Topicals

Topical cannabis is a popular remedy for all sorts of ailments.


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TOPICALS

Traditional ways of marijuana consumption are often not suited enough to satisfy the needs of medical patients. In addition to relieving pain and blocking inflammation, they bring body intoxication and plenty of side effects. The perfect solution for all who look for therapeutic benefits without any high is using topicals.

What are topicals?

Topicals are balms, lotions, transdermal patches or other skin products infused with cannabis. They are applied directly to skin area where it is necessary to relieve pain, block inflammation processes or treat a wound. The greatest advantage of topicals in comparison with other kinds of marijuana treatment is the impossibility to overdose.

Topical application helps to deliver cannabinoids to skin surface thus treating the processes on dermal and subdermal layers. Most topicals do not get directly to the bloodstream that is why they are non-intoxicating.

Most popular topical products include: balms, creams, lotions, oils and lubricants, sprays, bath salts and transdermal patches. All of them differ by purpose, ingredients and active cannabinoid component.

Indications for use

Topicals are recommended when a patient is aimed at gaining therapeutic benefits without marijuana intoxication. The main indications for the use of topicals are the following:

  • Pain and irritation treatment. A study on therapeutic properties of cannabis in painkilling confirms the positive effect of topical medicine on treating body pain. The preference must be given to THC-containing products.

  • Blocking the inflammatory processes on skin. Make sure that the chosen topical product has this property: it greatly depends on the ingredients, terpene and cannabinoid content. The recommended cannabinoid with anti-inflammatory properties is CBD.

  • Sore muscles and joint pain.

  • Skin diseases. There is anecdotal evidence that the topical application of cannabis is effective in treating eczema and psoriasis.

  • Healing wounds.

  • Sexual commitment. It is achieved by combination of body-comfort lubricants and products that bring euphoria.

It is important to understand that your chosen product should not necessarily have all the mentioned characteristics. One should carefully read the label to learn more about the purpose of use of each definite topical product.

Contra indication

The only one reasonable contra indication to the use of topicals is allergy to any of its ingredients. To avoid facing this problem, make sure to choose most natural products with no colorants, flavorants and artificial additives. Otherwise, you can try to make homemade cosmetics on cannabis basis on your own using a recipe provided in this article.

How do cannabis topicals work?

To block pain and inflammation effectively, cannabinoids that are present in topicals bind to a network of CB1 and CB2 receptors of our body. These receptors can be influenced in two possible ways:

  • Natural.Endocannabinoids naturally created by your body bind to these receptors to regulate your primary body functions like appetite, feeling pain, mood, etc.

  • Cannabis-based. Plant cannabinoids perform the same functions as endocannabinoids. Binding to CB1 and CB2 lets them block the pain and bring relief to the user.

Depending on the topical product that was used, cannabinoids might come or not come to the blood. In any case, the amount of them is not enough to influence any noticeable intoxicating effects on brain.

The process of making marijuana topicals

To produce the cannabis-infused topicals, manufacturers use different starting materials: distillates, isolates, hemp seed oil, cannabis oil, etc. The technology, though, is the same. It consists of 4 steps:

  1. Preparing the ingredients for the balm / cream / lotion, melting the densest of them and blending them all together.

  2. Preparing the infused cannabis oil and introducing it to the mixture.

  3. Mixing the whole substance maintaining a steady temperature to avoid both overheating and premature solidification.

  4. Pouring the liquefied topical product into a dispenser to cool down.

The key secret of success with cannabis topicals is the even distribution. With homemade topicals, this condition is not always fulfilled, so one portion of a cream might be less effective than the other. That is why it is recommended to make preference towards commercial products with natural ingredients.

Application and dosage

To get the effect of topicals, you just need to apply them to skin and wait. The only precaution is to make sure application is external: you have to avoid its getting into your eyes, mouth, etc. To determine the recommended dosage for the cream or balm you are using, consult the label. However, do not be overcautious: marijuana overdose with topicals is highly unlikely or even impossible. That is why you might easily cover the damaged skin with more than one layer of a therapeutic cannabis product.

The effects might be felt directly after the application to skin or a little later depending on the product chosen and on the pain localization. The common duration of effects is 4 to 6 hours.

CBD or THC: which one to choose?

Most topicals have one prominent cannabinoid. Selecting the best fit for your needs, note that each of them brings its own unique therapeutic benefits. While CBD provides excellent anti-inflammatory results, THC is the best pain killer. If you experience mixed symptoms, it is better to make preference for topicals that contain the combination of both THC and CBD.

