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New methods of cannabis consumption are bringing us further away from the notion that marijuana must be smoked (or that it has to get you high) for that matter. Cannabis-infused topicals are an example of how new methods of consumption are revolutionising perceptions of marijuana as their accessibility, safety, legality and efficacy invite even the most unlikely patrons into the world of medicinal cannabis.

What are cannabis topicals?

Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, balms, and oils that are absorbed through the skin for localised relief of pain and inflammation. Because they are non-intoxicating, topicals are often chosen by patients who want the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the cerebral euphoria associated with other delivery methods. Other transdermal innovations are fast arriving in the cannabis market, including long-lasting patches and lubricants for patients.

Strain-specific topicals harness certain terpenes and cannabinoids in the chemical profile. As well as THC, CBD and other cannabinoids, topical producers may also select ingredients and essential oils for additional relief, like cayenne, arnica, lavender and cloves.

How do cannabis-infused topicals work?

Cannabis-infused lotions, salves, oils, sprays, and other transdermal methods of relief work by binding to cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are found throughout the body and are activated either by the body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoids, or by cannabis compounds known as cannabinoids, for example THC and CBD.

Even if a topical contains active THC, it still won’t induce that intense “high” you would get from smoking or ingesting cannabis. With most topicals, cannabinoids cannot breach the bloodstream; they only penetrate for localised relief. Transdermal patches, however, do deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream and could have intoxicating effects with a high enough THC content.

Benefits of Topicals

The medicinal benefits of herbs have been known for centuries. Records of Native American, Roman, Egyptian, Persia, and Hebrew medical practices show that herbs were used extensively to treat practically every known illness. Many herbs contain powerful ingredients that, if used correctly, can help heal the body. The pharmaceutical industry was originally based upon the ability to isolate these ingredients and make them available in a purer form. Herbalists, however, contend that nature provides other ingredients in the same herbs to balance the more powerful ingredients such as CBD and THC.

These other components help to act as buffers, synergists, or counterbalances working in harmony with the more powerful ingredients. Therefore, when you use herbs in their complete form, your body’s healing process utilizes a balance of ingredients provided by nature.

Herbal remedies were used widely until the early 1990s, when what was to become the modern pharmaceutical industry began isolating individual active compounds and producing drugs based on them, and over the years, most people have become conditioned to rely on synthetic, commercial drugs for relief.

Topicals are most popularly chosen for localised pain relief, muscle soreness, tension, and inflammation, but anecdotal evidence is beginning to show a widening spectrum of potential benefits, from psoriasis, dermatitis, headaches and cramping.

What symptoms do cannabis topicals treat?

A THC enriched rub infused with cooling menthol and peppermint is a perfect way to wind down from a brutal workout or hike. For intense localised pain, you may try a warming balm that combines the deep pain killing properties of cannabinoids with a tingling, soothing sensation.

Inflammation symptoms may require a different chemical profile…Eg –

Arthritic pain is caused by inflammation. THC and CBD are both anti-inflammatory products, however, active THC is not for inflammation, but when left in its acid form and combined with CBD, the two work to get rid of inflammation and the pain that comes with it.

Topicals Potency

As with any form of cannabis, there are many factors to consider before using topical cannabis, including the potency of the product.

Different topicals have different benefits to offer depending on the way they are processed and the ingredients that are used, so it is vital you seek professional advice. You’d be surprised the difference one special ingredient can make.

Buying legal topical cannabis is the best way to ensure the product contains the advertised amount of THC and CBD.

There are no general guidelines for how much topical cannabis should be applied, so read the manufacturer’s instructions that comes with the specific product.

Although topical cannabis products provide a smoke-free alternative, there are many considerations when it comes to the amount you should apply, the potency and the potential effects.

How much should I apply?
Unlike smoking dried cannabis, which has been reported to produce a whole-body effect within minutes, the effect of intoxication after applying cannabis extract-infused topical products is believed to be low, although, at this time, there is a lack of research to evaluate the potential effects.

Why buy legal?

When you purchase a topical cannabis product from the legal market, you can be sure the THC and CBD content in the product is correct. 

Is a cannabis-infused topical right for me?

Cannabis topicals penetrate the skin to provide targeted relief, without entering the bloodstream. This makes them a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to focus the healing properties in specific problem areas rather than feel the effects through their entire body. CBD topicals can potentially provide relief for a variety of pain, headache, and skin issues including:

·       Joint or muscle pain

·       Dermatitis

·       Eczema

·       Psoriasis

·       Headaches/Migraines

·       Foot or Hand Pain

·       Arthritis

Using a cannabis-infused topical every day, multiple times a day allows the body to not only uptake CBD quicker, but also build a CBD level in those areas and can help prevent worsening inflammation.

How are cannabis topicals made?

Some topicals may have bases such as shea butter, or oils like coconut, avocado, jojoba, or vitamin E. These nourishing ingredients are great for the skin, providing added benefit to the medicinal properties of CBD. It’s also possible to find more traditional lotions with CBD or products with an Aquaphor base.

While lotions will be water based, creams usually have a fat or oil-based, and balms a thicker base such as beeswax. Water-based lotions absorb more quickly into the skin, but oil-based CBD topicals are more easily absorbed and get into the skin deeper. Meanwhile, gels can be useful for easier, thicker application, making them possibly preferable for those with reduced hand dexterity, such as arthritis patients.

Nature’s pharmacy is an abundant one. Marijuana is rich in compounds that have a beneficial effect on certain tissues and organs, and therefore, can be used as medicine to treat, or prevent disease; help nourish the immune system, as well as stimulate the regeneration of damaged tissue.

At iCannabis we are committed to establishing an Australian medical cannabis community comprised of passionate and caring people, focused on the highest quality medicine made with love and integrity.

If you need any advice or help with cannabis topicals, or sourcing full spectrum cannabis oil treatments please contact us.

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