While hemp seed oil has long been used as a topical medicine due to its skin-nourishing essential fatty acid content, its THC-forward twin has only gained popularity in the cannabis community in the last couple of decades. To be clear, a number of cultures have created their own form of cannabis topicals throughout time - perhaps most notably in Mexican and Central American traditions, where raw plant matter was soaked in alcohol or oil and rubbed on the skin and muscles for pain relief. This straightforward method has been updated and modified with cannabis brands infusing creams, balms, salves, or oils that can be applied to the direct area causing discomfort.
These newer versions of THC and CBD topicals are designed for pain relief, reducing inflammation, muscle soreness, and soothing aching joints. They are an excellent example of the kind of benefits cannabis preparations can provide, as well as helping to change the perception of how cannabis can be used.
Topicals are made by infusing cannabis into a base lotion, oil, or balm either via using solvents to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material or by directly using the plant material in the formulation and later straining it from the final product. These procedures are monitored carefully and performed using controlled heat to ensure the vital cannabinoids are not destroyed in the infusion process. Once complete, this creates a cannabinoid-rich product that is often combined with other beneficial plants and oils to increase the pain-relieving power of topicals.
Different bases will result in different textures and certain formulations will be better suited to certain needs. For this reason, we at Grassdoor encourage everyone to explore the topical category and contents of each product when choosing a cannabis topical.
We are able to experience the pain-relieving qualities of cannabinoids thanks to the body’s EndoCannabinoid System (ECS), which regulates a host of bodily functions and sensations, including our response to pain. Receptors for the ECS are distributed throughout the body, the brain, and even the surface of our skin! Cannabis topicals work by interacting with cannabinoid receptors on our skin to provide comfort, flexibility, and mobility to the joints, muscles, and other areas of the body. Topicals are usually not made to be applied to broken skin, as certain ingredients can be irritants to any exposed wound, so we advise only using topicals as directed. They are usually full-spectrum products, as both the primary cannabinoids - THC and CBD - can help reduce inflammation and pain signals from the brain to provide pain relief.
This makes topicals a great choice for rubbing down your muscles after a tough hike or an intense workout, soothing the discomfort of aging joints, or gently massaging stiff necks and shoulders to help relax tension in the body. Cannabis topicals come in many shapes and forms, so be sure to explore Grassdoor's selection for the one that's right for you.
For non-cannabis consumers or those new to the plant, topicals are great for localized pain relief without an intoxicating effect - as cannabinoids do not reach the bloodstream, only penetrating the first few layers of skin. This makes topicals a truly universal option, as no prior cannabis experience is required, they are easy to apply, and results can be felt within minutes.