Key benefits of using marijuana topicals

Cannabis topicals is a perfect solution for all patients who have a need in medical marijuana treatment. There is a number of advantages of using topicals instead of other forms of medical marijuana. Unlike popular opinion, they are not limited only to pain and inflammation treatment; learn more about the other benefits topicals might bring to you:

  • Absence of systemic side effects . As topicals usually work only on skin level, they do not provide intoxication or any other negative health consequences.

  • Rapid onset of analgesia. When pain is unbearable, topicals become easy, natural and effective solution that lasts for hours.

  • Working well with scratches and bites. Topicals infused with cannabis are effective even for bug bites: they block the pain and reduce swelling at the same time.

  • Aging prevention. CBD is a powerful antioxidant that helps to keep your skin fresh, healthy and youthful.

Dark side of using topicals

The greatest concern about using topicals is not connected with the cannabis itself; rather with additives that follow it. Topicals might have traces of dangerous contaminants, undesirable plant pesticides and fungus. To avoid these problems, it is necessary to buy naturally-composed products only from credible suppliers.

Another important thing to note is the misconception about the use of topicals people frequently have. Unlike popular opinion, topicals do not cure diseases; they just help to block the unpleasant feelings and effects. It is impossible to let go of a herpes with the help of cannabis-infused balm but one might make the outbreaks shorter and milder.

Homemade cream step-by-step

A cannabis cream made at home is a good alternative to commercial products. It is healthy, natural and certainly fresh. The whole process includes two stages: preparing the main ingredient – cannabis coconut oil, and making a cream with it.

Stage 1. Making a cannabis coconut oil.

What you need:

  • coconut oil – 1 cup;

  • cannabis flower – 1 cup;

  • cheesecloth;

  • hand grinder;

  • slow cooker.

The process is as follows:

  1. Grind cannabis flower. Make sure not to use blenders. You do not need a cannabis powder, make it big enough to be strained by a cheesecloth.

  2. Add coconut oil to cannabis.

  3. Use a slow cooker to heat the substance to 200-240 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of 4 hours. It is the decarboxylation process that is aimed at turning cannabinoid acid into active THC or CBD.

  4. Strain the oil with a cheesecloth. Do not squeeze cannabis within a cheesecloth: it will add undesirable plant material to your oil.

  5. Let the oil cool down and it is ready for use.

Stage 2. Making a cannabis-infused cream.

What you need:

  • cannabis coconut oil – 1 cup;

  • olive oil – 0.25 cup;

  • beeswax – 0.25 cup;

  • essential oil (according to your preference).

Instructions:

  1. Combine coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax together.

  2. Melt the substance in a double boiler.

  3. Remove from heat and stir well.

  4. Introduce the essential oil and cool the mixture.

  5. Start whipping the cream gently with your hands when it becomes almost solid.

  6. Put the cream into the airtight container for future storage.

Due to the presence of cannabis and beeswax, such cream will have the number of useful properties. It will be antibacterial, antifungal and painkilling. It is recommended to use this topical for localized pain and skin inflammation.

Will I fail the drug test if I am using topicals?

This is a most popular question regarding cannabis topicals. The answer is “Probably not” because the situation is ambivalent and greatly depends on what topical you are using. Most of the topicals do not get into the bloodstream so they will not be detected on the drug test. It is the same as with rubbing alcohol: you do not get drunk just because you apply it to skin.

However, there is one exception: transdermal patches. Because of the way of their application, THC gets absorbed into the blood through the capillary vessel and thus can be easily detected.

If you are concerned about not failing the drug test and still need to use topicals, make sure to follow two main rules:

  1. do not use transdermal patches;

  2. be sure to avoid contact with eyes, mouth or other body openings.

Best recommendations on using cannabis topicals

The recommendations given below will help to get the maximum effect from using topicals. Check the list:

  1. Diagnosticate the pain correctly. Topicals only work well if they are applied directly to the pain area. Make sure to distinguish between the headache and the neck spasm.

  2. Clean your skin before applying the topical. It is important to remove dirt, sweat and bacteria to make the product work in the most efficient manner.

  3. Make sure to apply topicals only to the dry skin. Extra moisture will decrease the effectiveness.

  4. Do not be afraid to overdose. Marijuana cannot be overdosed with topicals so be generous when applying your cream or balm. Skin properties are individual for each person: some people need more product to get the result.

  5. Make a hand massage of the problem zone with a topical to enhance the skin absorption. It has to be performed very carefully in order not to increase pain.

  6. Wash your hands carefully after application. It will help you to avoid the product coming into your eyes or mouth.