Cannabis Topicals: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Cannabis can give you so much more than just a “high.” Topicals are a perfect example of this: they can provide all kinds of relief for our bodies, without any psychoactive effects.

Topicals are Generally Non-Psychoactive

Topicals are a type of marijuana-infused product that is produced by infusing lotions, balms, creams, essential oils, transdermal patches and pens, salves, bath soaks, and more with cannabis oil. They are applied to the skin and are used primarily by those seeking to enjoy the effects of the non-psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes present in cannabis. 

Most topicals do not allow for cannabinoids to breach the bloodstream, which could produce a “high.” The exception is transdermal patches that do deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream and could have psychoactive effects if THC is present. Topicals can be found in a variety of cannabinoid-specific formulas, for example: CBD, 1:1 CBD:THC, CBN, CBG, and more.

How Topicals Work

Topicals work by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system. The cannabinoids like THC or CBD in the topicals bind to a network of receptors in your body and in your skin to promote balance and immune competence. Other select ingredients and natural essential oils can also bring additional perks to your skin. 

Thanks to the numerous medicinal qualities of specific cannabinoids, topical cannabis products have the potential to provide benefits like the localized relief of aches, chronic pain, and inflammation. Consumers are encouraged to consult with their physicians to inquire about whether cannabis products may be helpful for treating their specific conditions. *LivWell makes no claims regarding the health or medical benefits of cannabis.

What to Look For

More than 120 types of cannabinoids occur naturally in cannabis, with more being discovered every day. Each cannabinoid produces specific medicinal and therapeutic benefits. So do your research on the different cannabinoids and experiment with different topicals to see what combination works best for you and your goals. 

Remember that THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, and some topical products (like transdermal patches) containing THC could produce a high. Otherwise, you can enjoy most topicals knowing you are reaping the benefits without the psychoactive high you get from other cannabis products. Be sure to ask your budtender for more information on what topicals might be best for you and your goals.