Nearly 225 million people across the United States use medical cannabis to help treat their illness issues. An estimated 62% of those customers turn to cannabis to manage chronic pain. Therefore, cannabis topicals can be excellent alternative medicine for people wanting to relieve muscle aches and pains.
What Are Cannabis Topicals?
They are products that contain cannabis and are applied topically, or to the skin. Commonly sold topical cannabis products include:
As you can see, a wide variety of topical products exist. Secondly, most are sold according to the amount of two cannabinoids they contain: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). They are typically high in CBD, though their THC contents can vary widely. In addition, topicals are available in full-spectrum options. Full-spectrum topicals are manufactured in a way meant to maximize the number of cannabinoids and terpenes that make it into the final product.
How Do They Work?
Like other cannabis products, topicals affect the human body because they contain cannabinoids. Cannabinoids travel to cannabinoid receptors through the skin where a topical has been applied. Once a connection is made between the cannabinoids and the receptors, you begin to feel the effects of the topical.
Human bodies have many cannabinoid receptors. Together, they make up what’s referred to as the endocannabinoid system. Researchers have found cannabinoid receptors in the:
- Spinal cord
- White blood cells
- Endocrine glands
- Gastroentestinal tract
- Reproductive organs
- Urinary tract
Why Do People Use Cannabis Topicals?
Most people use cannabis topicals to relieve pain. Whereas cannabinoids are absorbed through the skin, they have a localized effect. As a result, topicals allow you to target relief to a specific body part or area. For example, if your back hurts, you can rub cannabis lotion directly into your back.
Cannabinoids affect the body differently when they are absorbed through the skin compared to when they are ingested orally or inhaled. When you use cannabis topicals, you most likely won’t experience a high, even if the topical contains large amounts of THC. Since topicals have milder effects, they also tend to come with fewer potential side effects.
For many people, the lack of intensity makes topicals more attractive. Topicals can be used to treat pain without unwanted psychoactivity. Many people find they can use cannabis topicals while working, or in other situations in which they wouldn’t want to experience psychoactive effects.
Some cannabis topicals contain other ingredients also intended to help relieve pain. These additives are generally natural and can create a warm, cool, or tingly feeling. Some of these ingredients include:
Additionally, manufacturers might add essential oils to topicals. Some essential oils are thought to have their own effect. For example, lavender is believed to reduce anxiety and promote restfulness.
If pain relief is your primary reason for using cannabis, topicals might work well for you. They allow you to directly target the area that needs relief. Furthermore, they don’t usually create strong psychoactive effects, so most people can use them in nearly any situation.