• Cannabis topicals are applied directly to the skin and provide localized relief without psychoactive effects.
  • They can be infused with CBD or THC, offering non-psychoactive or therapeutic benefits.
  • Cannabis topicals work by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the skin.
  • Benefits of using cannabis topicals include pain relief, improved skin health, anxiety and stress relief, increased intimacy, and faster recovery.
  • Different types of cannabis topicals include balms and salves, lotions and creams, oils, patches, and bath products.
  • Cannabis topicals should be applied to clean skin and can be reapplied as needed.
  • Potential side effects of cannabis topicals include mild skin irritation and allergic reactions.
  • Cannabis topicals can be purchased from local dispensaries or online retailers, but it's important to check the legality and choose reputable sources.

Cannabis Topicals: Your Comprehensive Guide

Cannabis topicals are versatile and unique cannabis-infused products that are directly applied to the skin. These products come in various forms, including creams, balms, lotions, salves, and even bath products. They are designed to provide localized relief and therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects typically associated with cannabis consumption.

One of the main reasons for the growing popularity of cannabis topicals is their ability to deliver the benefits of cannabis without the need for inhalation or ingestion. This makes them an ideal choice for individuals seeking relief from skin conditions, muscle aches, and joint pain without experiencing the "high" that comes with smoking or ingesting cannabis.

Cannabis topicals displayed in various forms such as creams, balms, and lotions

Cannabis topicals are typically infused with either CBD (cannabidiol) or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the two main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD is known for its non-psychoactive and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent choice for individuals seeking relief from pain, inflammation, and skin conditions. THC, on the other hand, is the psychoactive compound responsible for the "high" associated with cannabis use. However, when applied topically, THC does not enter the bloodstream, allowing users to experience its therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of cannabis topicals depends on the quality of the ingredients used and the concentration of cannabinoids present in the product. As the market for cannabis topicals continues to grow, it is essential to choose products from reputable brands and educate yourself on the various options available to find the best solution for your needs.

How Do Cannabis Topicals Work?

Cannabis topicals uniquely interact with our bodies. Unlike smoking or ingesting cannabis, topicals provide localized relief without the psychoactive effects commonly associated with other methods of consumption. But how do these products work? Let's dive into the science behind cannabis topicals.

Our skin is the largest organ in our body and is filled with cannabinoid receptors, specifically CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cell-signaling system that plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, such as pain, inflammation, and immune response. When you apply a cannabis topical, the cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) bind to these receptors in the skin, providing targeted relief to the affected area.

Cannabinoid receptors in the skin and the endocannabinoid system

Cannabis topicals do not enter the bloodstream, which is why they don't produce the "high" typically associated with cannabis use. This makes them an ideal option for those who want to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects. The localized action of topicals also allows for more precise application, making it easier to address specific areas of discomfort or inflammation.

Transdermal patches, a specific type of cannabis topical, are designed to deliver cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream. These patches are formulated with permeation enhancers that help the cannabinoids penetrate the skin barrier and enter the bloodstream, providing systemic relief. Transdermal patches can produce mild psychoactive effects, depending on the cannabinoid content and dosage. However, these effects are generally milder and more controlled compared to other consumption methods.

In summary, cannabis topicals work by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors in our skin, providing localized relief without the psychoactive effects. Whether you're looking for pain relief, reduced inflammation, or improved skin health, cannabis topicals offer a safe and effective way to harness the power of this versatile plant.

The Benefits of Using Cannabis Topicals

Cannabis topicals have gained popularity in recent years due to their wide range of potential benefits. These non-psychoactive products can provide relief for various ailments without the need for smoking or ingesting cannabis. Some of the key benefits of using cannabis topicals include:

1. Pain Relief: Cannabis topicals are known for their ability to provide localized pain relief. The cannabinoids in these products interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, helping to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. This makes them an excellent option for those suffering from conditions such as arthritis, muscle soreness, or headaches.

Person applying cannabis topical on their hand for pain relief

2. Skin Health: Cannabis topicals can promote healthy skin due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They can help soothe skin irritations, reduce redness, and even treat conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Additionally, some topicals contain essential oils and other natural ingredients that can nourish and moisturize the skin.

3. Anxiety and Stress Relief: While cannabis topicals do not produce psychoactive effects, they can still help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Many topicals contain terpenes, aromatic compounds found in cannabis and other plants, which have calming and stress-relieving effects.

