What You’ll Learn:
In this guide to cannabis topicals, we’re going to explore:
A Cannabis Topicals Guide for Beginners
Innovators of the cannabis industry are constantly creating new consumption methods, showing the world that experiencing cannabis is no longer limited to smoking a traditional joint.
New forms of cannabis make it increasingly accessible for adult consumers while simultaneously proving that the “high” usually associated with marijuana isn’t necessarily a must. Not only has this helped to make marijuana more mainstream, but it’s also introduced cannabis to an entirely new group of consumers that might not have found their way here otherwise.
Cannabis topicals are a perfect example of how devising new consumption modes is reshaping the more significant perception of marijuana, highlighting its convenience, accessibility, and versatility exceptionally well.
Whether you’re just beginning your journey into cannabis, or you’ve been exploring this territory for quite some time, learning more about topicals is a great way to expand your horizons. You never know; you just might discover that topical cannabis is the missing piece that completes your picture of your personal sense of ultimate well-being.
We’re going to take you on an in-depth exploration of topical cannabis products, giving you a closer look at what they are, how they’re made, and why you might want to add them to your routine.
What are Cannabis Topicals?
A topical is any product that is intended to be applied directly to a specific part of the body, with “topical administration,” meaning a method of applying a product to the surface of the skin (or, in some cases, mucous membranes).
So, cannabis topicals are a category of topical products that have been infused with cannabis oil. There are many different types of topical cannabis, including oils, lotions, balms, sprays, patches, creams, and even lubricants.
Depending on the specific product, you can find varying balances of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoids, as well as essential oils, natural botanicals, and other added ingredients. Many strain-specific topicals are focused on capturing a full spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids to recreate the experience of consuming popular strains such as ‘Zkittles’ or “Chemdog.’
How are cannabis topicals made?
Although there is a broad range of methods for making cannabis topicals, the basic formula generally remains the same:
- First, the manufacturer prepares the base for the topical. For example, common base ingredients include beeswax, cocoa butter, and shea butter.
- Then, the cannabis oil is added.
- Finally, any additional essential oils or botanical extracts are mixed in, and all ingredients are thoroughly blended.
The final result is a cannabis-infused product that can be applied directly to your skin.
How Do Cannabis-Infused Topicals Work?
One of the most common questions we receive on this topic is, “Will cannabis topicals get me high?” Understandably, many consumers are confused about how topical cannabis works and its effects on them. However, when you consider the way your body receives the compounds in cannabis and compare it to how it absorbs topical products, the differences between a topical and a standard joint become far more clear.
Your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important part in everything from mood and appetite to pain, helping to maintain a general sense of balance. The cannabinoids contained within the cannabis plant, such as THC and CBD, are able to activate and interact with the endocannabinoid system. At the same time, your body also makes its own natural cannabinoid compounds, which are called endocannabinoids.
Both your natural endocannabinoids and THC bind to specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system, known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD interacts with different cannabinoid receptors, and also helps balance the way THC activates psychoactive effects during binding.
So, what does this all mean for how cannabis topicals work?
When you apply a topical cannabis product to your skin, the THC is able to bind to the CB1 receptors that are present in the skin itself, as well as the muscles and nerves in the area. A certain amount of THC can also migrate to the bloodstream, where it will eventually connect with CB2 receptors. But because that migration process is so slow, the majority of people don’t notice any sort of mental effects from a cannabis topical.
The one exception to this is the transdermal cannabis patch, which is specifically designed to efficiently deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream – so a certain level of intoxicating effects are possible, if the product in question has a high THC content. But rest assured, those products are generally clearly labeled, so it’s not likely that you’ll accidentally end up buying one.
Types of Cannabis Topicals
There are so many different kinds of cannabis topicals – and by the time you’re reading this guide, there have likely been at least a few new types created. If you are thinking about starting to use CBD topicals, having so many options available is a major plus. However, it can also make it that much more challenging to choose something that fits your preferences.
Here are a handful of the most common types of cannabis-infused topicals, including a few of our all-time favorite product picks.
Balms and salves
Cannabis balms generally have a thick texture and often come with a stick applicator for mess-free convenience. These products are often preferred by consumers who are searching for something to relieve pain and want an option that can offer targeted relief for sore muscles or aches.
One of the top cannabis-infused balms out there is Muscle Freeze by Attune, which is formulated with a 2:1 ratio of THC to CBD. Our dispensary customers describe this balm as having a cooling effect that’s ideal for soothing pain, making it a favorite for post-workout muscle soreness or chronic pain.
Creams and lotions
Cannabis creams and lotions have a virtually identical texture to the standard, non-cannabis versions you’d buy at your local big box store. People enjoy the ease of using lotions and creams, and many consumers report choosing cannabis body lotion for sensitive skin, itching, and other related conditions.
Usually made with a silicone base, cannabis-infused gels are a concentrated topical option that many consumers enjoy as a means for rapid relief from pain. The Transdermal Pain Relieving Gel from Sanctuary Medicinals features menthol and essential oils to create soothing sensations on the targeted area.
Gel roll-ons and sticks
As the name suggests, this type of topical is one that you can apply via rolling onto your skin. If you’re someone that prefers to minimize mess – who doesn’t? – these can be an ideal complement to the (sometimes messier) THC/CBD creams out there.
