Topicals 101: A Beginner’s Guide

New methods of consumption challenge the idea that cannabis should only be smoked in flower form. Among those alternate methods are topicals. But what are topicals and what do they do? Essentially, topicals are balms, creams, lotions, and oils infused with cannabis compounds which are applied directly to problem areas for localized relief.

Topicals are not new. One of the earliest known topicals is found in ancient Greece, where healers would soak cannabis seeds in warm water or wine, which was then applied to treat ear pain. Ancient Egyptians used cannabis tinctures to treat eye sores. Cannabis remedies might have been most prevalent in ancient China, where they had more than 120 medicinal applications.

Today’s topicals are more refined, more potent, and you have a much wider product selection than our ancient ancestors. You can even find topicals formulated to treat specific symptoms, including:

  • Pain relief
  • Muscle soreness
  • Inflammation
  • Tension
  • And more

Topicals work by interacting with our bodies network of cannabis receptors, which are called CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors help activate the cannabis compounds in topicals by allowing them to interact with endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids that are found naturally in our bodies. Thus, we are able to feel the euphoric and wellness benefits cannabis offers without having to smoke plant material.

Because topicals don’t pass the blood barrier as easily as combusted flowers or edibles, you’re less likely to feel the intense high that smoking and eating cannabis provides. But, topicals aren’t meant to deliver strong euphoric effects. Rather, they’re designed to offer health and wellness benefits. In fact, many topicals are THC free and have minimal to no intoxicating properties.

Topicals come in a variety of forms, including:

  • Lotions, creams, and balms
  • Oils
  • Bath salts
  • Salves and ointments
  • Transdermal patches

Because topicals are meant to be applied directly to problem areas, many products offer targeted, localized symptom relief. Targeted means relief of a specific symptom, like muscle soreness. Localize means it’s applied to a specific body part, like your lower back. Consult your Budtender to determine what products will work best for your targeted, localized symptoms. The more specific your symptoms, the more specific relief topicals can provide.

Topicals aren’t only reactionary remedies, but preventative as well. If you know you’ve got a long hike or an intense workout planned, apply topicals prior to engaging in the activity to help prevent pain before it even starts.

Some topicals are made from food-grade oils, like olive oil, making them safe for ingestion as well as direct application to the skin. Always read the packaging carefully to learn if a specific topical is safe prior to consuming.

Did you know you can make your own topicals at home using cured flowers and a variety of oils or solvents? Homemade topicals are a great way to learn how to work with cannabis on your own. There are many recipes online that are simple-to-follow and provide you with an effective topical recipe.

Not all topicals contain THC. Cannabis contains many healing properties, many of which are non-intoxicating. One of the most prominent is CBD, which has no euphoric effects and a host of health benefits.

You can also find topicals with a ratio of cannabis compounds, starting at 1:1 and going all the way up to 20:1 and higher. A THC/CBD ratio can be more effective than straight THC or CBD topicals because you’re getting more active cannabis compounds with each application.

Consult your Budtender to learn more about CBD-only topicals and THC/CBD ratio topicals.

Come in today and see our large selection of topicals. Or, pick up some cured flowers and make your own topicals. There’s plenty to discover at Oasis.

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