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What are topicals?
The list of sophisticated new cannabis products lining product shelves of this new space is extensive, and impressive. More often than not, these products serve as a responsible introduction to medical cannabis. Where pipes and bongs have a tendency to add stereotypes into any conversation about cannabis therapy, new delivery methods like oils, edibles and topicals tend to have exactly the opposite effect.
When discussing contemporary cannabis treatment, it is best not to think about the plant as a one-dimensional option. The reality is the contrary. Patients are most comfortable around cannabis when thinking of therapy along the lines of non-abrasive products. In fact, many of these products, like topicals, don’t have psychoactive properties, inviting more people to join the discussion around the benefits of the plants and its extracts.
Simply put, topicals are cannabis-infused oils, balms and lotions. A non-intoxicating agent that allows patients to treat the skin by applying it directly to the affected area, topicals are reported to be a great tool for combatting localized pain. The increased popularity of topicals in recent years has led to the inception of a number of new transdermal products, like lubricants and time- release patches.
Introducing topical products
Topical products come in a handful of forms and take the face of literally dozens of brands. Last year, cannabis culture publication High Times created a list of the top-10 best topicals on the market. Among those products highlighted was a lavender bath soak designed exclusively for pain and menstrual relief.1
Likely the most popular product in the category, topical lotions have dramatically altered the way both patients and healthcare professionals communicate with, and about, cannabis treatment. These lotions typically come in a variety of cannabinoid concentrations and can be used on nearly every area of the body. Again, given they don’t promote psychoactive effects, topical lotions can be applied and used safely, even in high-risk environments like workplaces.
Balms constitute a relatively new advancement in the topical space, but an exciting one nonetheless. These products are most often used to treat acute pain and soreness in localized areas and can also come as lip balms. Some reports suggest that balms are increasingly being used by athletes and people living a particularly active lifestyle. Balms can easily be applied after a workout for quick relief from a number of pain symptoms.2
The evolution of topicals
Over the past decade, the number of quality topicals available on the market has increased exponentially. Where, in the past, most lotions were homemade and finding consistency, in the context of dosing, was an issue. These days, there are myriad reputable brands and products in the cannabis topicals category.
Evidence has shown that many of these new products can help with symptoms as varied as dermatitis and cramping, or muscle soreness and arthritis. Some topicals are infused with a mix of CBD and THC, or even THCA, which is reported to help with arthritic pain caused by joint inflammation.3
In addition to lotions, balms and infused-oils, the topicals spectrum now includes cannabis-based sprays. As one of the latest developments in the space, there are now sprays that incorporate Rick Simpson Oil, and a variety of THC and CBD combinations that make medicating with a spray a quick and convenient way to treat localized pain symptoms.
  1. 10 best topicals of 2017. https://hightimes.com/products/best-topicals-2017/6/
  2. 9 surprising benefits of cannabis topicals. https://www.green-flower.com/articles/379/9-surprising-benefits-of-cannabis-topicals

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