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Cannabis Column | June 21, 2022

How to dose cannabis topicals

Have you ever wondered how to dose cannabis topicals? In this article, we're going to teach you how to dose your cannabis topicals so you can get the most out of them.

How Do CBD topicals work?

Cannabis topicals are ointments, creams, foams, gels, lotions, or salves rubbed on the skin to treat certain skin conditions or relieve pain. 

Cannabis topicals usually contain THC or CBD. However, some topicals will also contain lesser-known cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, or CBC, and even an array of natural substances commonly used in topical remedies (such as lavender for soothing, or arnica and camphor for pain.) 

Cannabis topicals provide localized pain relief. Topicals penetrate the skin, where there are cannabinoid receptors that send signals that reduce mild pain. As a result, topicals are perfect for treating sore muscles or achy joints.

Does CBD ointment contain THC?

CBD ointment (or CBD balm) is one of many different formulations of CBD topicals available on the market today. CBD products are made from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC. 

CBD ointment may contain very low levels of THC, but will not have any intoxicating effects. 

What is hemp infused balm used for?

You can apply a long-lasting CBD or CBG hemp balm directly where you need it, like a stiff neck, sore muscle, or achy joint. Hemp-infused balms are used to treat achy muscles or sore joints - or just to moisturize your skin.

Does THC cream get you high?

According to the science, topical THC products will not get you high. However, some people on the internet report different results. 

As we discussed in How Different Cannabis Ingestion Methods Affect You:

According to the limited animal studies, THC absorption via the dermis is long-lasting and slow but has low bioavailability. THC is highly lipophilic and hydrophobic, which results in slower absorption and poor bioavailability. A chemical is lipophilic when it dissolves in fat. Chemicals that are hydrophobic repel water. To get into the bloodstream, THC must penetrate the skin's aqueous (water) layer. Since THC repels water, it can only pass through the skin in a limited amount.
Due to this, peak plasma concentration is reached after 90 minutes, and those levels are maintained for 48 hours. But THC plasma levels stay low even at the peak of plasma concentration. In addition, it has been reported that CBD penetrates the skin about ten times more effectively than THC when it is absorbed through the skin due to its lower lipophilic nature. Due to this, topical CBD is potentially more potent than topical THC.

However, some cannabis users suggest there are two factors that can enhance the absorption of THC through the skin:

●      Topical exposure: THC that is in contact with your skin for a prolonged period of time has a greater opportunity to enter your bloodstream. While creams and lotions dry quickly, THC-infused bath bombs remain in contact with your skin for an extended period of time, boosting the chance cannabinoids will make it into your bloodstream.

●      Your individual physiology: THC interacts differently in every individual's unique endocannabinoid system, influencing the psychoactive effects that manifest. Those who are particularly sensitive to THC might feel intoxicating effects even from topicals.

How to dose cannabis topicals

The recommended dose of cannabis topicals is not clear based on available research, but medical cannabis patients should use topicals with cannabinoid concentration of at least 5 mg/ml.

Before applying a topical to a large area, spot test it on a small area to determine if you have any reaction.

Most topicals provide relief anywhere from within 30 minutes up to 3 hours (or more). The skin usually absorbs topicals within an hour, although balms and thicker formulations may last longer. An immediate onset and three-hour duration is generally the norm for cannabis topicals.

Get started on your cannabis wellness journey

Have you started your cannabis wellness journey? Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that helps you discover purposeful cannabis consumption so you can achieve your wellness goals with cannabis and CBD. On the Jointly app, you can find new cannabis products, rate products based on how well they helped you achieve your goals, and track and optimize 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. These 15 factors include your dose, the environment in which you consume cannabis, who you are with when you ingest, how hydrated you are, the quality of your diet, how much sleep you got last night, and more. Download the Jointly app on the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started on your cannabis wellness journey.

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