When I talk to complete strangers about cannabis, topicals usually cause the most confusion.
They've heard of smoking and maybe edibles, but topicals?
What are those?
And do they really work or is someone just trying to make a buck on the CBD boom?
A topical is just an infused oil, salve or lotion applied to the skin.
The simplest of all cannabis ingestion methods, topicals are non-intoxicating (even when they are jam packed with THC) and it's impossible to have an overdose experience… unless you go licking your arm.
While we have limited research (welcome to cannabis!), people have been using cannabis topically for years with great success.
So the reason I like topicals – and this is the big one – they work for so many people.
As a cannabis coach and educator, I've seen and heard about the life-changing power of topicals for people dealing with chronic pain, arthritis, and skin issues.
They've also been a game-changer for me and I've used them for years on my own healing journey with cannabis.
One of the only reported side effects I've heard of is skin irritation for some individuals with sensitive skin.
I always like to test a bit on a patch of skin to make sure it doesn't get irritated before using more.
Obviously, we're all still learning, so if you've had a negative or positive experience with topicals, please share in the comments below. We love hearing from you!
Because this ingestion method works well by itself or can be used with other internal methods, let's dive in.
[note: I'm not going to cover transdermal patches in this post because those work differently and can be intoxicating.]
5 Benefits of Cannabis Topicals
1. Cannabis Topicals are Easy to Use
You can't go wrong with topicals because they're not intoxicating (see below).
The only real thing that would impact how much you use is cost and the amount of salve or oil you want on your skin.
Just apply in the morning and any time the effects wear off.
Reapply throughout the day as needed.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
2. Topicals Can Be Used for Many Issues and Have Multiple Benefits
Smoother and clearer skin, less tension, and relief from achy joints (even from rheumatoid arthritis) are all commonly reported with the use of cannabinoid-infused salves.
We have the comments and emails to prove it, but remember that everyone's results are different and cannabis isn't a cure-all.
Choosing a topical is a matter of preference.
There are three popular categories of topicals:
- Salves are a great place to start especially if you're going to DIY because they're easier to make. They're also more common in dispensaries.
- Cannabis lotions can penetrate deeper into the skin for muscle and joint tension. Commercial lotions sometimes contain nasty chemicals, so making homemade cannabis lotion will not only save you money but can help you control the ingredients.
- Weed lube is also considered a Cannabis Topical… so there's that too 😉
3. Topicals are SO easy to make
Using cannabis topically can be as simple as rubbing a cannabis infused coconut oil on your skin.
Or you can uplevel and create custom topical products for specific issues.
Like tinctures and edibles, topicals can be created using a variety of cannabinoids like CBD and CBG and can be tailored to your needs.
Many people report that using at least some THC (where legal obviously) makes topicals more effective.
And that brings us to benefit #4.
4. Cannabis Topicals Won't Get You High (even if they contain THC)
If you are in a legal state or country, you can go buck wild with the THC without having to worry about taking too much.
Even if your topical has THC in it, you won't get high from it alone.
This makes it a great accompaniment to other ingestion methods or to be used on its own.
Many people have reported great success using high THC topicals even though they don't like to get “high”.
5. Topicals Can Help You Save Money
This one is really only a benefit if you make your own topicals.
In dispensaries they'll charge you a salve covered arm and a leg, which is probably one of the reasons why more people aren't using them.
By making your own topicals, you can control the ingredients, avoid high dispensary prices and get the relief you need.
I promise… it's EASY.
I walk you through the whole process in Dazed + Infused or you can check out our most popular CBD Salve Recipe here:
Questions, comments? Fire em away below.
While we can't answer every question individually, we put them on the docket for future blog posts and publish them so other community members can help.