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Consumption 101 Series: What Are Cannabis Topicals?

September 06, 2022
Consumption 101 Series: What Are Cannabis Topicals?

Sometimes, infused products like cannabis concentrates, edibles, and tinctures get the spotlight. They tend to overshadow one other category of infused items: topicals. In this post, we’ll take a look at different kinds of cannabis topicals, including salves and lotions made from THC and CBD, along with transdermal products.

What Are Cannabis Topicals?

A topical is exactly what it sounds like—an infused product that you apply topically to your skin. They can address a wide variety of concerns depending on their formulation. Some topicals only affect a localized area. These may be an effective way to soothe aches and pains from muscle strains or chronic pain.

In addition, some topicals feature a transdermal formulation. These types of topicals contain an agent that allows them to pass through your skin and into your bloodstream. As a result, these topicals can deliver their effects throughout your body, not just to a single localized spot.

Generally, cannabis topicals come in one of two “flavors.” These depend on the main active ingredient within the topical. On one hand, you have THC salves, lotions, balms, patches, and more. On the other hand, you have CBD-based products. In addition, some types of topicals include cannabinoids, bestowing a combination of their effects. We’ll take a look at each type of infused topical below.

THC Topicals: What Are They and When to Use Them

Some topicals (like a salve or lotion) use THC as their main ingredient. THC is often the most abundant cannabinoid in medical cannabis, and it's what gives the plant its intoxicating properties. However, that’s not the only effect that THC offers.

Medical patients report that THC topicals offer them a diverse array of potential benefits. Some of these include easing stiffness and discomfort, relieving migraines and headaches, treating muscular soreness, and managing some chronic skin conditions like eczema.

Research supports that THC offers analgesic (pain-reducing) properties, and may be especially effective when paired with other cannabinoids like CBD. THC also appears to modulate the release of compounds called pro-inflammatory cytokines in your body. A reduction in these cytokines can help reduce swelling and inflammation, which is perfectly suited for a THC topical. 

THC-infused topicals are now used for everything from relieving joint pain to reducing the amount of time necessary for post-workout recovery.

CBD Topicals: What Are They and When to Use Them

There are also many CBD-specific topicals available. A CBD salve, lotion or balm may fill a bit of a different role than one made primarily with THC. Some studies suggest that CBD may be an even more effective tool in combating inflammation and pain than THC is. Research has also been exploring CBD topicals for their use in combating itch, relieving pain and discomfort, speeding wound healing, and treating skin infections, among other potential uses.

Transdermal CBD patches are a great way to utilize the possible benefits of cannabis without any of its intoxicating properties. Since CBD doesn’t have the same psychoactive effects as its cousin THC, you don’t need to worry about transdermal CBD topicals creating a feeling of intoxication the way a transdermal THC topical might.

Finally, some cannabis topicals include both THC and CBD in their formulations, to harness the synergy we hinted at earlier. While THC and CBD appear to have their own unique effects, they can work together to enhance their efficacy. This happens thanks to something researchers have called the “Entourage Effect.” When you see a topical that includes both of these compounds, you’re able to take advantage of the synergies THC and CBD enjoy when they’re used together.

Find Soothing Cannabis Topicals at 3Fifteen Primo

We hope this primer on cannabis topicals has proved useful. If you have any other questions about using cannabis topicals or about the different products available, don’t hesitate to ask! We are always here to help.

If you’re ready to try topicals for yourself, stop by your local 3Fifteen Primo dispensary in Columbia, Branson West, St Louis, or Valley Park to discover the different topicals we currently have in stock. Of course you can always shop online, too! Either way, we look forward to serving you.

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