Most people smoke or vape weed. One might even enjoy an edible now and then. But there’s another great way to get medical cannabis into your body: topicals. Cannabis topicals come in the form of lotions, oils, sprays, and creams. They are often infused with medicinal THC, CBD, THCA, and other cannabinoids. Some contain special ingredients like cloves and essential oils, which are great for your skin and stress relief.
How do they work? Simply rub the topical directly into your skin in the area that needs a little TLC. Topicals are great for headaches, cramping, and pain relief. They can also help with insomnia, And don’t worry, they aren’t psychoactive, so they won’t get you high!
A Rundown on Cannabis Topicals
Like regular weed, cannabis topicals work on the body’s natural endocannabinoid system. This is a group of cell receptors found in the brain, nervous system, and throughout the rest of the body. The system regulates everything from sleep to memory, motor control, and appetite. An endocannabinoid is almost like your body’s natural THC. That’s why when you smoke or ingest weed, you feel relief from a variety of symptoms. THC, one of the compounds found in weed, mimics the body’s natural endocannabinoids. CBD doesn’t mimic them but increases the amount of them in your body.
Like any other lotion or oil, you might need to try a few different kinds before you find the perfect match. Topicals also come in a variety of different strains, though no one knows for sure which work the best. Cannabis topicals can be purchased in any state in which medicinal weed is legal. You may even be able to find some in areas where it is not. And, like most lotions and oils, they sell at a variety of price points. Some are designed for pain relief and muscle soreness, while others can help headaches and cramping. Some have a cool menthol, camphor, or peppermint, which are great for easing inflammation. Topicals with omega-3 fatty acids keep your skin hydrated and glowing, and help with dryness and eczema.
How to Use Cannabis Topicals
Once you’ve found your perfect topical, if it’s a lotion, cream, or oil apply it directly to your skin. It will absorb right into your skin tissue and start working on the nerves below. Salves might need to first be heated, cooled, and then applied to the skin. If it’s a cannabis spray that can be taken orally, it can also give you great relief when you spritz it under your tongue. That’s because medicine taken under the tongue – or sublingually – absorbs the fastest in the body, bypassing the digestive system.
For example, if you’re having a bad headache, rub your cannabis cream or lotion directly into your temples. You should feel relief within ten to thirty minutes. If you have muscle tension, apply it to the area that’s feeling tight or tender. Topicals can also provide relief from itching, and can open up the blood vessels to relieve inflammation. That makes them perfect for applying to sore areas right after a workout.
Scientists found that topicals are highly effective for treating chronic pain. This is great news, because chronic pain is so hard to treat, and is such a complex condition caused by a number of factors. Look for cannabis topicals with a 1:1 CBD to THC ratio, as researchers have found these may work best. Both CBD and THC have an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, and work to relieve pain and ease all kinds of symptoms.
Just remember that topicals are one of the safest ways to use cannabis. But if you’re itching to get that great high, you’ll have to switch back to smoking or eating edibles. But hey, who’s to stop you from using both at once?