Topicals: Localized vs Systemic

by Aug 31, 2020Education

Cannabis topical products are a great way to get relief from pain while being able to use a form of consumption that does not involve ingesting or inhaling any medication. The various topical products found in Pennsylvania dispensaries have a wide variety of consistencies (lotion, cream, ointment, and salve), that can produce both localized and systemic effects.

Topicals that produce a localized effect, do not cross the blood-brain barrier to make it into the bloodstream; therefore, there is no “high” or “euphoric” feeling associated with this form of application.  Due to the lack of absorption into the bloodstream, a topical with localized effects can be applied liberally, multiple times throughout the day as needed, with no risk of negative side effects. Topicals with localized effects can also benefit patients who want to limit the amount of cannabis they ingest or inhale. Localized topicals are an excellent option for patients who want to relieve their symptoms by using THC, without experiencing the psychoactive effects. Topicals in the PA program that produce a localized effect include Ilera’s Breath, Soothe, and Ease topicals.

Topicals that are transdermal can produce a systemic effect. Since they do cross the blood-brain barrier, and therefore make it into the bloodstream, they can cause the same “high” or “euphoric” feeling as inhaling or ingesting cannabis. Patients should use caution when using both a transdermal topical with other forms of cannabis to prevent overmedicating.

The topical products available in Pennsylvania dispensaries are for external use only, but are safe to apply on knees, elbows, wrists, neck, ankles, back, shoulders, hands, scalp and temples. As these topical products come in a variety of THC only and THC/CBD combinations, they will help treat many aliments like muscle pains, spasms, soreness, stiffness, neuropathy, headaches and migraines, tendinitis, arthritic joints, eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, any dermatological-like inflammation of the skin.

Different topical products will provide different benefits, so it is important to consult a medical professional when selecting the best product for a patient’s medical aliments. Cannabis topical products provide another alternative option for patients to get the many therapeutic benefits that the cannabis plant can offer.


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