4. Increased Intimacy: Cannabis-infused lubricants and massage oils can enhance intimacy by increasing blood flow, reducing discomfort, and promoting relaxation. These products can be especially beneficial for those who experience pain or tension during sexual activity.

5. Faster Recovery: Athletes and fitness enthusiasts can benefit from using cannabis topicals to aid in muscle recovery and reduce inflammation after workouts. Applying a topical to sore muscles can help speed up the healing process and get you back to your routine faster.

In conclusion, cannabis topicals offer a versatile and non-intoxicating way to experience the many benefits of cannabis. From pain relief to skin health, these products can be a valuable addition to your wellness routine.

Different Types of Cannabis Topicals

As the popularity of cannabis topicals continues to grow, the variety of products available on the market is expanding. These topicals come in various forms, each designed to cater to specific needs and preferences. In this section, we will explore the different types of cannabis topicals and their unique benefits.

1. Balms and Salves: These thick, waxy ointments are typically used to soothe localized pain, inflammation, and skin conditions. They are made by infusing cannabis extracts into a base of beeswax or other natural waxes, along with essential oils and other therapeutic ingredients. Balms and salves provide a concentrated dose of cannabinoids and are ideal for targeted relief.

Cannabis balms and salves on a wooden table

2. Lotions and Creams: Cannabis-infused lotions and creams have a lighter consistency than balms and salves, making them perfect for everyday use. They are often used for general skin care, moisturizing, and providing relief from minor aches and pains. Lotions and creams are typically made by blending cannabis extracts with a base of water, oil, or butter, along with other skin-nourishing ingredients.

Cannabis-infused lotions and creams displayed on a shelf

3. Oils: Cannabis-infused oils are versatile and can be used for massage, added to bathwater, or applied directly to the skin. They are made by infusing cannabis extracts into carrier oil, such as coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil. Cannabis oils are popular for their ability to provide full-body relaxation and relief from muscle tension.

A bottle of cannabis-infused oil with a dropper

4. Patches: Cannabis patches are adhesive patches that deliver a steady dose of cannabinoids through the skin over an extended period. They are ideal for those who require consistent, long-lasting relief from chronic pain or other conditions. Patches are discreet and easy to use, making them a popular choice for those who prefer not to apply topicals directly to their skin.

A cannabis patch on a person

5. Bath Products: Cannabis-infused bath products, such as bath bombs, salts, and soaks, provide a luxurious and relaxing way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis topicals. These products are designed to dissolve in warm water, allowing the cannabinoids to be absorbed through the skin and provide full-body relief. They are perfect for unwinding after a long day or soothing sore muscles.

Cannabis-infused bath products displayed next to a bathtub

In conclusion, the world of cannabis topicals is vast and diverse, offering a wide range of options for those seeking relief from various ailments. Whether you prefer the targeted relief of balms and salves or the full-body relaxation of bath products, there is a cannabis topical out there to suit your needs.

How to Use Cannabis Topicals

Using cannabis topicals is a simple and straightforward process. These products are designed for external use and should be applied directly to the skin. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use cannabis topicals effectively:

Step 1: Clean the Area

Before applying any topical, it's essential to clean the area of the skin where you plan to apply the product. This helps to remove any dirt, oils, or other substances that may prevent the topical from being absorbed properly. Use gentle soap and water to cleanse the area, then pat it dry with a clean towel.

Step 2: Apply the Topical

Take a small amount of the cannabis topical and gently massage it into the skin. Be sure to cover the entire area where you're experiencing discomfort or seeking relief. The amount of product you'll need will vary depending on the potency and your individual needs, so start with a small amount and adjust as necessary.

Step 3: Allow the Topical to Absorb

After applying the topical, give it some time to absorb into the skin. This may take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the product's formulation. You can cover the area with a bandage or cloth if you're concerned about the topical rubbing off on clothing or other surfaces.

Step 4: Reapply as Needed

Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the potency of the product, you may need to reapply the cannabis topical throughout the day. Be sure to follow the product's recommended usage guidelines and adjust the frequency of application as needed.

Important note: Always perform a patch test before using any new cannabis topical. Apply a small amount of the product to a discreet area of the skin and wait 24 hours to ensure you don't experience any adverse reactions.

Person applying cannabis topical on their skin

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Cannabis Topicals?

