Cannabis: On Top of Topicals

One sector of the cannabis market that is expanding rapidly is topicals, or products applied to the skin. Cannabis topicals are offered in many forms and strengths, and are becoming highly popular with seasoned cannabis users and canna skeptics alike.

How Are They Made?

Cannabis topicals are made primarily with either CO2 oil or infused coconut oil. Most big name companies use CO2 oil, however, it is much easier for the DIYer to make their own products with coconut oil. Types of cannabis topicals range from salves to lotions, bath fizzies, soaking salts, bath scrubs, topical sprays, transdermal patches, personal lubricants and more.

How Do They Work?

Cannabinoids bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. While CB1 receptors are located primarily in the brain, CB2 receptors are scattered all over the body, including skin. Cannabinoids CBD and THCa are powerful anti-inflammatories, and activated THC provides pain relief. Using a product with both CBD and THC on a regular basis can be  preventative and also alleviate aches and pains. The biggest draw with cannabis topicals is that with the exception of transdermal patches, their effects are entirely non-psychoactive. The cannabinoids don’t enter the bloodstream and therefore don’t produce the typical euphoric feelings associated with consuming cannabis.

Who Can They Help?

Cannabis topicals can help with numerous ailments. They are used most commonly to combat body pain, joint and muscle inflammation, and soreness. There is currently very limited research on their efficacy, however, anecdotal evidence has shown that topicals can be used for dermatitis, psoriasis, neuropathy, rashes, burns, fungal infections and more. Cannabis topicals are typically geared toward women, with many products being developed for menstrual discomfort relief, pain reduction of endometriosis and effects of childbirth, and personal lubricants. Most topicals provide relief for 2 to 4 hours, however, transdermal patches can provide relief for up to 8 to 12 hours. These patches are placed on the wrist or back of the knee, and deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream.

Medicated Bath Bomb Recipe


1 cup baking soda

½ cup citric acid

½ cup Epsom salt or sea salt

1 tsp water

2 tsp essential oils

3 tsp infused coconut oil, warmed to liquid form


2 bowls


molds (cupcake tray, Easter eggs, bath bomb molds)

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Separately, mix liquid ingredients until combined. Slowly pour liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, making sure to whisk the mixture the whole time. Adding too much liquid will activate the citric acid, and then it won’t fizz when you add it to the bath. Your final mixture should resemble damp sand, and you should be able to clump it together between your fingers. Press your product into the mold, and allow to air dry for 24 to 48 hours. Store in an airtight container.

Essential Oil Recommendations

For relaxation and sleep: lavender, rose, bergamot; For skin soothing: chamomile; For a sensuous bath: ylang ylang, jasmine; For cold and flu: eucalyptus, peppermint

Canna Companies to Check Out

Apothecanna; Mary’s Medicinals; Empower Body Care; Whoopi & Maya

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