Topical Cannabis: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Topical Cannabis: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Cannabis leaf resting on cannabis topical

Back in the days before statewide legalization of cannabis in Nevada, ‘cannabis,’ ‘marijuana,’ and ‘weed’ were often seen as dirty words that the public at large didn’t get to talk about. As a result, the majority of people really had no idea how many amazing medicinal benefits cannabis could have. 

Then, once cannabis began its journey from forbidden substance to accepted recreational and medicinal product in Nevada, there was still a bit of skepticism. 

“Cannabis can’t really do all the things people are claiming it can, right?”

Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of topical cannabis. Ever since medicinal use of cannabis became widespread in the state, there’s been hesitation from some to accept that simply applying cannabis oil or cream to parts of the body could have profound medical benefits.

Well, we’re here to set the record straight. Here’s everything you need to know about the research, science, and truth behind topical cannabis.

How Does Topical Cannabis Work?

Topical cannabis is any cannabis-based or cannabis-infused product that’s applied directly to the exterior of the body for medical benefits. Topical cannabis won’t get you high for two reasons— it can’t be absorbed in high enough quantities into your bloodstream through your skin, and nearly all topical cannabis is CBD based in the first place.

Topical cannabis usually comes in the form of creams, oils, and balms, but sometimes the category is widened to include any cannabis-based product that’s not meant to be ingested or consumed in one way or another— cannabis bath bombs, beauty products, etc.

The specific uses and methods of application depend on the product itself— and the benefits it’s designed to provide.

cannabis leaf with green colored goop

Benefits of Topical Cannabis

The benefits of topical cannabis span a wide range of treatments. But the most popular and widely studied use for topical cannabis is in treatment of localized pain.

CBD lotions and balms are used all over the country in helping to alleviate pain originating from a wide range of causes. For example, roughly 80% of arthritis sufferers have either used CBD or considered using it to treat their symptoms. Nearly a third report that they’re currently using CBD to treat arthritis symptoms, with 55% of them using a topical product.

One of the benefits of CBD-based treatments for pain is that they don’t come with side effects of NSAIDs and other pharmaceutical painkillers, which can include elevated risk of heart complications, water retention, and more. Meanwhile, many people suffer allergic reactions to common anti-inflammatory drugs that make using them a non-starter.

Topical CBD has also been shown to help with eczema, psoriasis, and general joint and muscle soreness due to a range of causes— exercise, minor injuries, and age.

One of the best things that patients report loving about topical CBD is that it doesn’t just mask pain, but actually makes it go away for a period— something that chronic pain sufferers in particular appreciate deeply.

Does It Really Work?

To understand how topical CBD works for treating pain, it’s important to start with how cannabis works generally. Inside every cannabis plant are naturally occurring chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. The way these cannabinoids interact with your body to produce their effects has to do with something within your body known as your endocannabinoid system. 

The endocannabinoid system is a system of receptors inside your body that connects the brain and nervous system. Think of it as a set of receivers, and these receivers connect with natural compounds in your body called endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids connect to the receivers and tell your body and brain to do things, like release or reduce certain chemicals. 

When you use cannabis, the cannabinoids inside bind with those very same receptors and send even more powerful signals than your endocannabinoid system. It’s like taking a multivitamin— your body already has some of those vitamins, but you’re giving it a more concentrated dose.

Topical cannabis used for pain treatment sends signals to reduce and inhibit the production of chemicals that cause pain and inflammation. A range of studies have been shown to back up this claim.

The results are in— topical cannabis can be incredibly effective for treating pain, inflammation, and other ailments in a wide range of people.

cannabis topicals with bath balms and brushTopical Cannabis at Green

Looking to try topical cannabis products for yourself? Here are a couple of our favorite topical brands currently available at Green.

Nordic Goddess

We love the cannabis-infused balms crafted by Nordic Goddess, combining plant extracts and healing herbs to rejuvenate skin and offer robust health benefits. Try their Body Balm or Cooling Balm to experience the benefits for yourself.

Baskin Essentials

Baskin Essentials produces a range of natural products that are infused with CBD and designed to provide major health benefits. From their Lavender Bliss bath bomb to their Sports Cream for muscle recovery, Baskin Essentials provides quality and sustainability in every product.