While cannabis topicals offer a wide range of benefits, it's essential to be aware of potential side effects. Generally, these products are considered safe and well-tolerated, but some individuals may experience adverse reactions. The most common side effects are usually mild and localized, such as skin irritation, redness, or itching. These reactions can often be attributed to individual sensitivities to specific ingredients in the topical product, rather than the cannabis itself.

It's important to note that cannabis topicals are non-psychoactive, meaning they won't produce the "high" typically associated with consuming cannabis. This is because the cannabinoids in topicals, such as THC and CBD, do not enter the bloodstream but instead interact with the skin and localized receptors. However, some transdermal patches may deliver cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream, potentially causing psychoactive effects. Always read the product label and consult with a knowledgeable professional if you're unsure about a particular product.

A person applying cannabis topical cream on their skin

Another potential side effect to consider is the risk of allergic reactions. Some individuals may be allergic to specific ingredients in cannabis topicals, such as essential oils, carrier oils, or other additives. If you have a history of allergies or sensitive skin, it's crucial to perform a patch test before applying a new topical product. To do this, apply a small amount of the product to a discreet area of your skin and wait 24 hours to see if any adverse reactions occur.

In conclusion, while cannabis topicals are generally safe and well-tolerated, it's essential to be aware of potential side effects and take necessary precautions. Always choose high-quality products from reputable sources, read labels carefully, and consult with a professional if you have any concerns.

Where to Buy Cannabis Topicals

As the popularity of cannabis topicals continues to grow, more and more dispensaries and online retailers are offering a wide variety of options for consumers. In this section, we will discuss where to buy cannabis topicals and what to look for when making a purchase.

First and foremost, it's important to check the legality of cannabis products in your area. In some regions, only medical cannabis is legal, while in others, recreational use is allowed. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your local laws before attempting to purchase any cannabis products.

For those living in areas where cannabis is legal, local dispensaries are a great place to start. These establishments often have knowledgeable staff who can help you find the right product for your needs. Additionally, dispensaries typically carry a wide range of topicals, including creams, balms, salves, and more.

Another option is to shop online. Numerous reputable websites sell cannabis topicals, often with a larger selection than brick-and-mortar stores. When shopping online, be sure to read reviews and research the company to ensure you're purchasing a high-quality product. Keep in mind that shipping may be restricted to certain areas due to local laws.

When purchasing cannabis topicals, it's important to look for products with clear labeling. This should include information on the type of cannabis used (i.e., THC, CBD, or a combination), the concentration of cannabinoids, and any additional ingredients. Be cautious of products that do not provide this information, as they may not be reliable or effective.

In conclusion, there are several options for purchasing cannabis topicals, whether in-person at a dispensary or online. Always ensure you are abiding by local laws and prioritize purchasing from reputable sources with clear labeling. With the right product, you can experience the many benefits that cannabis topicals have to offer.


In conclusion, cannabis topicals have emerged as a versatile and effective option for those seeking relief from various ailments and discomforts. With a wide range of applications and benefits, these products have the potential to improve the quality of life for many individuals.

As we've explored throughout this comprehensive guide, cannabis topicals work by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system to provide localized relief for issues such as pain, inflammation, and skin conditions. The non-psychoactive nature of these products makes them an appealing choice for those who wish to experience the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the associated high.

From balms and salves to creams and lotions, there is a variety of cannabis topicals available to suit different needs and preferences. For those interested in a more hands-on approach, creating your cannabis topicals at home can be a rewarding and cost-effective endeavor.

When using cannabis topicals, it's essential to follow the recommended guidelines and start with a small amount to gauge your body's reaction. Always consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new products into your wellness routine, especially if you have pre-existing conditions or are taking medications.

With the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis, more and more retailers are offering cannabis topicals for purchase. Be sure to research and choose reputable sources to ensure the quality and safety of the products you select.

As the world of cannabis continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative and beneficial products entering the market. In the meantime, don't hesitate to explore the many uses and benefits of cannabis topicals to enhance your overall well-being.

A variety of cannabis topicals displayed on a table with a soothing background

Ethan Jackson
Cannabis activism, writing, politics

Ethan Jackson is a cannabis activist and writer. He has been advocating for cannabis legalization for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge about cannabis laws and regulations. When he's not fighting for cannabis rights, you can find him writing about his experiences and sharing his knowledge with others.

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