If you prefer a balanced THC and CBD topical with a roll-on applicator, we have you covered with a great recommendation: the Gel Roll-On from Sanctuary Medicinals is an excellent choice that many of our customers love. Made using Sanctuary Medicinals’ CBD-rich ‘YMCA’ hybrid strain, the roll-on gel is popular with customers who want topical pain relief in a convenient package.
Now, you can even use cannabis topicals in the bedroom, thanks to personal lubricants and massage oils. Lubricants infused with varying ratios of THC and CBD are receiving plenty of positive feedback from consumers, and it’s likely that this is a product niche that will continue to expand.
If you’re considering venturing into cannabis-enhanced pleasure, some of our favorite lubricant products include the Purient Bedroom Cannabis and Cannabis Plus Lubricants, both from Sira Naturals. Another solid choice is the Cabin Fever 1:1 Infused Lubricant, which boasts a THC-rich formula.
Sprays take the typical topical and adjust the consistency, thinning it out and incorporating specific ingredients so that it can be applied using a spray bottle. Like other topicals, different cannabis sprays will feature varying strains, so you can choose one that matches your preferred cannabinoid content.
You might be surprised to learn that one of the hottest things in beauty is cannabis, especially when it comes to skincare. In addition to healing cream and lotion intended for body use, a variety of cannabis-infused facial cleansers, masks, and other products are becoming increasingly popular.
Transdermal patches are small, adhesive patches that stick onto your skin, delivering a steady supply of a unique formulation over a period of time. Cannabis-infused transdermal patches are different from those you’d receive at the pharmacy in that they are made using marijuana extracts rather than pharmaceutical medications.
Benefits of Topical Cannabis
At this point, you might be thinking that topical products sound interesting, but you could still be wondering: what do cannabis topicals do? As you may already know, everyone experiences cannabis in their own unique way – and this includes topicals. So, it’s challenging to make sweeping statements about how cannabis topicals affect you or what they can or cannot do to help you with specific health goals.
While the possible health benefits of cannabis topicals are definitely exciting, topical products also offer a myriad of other great advantages as well.
Even the most inexperienced cannabis consumer can apply a cannabis topical with ease, and the familiar product form often makes marijuana topicals feel less intimidating. Topicals can be easily taken on the go, making them convenient to use whenever the need arises. Additionally, having the option to choose a form of marijuana that does not generally produce intoxicating effects is a huge plus for many people.
How to Choose the Right Marijuana Topical to Suit Your Needs
So, you’re ready to make cannabis topicals a part of your efforts to boost your sense of wellbeing – now what? Before you go to your nearest dispensary and start shopping, here are a few simple tips to help you find the best topical cannabis for you.
Have a clear idea of your goals and preferences
First, ask yourself: what are you hoping to get out of the “perfect” topical? Are you aiming for pain relief, skincare, or another goal? When you can articulate your purpose for the topical, it will be easier to eliminate options that don’t fit.
Also, think about your personal preferences and how they might affect your topical experience. You want to make sure you invest in a topical that you’ll actually want to use, not one that becomes a hassle.
Trust a reputable dispensary
A quick Internet search for “where to buy the best topicals” is going to deliver thousands upon thousands of suggestions. Unfortunately, not all products – or retailers – are created equally. It’s really important to find a dispensary that you know you can trust to sell only high-quality products so that you can shop with confidence.
At Canna Provisions Group, we’ve curated a selection of topicals and other products that we ourselves would recommend to our friends and family. We’re not just focused on scoring sales; instead, we want our customers to feel supported in their pursuit of the ideal cannabis experience.
Understand the information on topical labels
For anyone that’s new to cannabis, product labels can seem like they’re written in an entirely different language. And actually, they kind of are. Some many industry-specific terms and abbreviations can be confusing. But with a little bit of learning and our help, you can be reading labels like a pro in no time.
Some of the common components of marijuana topical labels include:
- Category: This will tell you if the product was made using a(n) indica, sativa, or hybrid strain. If you have certain strain preferences, this is a key detail.
- Cannabinoid content: Topicals will be labeled with their THC and CBD content in milligrams, so you can see the exact ratio/balance.
- Added ingredients: Many topical formulations include botanical extracts or essential oils, which you can find listed on the label.
Connect with experienced staff for help
Having questions is never a bad thing, but neglecting to ask those questions – and get accurate answers – can impact your cannabis experience. You should always feel comfortable going to a dispensary staff member, like the guides at Canna Provisions Group, for details about various products to learn how to #betteryourjourney.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, discuss your preferences, and learn more about your options. Dispensary staff can be an excellent resource, no matter what your marijuana experience level may be.
Be open to trying a few options
If you don’t love the very first topical you try, don’t give up. You might just need to do a little trial and error before you land on the right fit for you. It’s not unusual to go through a few options before you find one that checks all of your specific boxes.
Discover Premium Cannabis Topicals from Canna Provisions Group
Find the best marijuana topicals in Massachusetts when you visit Canna Provisions Group, one of the leading dispensaries in the Northeast. Our dispensaries in Lee and Holyoke have a diverse selection of topicals and other products, and our guides are always prepared to help you find the options that suit your personal journey.
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Please Consume Responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children.
This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana used during pregnancy and breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgement. The effects of Edibles may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1-800-222-1222 or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of MA.