With more states legalizing marijuana, topicals have become a popular treatment for pain and inflammation. Marijuana topicals are a cream or ointment that you apply directly to the affected area. Within minutes, you may experience pain relief. Topicals provide the benefits of THC without the “high” so you can safely treat inflammation at home.
While you can buy premade ointments, marijuana growers often prefer to make their own topicals. Our seed bank features dozens of strains that relieve pain and treat skin conditions. Here’s what you need to know before you make topicals with your marijuana plants.
How Do Marijuana Topicals Work?
Marijuana topicals work just like any other ointment. You’ll rub it on your skin, then wait for the ointment to take effect. Instead of smoking marijuana to promote a general feeling of wellness, you’ll use topicals to target a specific area. Lotions, ointments, balms, sprays, and creams are different types of products.
When you use topicals, your skin absorbs the cannabinoids and stores them in fat cells. This keeps the active compounds in a centralized area so they won’t enter your bloodstream. As a result, you’ll enjoy fast pain relief without the side effects of THC that worry some people.
What Do They Treat?
Marijuana topicals treat a variety of conditions, including the following:
- Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema
- Minor cuts, scratches and wounds
- Insect bites
- Dry and flaky skin
- Joint pain
- Mild burns
- Swelling and bruises
Depending on the product that you use, topicals can moisturize your skin, reduce the signs of aging and kill bacteria. Some brands add THC to beauty products.
Will Topicals Get You High?
Unlike other forms of marijuana, topicals don’t get you high. Your skin absorbs the topical when you rub it on the surface, but the THC doesn’t enter your bloodstream. You won’t feel the mental, psychoactive “high” or experience negative side effects like headaches or dry mouth. Just make sure you don’t accidentally ingest the topical–if you do, the cannabinoids will enter your bloodstream and bind to the receptors in your brain, producing the “high” feeling.
Topicals are ideal for people who want the healing benefits of THC without the side effects. Even if you’ve never smoked marijuana in your life, you can use topicals without feeling that disorientation or giddiness. Topicals are also discreet because they don’t produce smoke or the familiar “skunky” smell.
How Long Does it Take to Work?
Once you rub the topical onto your skin, you’ll feel the effects within ten minutes or less. The cannabinoids linger in your skin for the next few hours. Topicals with a higher concentration of THC last longer than other varieties.
Are CBD and THC Topicals the Same?
CBD and THC topicals are quite different, despite both being made from the cannabis plant. CBD and THC are cannabinoids in marijuana, but products with CBD and less than 0.3% THC are legal, and they don’t produce that mental high. Instead, they can treat pain, relieve anxiety, and help you sleep at night.
If CBD is all you need, you don’t have to pay for THC topicals. However, marijuana topicals incorporate the full spectrum of cannabinoids. When THC and CBD work together, they create full, all-encompassing pain relief that you might not get with CBD alone. Additionally, products with both THC and CBD often don’t make the user high, because the CBD counteracts THC to some degree, while still allowing the latter to do its great work.
Are Marijuana Topicals Legal?
If marijuana is legal in your region, you can buy and use these products. Otherwise, topicals are illegal just like traditional forms of marijuana. They won’t get you high, but they’re still illegal due to the THC content. Luckily, CBD topicals are legal throughout the United States, so you can enjoy similar effects without breaking the law.
Do Marijuana Topicals Show Up on Drug Tests?
Typically, marijuana topicals don’t make you test positive for THC. You’ll need THC to enter your bloodstream to trigger a positive response. Since these products don’t make you “high,” you can go to work or school without anyone suspecting otherwise. Still, products with THC have caused positive test results in rare cases. If you don’t want to risk it, skip the topical before your drug test or use CBD topicals instead.
Can You Make Your Own at Home?
If marijuana is legal in your area, you can order topicals online or buy them from the local dispensary. You can also make topicals at home similar to the way that you’d make cannabutter. Grind the cannabis, cook it with oil, strain the mixture and enjoy your topical. Add your favorite essential oils to give your ointment a fresh or fruity scent.
Overall, topicals provide fast, soothing relief for pain, itching, burns, inflammation, and dry skin. Topicals won’t get you high, but they’re still illegal if your state hasn’t legalized cannabis. You can use CBD topicals if marijuana isn’t legal in your region. Buy marijuana topicals from a dispensary, or make topicals with your favorite strains at home.