More and more people are turning to medical marijuana in Canada to treat everything from arthritis to epilepsy. While some choose traditional methods of consuming cannabis - like smoking or edibles - others are turning to the growing array of cannabis topicals on the market.
So what exactly are cannabis topical? How do they work and - crucially - do they get you high?
What Are Cannabis Topicals?
A cannabis topical is a cream, oil, lotion, or salve that can be applied directly onto the skin.
They’re made by infusing cannabis, or cannabis oil, into waxes and oils.
Instead of ingesting cannabis - like with edibles - or smoking it, the active compounds in the topical are absorbed through the skin. Simply rub the topical onto the area where you need to reduce pain or inflammation, and it will get to work.
Cannabis topicals are a relatively new form of medical marijuana in Canada - although, throughout history, people have used cannabis-based products to treat pain. They’re exciting for medical marijuana users because of the unique way the cannabinoids enter your body.
How Do Cannabis Topicals Work?
However you consume it, cannabis works by interacting with receptors in your endocannabinoid system. We have two types of receptors - CB2 and CB1, which are found throughout the body and in the brain.
The active cannabinoids in marijuana - THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids - bind with these receptors and affect both our body and brain. THC is known for providing the euphoric high that most cannabis users know. CBD, meanwhile, relaxes the body and reduces pain and inflammation.
Cannabis topicals work in the same way. The cannabinoids (mostly CBD) interact with receptors close to where the topical is applied, reducing pain and inflammation. The big difference with topicals is that they only work in a localized area. When you smoke or ingest cannabis, the active compounds into your bloodstream, affecting your entire body and brain. With topicals, the effect is limited to wherever you’ve applied it.
Do Cannabis Topicals Get You High?
The good news for medical marijuana users in Canada is that cannabis topicals can’t get you high. Because the cannabis is absorbed through your skin, it never enters your bloodstream. That means any THC or other cannabinoids can’t reach your brain - and that means you won’t feel high at all.
It’s no wonder cannabis topicals are becoming so popular with medical marijuana users. With their unique delivery method, they allow cannabis to be used to relieve pain and inflammation without any risk of getting high. On the other hand, if you’re a recreational user looking for a buzz, topicals probably aren’t the product for you.
Who Can Benefit From Cannabis Topicals?
Cannabis topicals are most useful for treating pain and inflammation. Some common ailments they’re used to treat include:
● Joint pain
● Chronic pain (e.g. back pain)
● Menstrual cramps
But because topical have a local, anti-inflammatory effect, they can be used for any kind of pain or muscle soreness. Even if you’re only experiencing a minor issue like muscle soreness, it can be eased by applying a topical lotion or balm.
What Are The Benefits of Cannabis Topicals?
Medical marijuana users in Canada are choosing cannabis topicals for a few main reasons:
1. Topicals don’t get you high
As we said, topicals don’t affect your brain so can’t get you high. This means you can use them regularly, throughout the day, and they won’t get in the way of your normal activities.
2. You don’t have to smoke, anything.
While traditionally most cannabis users smoke dried cannabis flower, there’s a growing number of people who want the benefits of medical cannabis use without the risks associated with smoking. For them, topicals can be the answer.
3. Topicals have a localized effect
There are lots of other ways to consume medical marijuana - think CBD oil, edibles, and vapes. But cannabis topicals are the only method that delivers the active compounds straight to the source of the pain. That means their effect is focused on where you need relief, without affecting your whole body.
How To Make The Most of Cannabis Topicals
Before you buy your first batch of cannabis topicals, here are a few ways to get the most out of your experience.
● Choose your strain carefully
Just like other forms of cannabis, topicals can have different amounts of CBD, THC, other cannabinoids, and terpenes. All of these will influence the effect they have. If you’re looking for pain relief, make sure to choose a topical with high CBD content You can even choose topicals with similar cannabinoid profiles to your favourite strains of weed.
● Check the other ingredients in your topical
All cannabis topicals contain a range of ingredients as well as cannabis. Often these ingredients can work together with CBD to offer even more benefits. For example, aloe vera can also help reduce inflammation, and menthol can have a cooling effect. Most topicals are made with natural oils and waxes (like beeswax): it’s worth avoiding products made with synthetic ingredients like parabens.
● Buy from a source you trust
Not all cannabis topicals are worth what you pay for them. Make sure you trust the place you’re buying from, so you aren’t short-changed with an ineffective balm that actually contains little or no CBD!
No High, But a Host of Other Benefits
Since medical marijuana in Canada became legal, cannabis topicals have become more and more popular. They’re easy to buy, easy to use, and come with very few risks. For that reason, we think they’re here to stay.
While they aren’t great at getting you high, they offer lots of other benefits. Their pain-relief and anti-inflammatory properties show a lot of promise. And most topicals are made with all-natural ingredients that can also promote health in other ways..
Whether you’re struggling with serious chronic pain or looking to help an injury heal quicker, a high-CBD content cannabis topical could be for you. There are almost as many different topicals as there are strains of weed, so you’re sure to find a product that works for you!