works.

How Effective and Potent Are Cannabis Topicals?

Cannabis-infused topicals are an excellent smoke-free alternative and great option for those who do not want to feel the effects of getting high. That said, you still need to be aware of the potency and potential effects before using a cannabis-infused topical.

Most people can feel the effects of smoking dried cannabis in just a few minutes. But the effects of THC in topicals are almost always non-intoxicating. In the rare instance where you may feel something, the effects are believed to be exceptionally low.

When it comes to how much you should actually apply, there are no general, standardized guidelines. That’s why it’s important to read the manufacturers information that comes with a specific topical.

It’s also a good idea to speak with a healthcare practitioner who has experience with medical marijuana and can provide you with information on how to use various forms of medical cannabis from formats to dosages, as well as offer ongoing education on everything you need to know about medical cannabis. 

MMC, Making Access to Medical Cannabis Simple

If you’re suffering from joint or muscle discomfort and are interested in using a cannabis-infused topical, contact a nurse practitioner or Patient Advisor at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC).

A trusted name in medical cannabis consulting, MMC helps patients from across Canada get access to medical professionals who are experts on medical cannabis. Our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can provide a prescription, offer you help to get you coverage for your prescription costs (if eligible), refer you to a licensed producer, and help you apply for the ACMPR license.

With MMC’s personalized white glove treatment, you also get access to personalized one-on-one educational sessions, treatment plans, and ongoing support. Our cannabis clinic also helps with insurance filing for benefits and tax claims. On top of that, if you want to grow your own medical cannabis at home, our medical marijuana consulting team can help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.

At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at patientcare@medmc.ca.

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