What are Cannabis Topicals & how they work?

Home » What are Cannabis Topicals & How they work?
Garry Stewart
Written By Steve Brandon

June 26, 2024

cannabis topicals - natural solution for skin health and pain relief

In recent years cannabis topicals have become one of the revolutionary solutions for various types of skin conditions. They not only offer relief but also promote better skin health naturally. These topicals are packed with CBD and THC and are considered quite popular among people due to their anti-inflammatory as well as calming properties. Whether you suffer from skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or acne, cannabis could be the best natural solution for you. Let’s explore what cannabis topicals are, how to use them, their potential benefits.

What are Cannabis Topicals?

Cannabis Topicals also known as CBD and THC topicals are simply marijuana-infused products such as gels, balms, and lotions. They are specifically designed to treat acute symptoms like pain and inflammation that are common in skin infections. Taking oral cannabis can not help because THC does not penetrate into the skin instead it goes to the bloodstream. So, here cannabis topicals help a lot and people don’t even have to worry about intoxication.

What are the types of Cannabis Topicals?

There are various types of cannabis topicals available in the market and here are the common ones that you can use:-
types of cannabis infused topicals available in the market
  • Creams and Lotions CBD creams and lotions can be easily applied anywhere on the body. These marijuana creams and lotions are especially beneficial for people who suffer from dry skin, especially around the knees and elbows.
  • Oil Cannabis topicals are also available in the form of oils and can be used both externally as well as internally. You can apply it topically on the affected area and can ingest it when needed. For oral, you can simply use a few drops of cannabis oil on your tongue.
  • Gels Gels are one of the best topicals for people who suffer from chronic headaches, as they have cooling effects. Just apply a small amount of marijuana gel on your temples and forehead. Due to its soothing effect, marijuana gel is also a great choice for people with psoriasis, as it reduces any type of redness and irritation commonly seen in such skin disorders.
  • Transdermal Patches Transdermal patches are the most potent form of cannabis topicals and the only type with high potency. However, these patches do not have any psychoactive effects and are even beneficial for lower back pain. Patches come with an adhesive side that sticks to the affected area, staying in place for up to 72 hours.
Each type of topical is available in plain or scented varieties. Popular scents include lavender for relaxation and citrus for invigoration. Additionally, you can mix CBD topicals into a carrier oil like coconut oil and infuse them with other essential oils for added therapeutic benefits. Dispensaries sell topical cannabis products labeled as cruelty-free, ensuring no ingredients are tested on animals.

How do Marijuana Topicals Work?

If you don’t know, there is a network of receptors present throughout your entire body – including your skin. Our skin helps us protect ourselves from environmental toxins and bacteria, so it’s not easy for the cannabinoids to sink into the skin through the bloodstream. And sometimes, you don’t even need them to hit your bloodstream. This is where marijuana topicals help and shine a lot. So, when you apply any type of cannabis topicals, they interact with receptors (CB1 and CB2) causing you to experience localized relief, especially in skin conditions like eczema and acne.

THC vs. CBD Topicals: Which Should You Choose?

Scientists haven’t yet determined if CBD or THC topicals are more effective, so it’s hard to say which is better overall. However, many people find THC better for pain and CBD better for inflammation. Research suggests THC helps with pain caused by inflammation, while CBD helps reduce the inflammation itself. If you can’t decide, you might try a topical that contains both THC and CBD or one with CBD and CBG. Finding the right topical product usually takes some trial and error. If you’re already using oral hemp products, try the same blend in a topical form. It will work similarly, just not from inside your body.

Do Cannabis Topicals Make You High?

No, marijuana topicals do not make you high. They provide localized relief by interacting with receptors in your skin, without entering the bloodstream and causing psychoactive effects.

What are the Health Benefits of Cannabis Topicals?

Many people turn to topical marijuana products for medical purposes like pain relief, and evidence supports the effectiveness of cannabis topicals in treating pain and inflammation. Research also suggests that CBD oil might help with treating eczema and other skin conditions. Here are some benefits of cannabis topicals:
ways cannabis topicals can help treat skin
  • Helping with Eczema and Psoriasis Topical CBD ointments help in relieving itchiness, increase skin hydration, and improve skin health in patients with eczema and psoriasis. Cannabinoids like CBD interact with skin receptors, potentially treating atopic dermatitis through the entourage effect.
  • Reducing Acne Topical CBD may help treat acne vulgaris due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which can combat blemishes.
  • Reducing Pain and Inflammation Reducing Pain and inflammation reduction are the primary benefits of marijuana topicals, especially those potent with CBD. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can help treat skin conditions like contact dermatitis. A study showed that transdermal CBD could ease arthritis-related pain and inflammation, with no observed side effects.
  • Treating Migraines Migraine sufferers often use topical products for symptom relief. The American Migraine Foundation reports that CBD topicals like oil may ease migraine-related neck pain and joint stiffness. Dr. Stephen Silberstein of Jefferson University Hospital states that CBD oil can work locally without causing intoxication and may even prevent nausea and vomiting.
  • Reducing Cancer-Related Symptoms THC oil capsules have been shown to help manage severe neuropathic pain in cancer patients, improving their quality of life.
  • Moisturizing the Skin Cannabis topicals, rich in essential fatty acids, provide excellent moisturizing benefits. Ingredients like coconut oil and lavender oil in these products also enhance skin hydration.
  • Alleviating Symptoms Related to Neurological Disorders The neuroprotective properties of phytocannabinoids in cannabis topicals may benefit those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory-related conditions. CBD is especially noted for its minimal side effects in treating neurological disorders.
Cannabis topicals offer a wide range of health benefits, making them a valuable addition to your skincare and wellness routine.

How to Use Cannabis Topicals?

Cannabis topicals are easier to use than other forms of marijuana, such as smokable products and concentrates. Here is how to use it and a few tips to get the most out of your cannabis and CBD topicals:
how to use cannabis topicals
  1. Clean the Affected Area: Make sure the skin is clean where you need to apply the topical product
  2. Massage Gently: Massage gently for a few minutes, as this will help it absorb properly and also increase blood flow to the affected area.
  3. Start Slow: It is important to test the product to see if your skin is allergic to it. So, test by applying a small amount of the topical product to your skin to see if you have any reaction to it, especially if you are new to cannabis topical products.
  4. Consistency is Key: For chronic issues, consistent application may yield better results over time.
  5. Store Properly: To maintain their potency and extend shelf life, keep your topicals in a cool, dark place.


Cannabis topicals are natural and effective solutions for many different skin problems and also a topical option as a pain reliever. Due to their cooling and calming effects, these products provide localized treatment without the psychoactive effects of other marijuana forms. Available in various types, such as cannabis creams, oils, gels, and patches, cannabis topicals cater to diverse needs. By understanding how to use them properly and recognizing their potential benefits, individuals can integrate these topicals into their skincare and wellness routines.
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