A guide to topicals.
A beginner's guide to Topicals
The 2018 Civilized Culture Poll interviewed over 1,600 U.S. and Canadian cannabis consumers. Results revealed that 28 percent of Canadian and 33 percent of U.S. respondents expressed interest in trying topicals.
How does a topical work?
We naturally produce endocannabinoids in our bodies and use them to help fight things like inflammation. When the body has a difficult time providing endocannabinoids on its own, supplementing with cannabis can encourage the natural immune system.
Infused balms, salves, and lotions are a great introduction for anyone who’s remotely interested in learning about the potential benefits of cannabis or hemp for pain relief.
Topical products most commonly activate within the first 10-20 minutes and tend to stay active for approximately 2-4 hours. There are currently no human studies evaluating the dosage or concentration of topical cannabinoids, so as with most cannabis products, some exploration on the part of the user will occur.
Will I get high from a topical?
The majority of the body is non-receptive to the psycho-activity of THC. THC becomes psycho-active when it enters the bloodstream; through ingestion, inhalation, or application to eyes, mouth or bathing suit areas.* This means that it is possible to receive a psychoactive effect when using medicated lubricants, as they are typically applied to areas of the body with mucous membranes.
Keep reading to learn about the different infusion methods and why you would choose a lotion of a salve!
Remember to wash your hands after applying an infused topical to ensure that there is no accidental cross-over by touching your eyes, nose, mouth (etc) after the application.
*Note there are patches available in some states that contain chemicals that allow THC to enter the bloodstream.
***Keep in mind that while you may not experience the psycho-active effect, we can not guarantee that you would pass a drug test: Accidental cross-contamination means it is possible. Therefore, it is always a good idea to practice caution if you know that you will be coming up against in a drugs test.
Factor's to consider when choosing your Topical:
CBD vs. THC topicals
When trying to choose the right topical for you, the sheer number of options out there on the market can be overwhelming. CBD is sweeping the nation, and some are forgetting that THC medical research is what brought our industry to the point it is. It’s important to remember that each cannabinoid excels in slightly different manners, though there is a general overlap. Research is, of course, ongoing and incomplete.
We have provided some links below so you can learn why you would choose one instead of the other. Many pain issues stem from a combination of these factors- causing some patients to opt for topicals that have balanced ratios of THC and CBD to receive the benefits of both cannabinoids. Experience can vary from person to person, and with research incomplete- we encourage you to always ask your budtender. We can’t make any promises, but we may be able to help get you started on the right path.
Choosing an infusion method- Oil, Lotion, Salve?
With any topical, whether it be cannabis, hemp or peppermint, consistency is an important factor to consider as well.
Oil-based topicals tend to penetrate the deepest through our skin- making it ideal for deeply embedded issues, as well as hips, thighs and backs (where there is more fatty tissue to get through).
Salves penetrate deeply enough to be more ideal for places like elbows, knees, necks and shoulders. Because they also have a vapor seal- it could be a good choice for someone trying to fight difficult skin conditions.
Lotions are more frequently chosen by people who are looking to use them on their hands, feet, or faces. None of these areas require a very deep penetration, and consumers prefer less oily options in these areas.
Note that a little can go a long way, just cover the area, don’t smother the area. Many patients will get halfway through their topical and begin to be more sparing, only to find that’s all they needed to begin with.
Wondering what kind of Topicals we carry? Visit our menu here.
Topicals normally take effect in the first 10-20 minutes and last approximately 2-4 hours.
You should not feel high on a topical unless you touch your eyes, nose, mouth, ears or private areas without first having washed your hands.
Choosing the right ratio of CBD to THC, and infusion method will play a major role in the effectivity of your topical.