Last updated: May 7, 2018

What Does Topical Mean?

A topical is a cannabis-infused cream, oil, or lotion that is intended to be applied to the skin.

Most cannabis topicals don’t contain the levels of THC required to make a person feel high; rather, topicals are used to treat or support everything from anti-aging to arthritis, including alleviating temporary skin conditions, muscle soreness, and inflammation.

Topicals are available at most medical marijuana dispensaries or can be easily homemade. Increasingly, topicals are also being made available at local farmers' and craft markets.


Maximum Yield Explains Topical

Topicals are most commonly used as a massage cream to relieve muscle pain. They are known to relax and soothe the body shortly after application.

Cannabis-infused lotions and other transdermal compounds work by binding to the body’s CB2 receptors. These receptors are activated by the body’s own endocannabinoids, which the body either produces naturally or gets through compounds known as phytocannabinoids that are found in cannabis.

With topical cannabis creams, the cannabinoids don’t reach the bloodstream, but rather penetrate the epidermal CB2 receptors. Alternatively, there are also transdermal patches that do deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream and have the potential to cause a high if the THC levels are high enough.

Most marijuana topicals are commonly used for localized pain relief or to treat tension, muscle soreness, or inflammation. At this point, there hasn’t been enough research done regarding the lasting health benefits of using topicals, but there is some anecdotal evidence supporting the practice.


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