Cannabis and hemp can be taken many different ways. One of the more direct methods is known as the topical. 

What are Topicals?

Topicals are a type of cannabis product meant to be applied directly to the skin. Usually topicals take the form of salves, creams or gels infused with a cannabis extract.

Topicals are a great delivery method because they allow the active compounds in hemp/cannabis to target localized pain.

How do Topicals work?

As the body’s biggest organ, the skin allows for transdermal absorption of many different types of compounds — including cannabinoids. When you place a cannabinoid-infused topical on your skin, it can begin working with dermal cannabinoid receptors immediately! As one study put it, “the skin possesses a robust capacity to synthesize and respond to cannabinoids.” [1] Several dermal-based receptors respond to topical CBD and THC: 

  • CB1 | involved in more ‘developed’ skin cells like hair follicle cells
  • CB2 | involved in simpler skin cells 
  • TRPV | sensory receptors involved in our perception of heat
  • TRPA | sensory receptors involved in our perception of pain/itch

By interacting with all these receptors (and more), topicals allow skin health to be quickly improved. 

Keep in mind that not all topicals are created equal. 

What are the benefits of cannabis Topicals? 

Cannabis topicals may alleviate pain, skin conditions, and acne. Cannabis topicals can even be used to moisturize and hydrate dry skin; some customers report great relief from things like psoriasis. All in all, topical cannabis use may be a great way to regulate the overall health of the skin. 

Are there any downsides to Topical use?

For some people, yes. Topicals don’t make it into the bloodstream as effectively as other delivery methods. That means they may not have a huge impact on overall health and wellness. If you’re taking CBD for general health, you might just be better off opting for a CBD tincture. 

But maybe a better way to look at it is this: topicals are just one part of the cannabis-infused lifestyle. They’re best taken in conjunction with other cannabis/hemp products, like CBD oil or hemp pre-rolls.