The Complete Guide to Cannabis Topicals for Beginners
When it come to cannabis you likely think of smoking it first – closely followed by the other two main consumption methods, vaping and edibles. A much more underappreciated but extremely useful way to use cannabis is in the form of topicals – which includes any cannabis product that is meant for use on the skin, rather than to be ingested directly by inhaling or eating.
This Complete Guide to Cannabis Topicals for Beginners will cover just about everything that a newbie needs to know when it comes to using topical cannabis products like those offered by Evergreen Organix.
What Are Cannabis Topicals?
Cannabis topicals is a blanket term that covers several different types of cannabis infused products that are meant for use on the skin rather than through ingestion by inhaling or eating, which is the more traditional way to medicate with cannabis.
More popular cannabis topicals generally include creams, balms, salves and lotions – which are products that are intended for external use only. Evergreen Organix has products like Intimacy Oil, Menstrual Relief Oil, and an Herbal Relief Salve that would all fall under this category.
On the other hand, there are also products like Evergreen Organix Coconut Oil, which is made 100 percent solvent free and is perfect both for adding to your food in place of other oils – or as a topical.
You can even use this coconut oil as a carrier oil for use with other essential oils like Lavender, Peppermint and others that may have medicinal value. Sometimes, the previously mentioned topicals that are intended for external use only will be infused with essential oils to provide additional benefits.
How Are Cannabis Topicals Are Made?
Cannabis is a tricky plant – the cannabinoids that provide a large amount of the medicinal value of the plant have many different benefits, which change when they are heated to different temperatures.
The cannabinoid found in raw plant cannabis – the buds you grind up to pack a in a bowl or roll into a joint – is called THCA and is a non-psychoactive version of the cannabinoid. However, when heated at the right low temperature – or decarboxylated – it will change its chemical makeup, becoming what we all know as psychoactive THC.
Many of the medicinal benefits of THC and THCA are the same – but there are enough differences that some topicals will call to decarboxylate the cannabis prior to combining it with the topical. However, even once decarboxylated, when absorbed through the skin, you will not feel the psychoactive effects of active THC.
How Do Cannabis Topicals Work?
To understand how cannabis topicals work, first you must be aware of an entire system in your body you probably didn’t learn about in high school. The Endocannabinoid System is a system of receptors that are found throughout the body that are specifically designed to bind to cannabinoids like THC and CBD, but endocannabinoids, similar compounds created within our own bodies.
“The body contains two main cannabinoid receptors: CB1, the psychoactive receptor that also mediates pain and many other functions, and CB2, a non-psychoactive receptor that mediates pain and inflammation,” says Ethan Russo, MD, a cannabinoid researcher and the former president of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS).
“Both are operative in the skin and affect pain, itch and inflammation associated with many dermatological conditions.”
Studies have found that the endocannabinoid system may be responsible for many of our bodies functions and ensuring homeostasis – or proper regular functioning. When something is off – and our bodies cannot produce enough endocannabinoids – scientists suggest that adding cannabinoids from an alternative source, like cannabis, may bring a balance back to things.
“The skin is a difficult barrier to broach with medications,” Dr. Russo explains. “There are layers that require a drug to be water-soluble and others that must be lipid (fat) soluble. Cannabinoids are lipophilic (fat-loving) and do not penetrate readily into the bloodstream.”
Considering there are cannabinoid receptors found directly in the skin, applying a cannabis infused topical is a very direct way to take care of aches and pains without concern about any psychoactive effects. For someone looking to use cannabis as a natural alternative to get through their work day – but were concerned about the issue of impairment – will likely find that topicals make an excellent alternative to smoking or vaping.
CBD or THC: Which Do You Need?
Now that we know that cannabis infused topicals come in many forms, with different active cannabinoids and how they work when applied to the skin, it’s time to determine what topical will be best for you. Most commonly, topicals will be infused with either CBD or THC – or both.
The truth is, both topicals have a good chance at relieving your aches and pains whether they are associated with daily use and labor heavy jobs, or chronic pain that accompanies an underlying health condition.
If you are looking for relief from pain, you will likely find that a topical that has both THC and CBD, or THC/THCA will have the most potential to help you. However, chances are, it will take a bit of experimentation with topicals before you are able to determine exactly what you are looking for – but this is true of all cannabis products.
Evergreen Organix offers products that are specific to your needs – with one of the newest topicals aimed at pain relief being a Menstrual Relief Oil that can be used topically on the abdomen – or internally by applying the oil directly to a tampon prior to use.
Another option for pain relief – for those with more generalized pain – is the Herbal Relief Salve – which has 100 milligrams of THC, 25 milligrams of CBD, and is formulated specifically to help with stiff and aching joints and muscles.
When looking further than pain relief, you may be surprised to find out just how many medical conditions may respond well to cannabis infused topicals. There may even be some uses for cannabis topicals that you might not have considered before – like enhancing your intimate experiences, for example.