The idea that marijuana belongs only in a joint or bong is, thankfully, starting to become antiquated.  So is the idea that marijuana is only for getting high. Cannabis infused topicals are a perfect example of how various methods of consumption are changing perspectives on marijuana’s uses, safety, and efficacy.

What Exactly are They?

Cannabis infused oils, lotions, and salves are collectively known as topicals.  They are applied to and absorbed by the skin to provide immediate relief of inflammation and pain.  They aren’t psychoactive, so many people looking for therapeutic benefits without the euphoria often prefer topicals.

Science is also contributing to the growth and popularity of topicals.  Innovations like lubricants and long lasting patches are appealing to patients and recreational users alike.

The great part about topicals is that different strains can be used to harness different chemical profiles.  Meaning that by using a Permafrost or Blueberry plant, for example, a grower can imitate their specific terpenes and cannabinoids for therapeutic effect.  Growers can also add in other essential oils or herbs for additional benefit.  Think wintergreen, clove, or cayenne.

How Do They Work?

It all comes down to your CB2 receptors.  The lotions, salves, sprays, and various other transdermal methods of application bind to these CB2 receptors and activate the body’s endocannabinoids (which are natural occurring in the body and are responsible for our reaction to cannabis regardless of ingestion method).

But even if a topical does have some active THC, you won’t get an intense high as if you were smoking or eating cannabis.  Topical can’t breach the bloodstream.  They only interact with your CB2 receptors. It’s worth noting that if you use transdermal patches, these can deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream.  With a high enough THC content, patches can induce psychoactive effects.

What Do Topicals Help With?

Those with muscle soreness, localized pain, tension, and inflammation will find the most benefit from topicals.  But here, science is blazing a trail again.  Evidence suggests that those with dermatitis, psoriasis, headaches, cramping, and chronic itching will also benefit from cannabis infused topicals.

If you’re into intense workouts or physical challenges, a THC rub that also includes peppermint and menthol is an ideal cool down.  If you’re experiencing intense pain, you might consider a salve that has both THC and a tingling or soothing sensation.

If you live in a medical marijuana state, you’re in a great position to try out the many new topical remedies coming out. Some popular options include Sweet Releaf and The Original Kind Rub.

As you might expect, different topicals and strains have different benefits – depending on the ingredients uses, the processing methods, age of the plants, and individual body chemistry.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with the many transdermal products now available in order to learn what works for your needs.