Topical application of cannabis products is one of the safest ways to consume your cannabinoid-based medication and may be the best option for certain pains or ailments. Rubbing cannabis products on the skin will not result in a psychoactive effect. Cannabinoids combined with a penetrating topical cream can enter the skin and body tissues and allow for direct application to affected areas (for example, allergic skin reactions, post-herpes neuralgia, muscle strain, inflammation, swelling, etc.).

  • Cannabinoids in cannabis interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors that are found all over the body, including the skin.
  • Both THC and Cannabidiol (CBD) have been found to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.
  • Topical cannabis use does not produce a psychoactive effect, which is different from eating or inhaling the medicine.

Different types of cannabis topicals include:

  • Salve: cannabinoids heated into coconut oil combined with beeswax and cooled. Rub directly on skin.
  • Cream: cannabinoids heated into shea butter combined with other ingredients and cooled. Rub directly on skin.

Topicals may produce anti-inflammatory and analgesic or pain relief effects. Research has to date been limited to studies on allergic and post-herpes skin reactions and pain relief. Anecdotal reports on topical treatment efficacy include:

  • Certain types of dermatitis (including atopic) and psoriasis
  • Balm for lips, fever blisters, herpes
  • Superficial wounds, cuts, acne pimples, furuncles, corns, certain nail fungus
  • Rheumatism and arthritic pains (up to the 2nd degree of arthritis)
  • Torticollis, back pains, muscular pains and cramps, sprains and other contusions
  • Phlebitis, venous ulcerations
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Menstruation pains
  • Cold and sore throat, bronchitis
  • Asthmatic problems with breathing
  • Chronic inflammation of the larynx (application in the form of a Priessnitz compress)
  • Migraine, head pains, tension headaches

Expected onset: a few minutes

Duration: 1-4 hours

Bioavailability: 8-25%

Route: Epidermis & Dermis

Products: lotions, creams, patches, salves, oils