Hi Gar, I am in my early eighties. I follow your column every month and have become very enlightened about infused topical products. My doctor has given his OK, so I am ready to try them. What I need to know is, Are there any side effects? Thank you,
Betty Los Angeles, CA
Hi Betty, The beauty of topicals is basically — Relief with no side effects. A few patients have reported slight sleepiness when using higher cannabinoid topicals around the temples or back of the neck. As for bad or unpleasant side effects, there are none, making infused topicals one of the best choices for many people.
Dear Gar, How do I know how much to use and how often, if I want to try topicals? Larry Mt. Shasta, CA
Hi Larry, Glad that you are considering topicals. One of the beauties of infused skin care products is ease of use. A patient can use a topical as needed. The duration of relief will depend on the product’s strength and the ingredients. If you feel you are having to apply too often, try a stronger product, or one using a different base, such as an oil, gel, lotion or salve.
Hi Gar, I have been thinking of using a transdermal patch for my shoulder pain. I don’t smoke, and am looking for a convenient way to stop my pain. I have used topical salve, which worked great but I don’t like a greasy feeling. Bill Culver City, CA
Hi Bill, Although transdermal patches are applied topically by affixing to the skin, they do not behave as a topical would. A transdermal patch contains a substance to promote absorption of an exact dose of cannabinoids, such as 10mg of THC in a certain amount of time. While these patches work very well, they are totally different in their effects. A transdermal patch behaves much more like an edible or smoking, but with a very exact dosage. The absorption agent in the patch causes the THC to enter the bloodstream via the CB1 receptors, as with smoking or edibles. Topicals can use a very large dose of cannabinoids per application, due to the fact that topicals travel via the non-psychoactive CB2 receptors. For localized pain, topicals usually bring the most relief. Better yet, try both and get the cannabinoids to both systems. If you don’t like the feel of a salve, try a cream or a gel.
Gar Souders has over a decade of research into the effects & formulations of cannabis infused topicals. He is the Founder of CannaTopics and is a member of several Pro Cannabis organizations.