11 Health Benefits of Cannabis Topicals

Tina Magrabi
Tina Magrabi - Content Writer

Nov 08 2021 - 4 min read

The benefits of cannabis topicals are much more than skin deep. While marijuana topicals like CBD oil are excellent for nourishing the skin, their therapeutic properties reach far below the surface.

Learn about the various benefits of cannabis topicals with our comprehensive guide to using topicals for your health. From relieving migraines to reducing acne, marijuana topicals have something to offer virtually everyone. 

Relieves Pain and Inflammation

Pain relief and inflammation reduction are two of the primary benefits of cannabis topicals, especially those containing cannabidiol (CBD). The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may extend to treating skin conditions like contact dermatitis. 

Reduces Acne

Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, marijuana topical products may also reduce acne. Add in the anti-inflammatory capabilities of the plant, and clear glowing skin could be just around the corner. 

Assists in Anti-aging Efforts for Skin

Fine lines, wrinkles, and scars can all make the skin age prematurely. Cannabis topicals may be useful anti-aging tools, especially for the reduction of scars. While topicals cannot reverse sun damage and other environmental factors, they can at least reduce the visible impact.  

Potentially Reduces Anxiety and Depression

Mental health disorders like anxiety and depression affect tens of millions of American adults and are on the rise. A pressing need for natural remedies has emerged, and cannabis topicals may offer a solution. CBD products may be beneficial in reducing symptoms of anxiety, including restlessness and panic. 

Relieves Migraine Pain

Rather than reaching for a bottle of aspirin, pick up a tube of cooling cannabis gel the next time a migraine strikes. Medical cannabis use in all forms including topicals has been shown to help relieve headaches in a majority of patients with few adverse effects.  

Alleviates Cancer-Related Symptoms

Severe neuropathic pain is among the most challenging cancer-related symptoms to treat. Research has indicated that THC oil capsules can help people with cancer manage their pain and experience a better quality of life. 

Helps Reduce Eczema and Psoriasis

Eczema and psoriasis are stubborn skin conditions that can be frustrating to the people dealing with them. Itchiness is one symptom that topical CBD ointment has demonstrated promise in relieving. Furthermore, CBD topicals could boost skin hydration and elasticity in people with these dermatological conditions.  

Moisturizes the Skin

Even if you don’t have any specific skin condition, you can channel the healing properties of cannabis topicals for pure moisturizing. The supplemental ingredients in cannabis topicals (like coconut oil and lavender oil) offer moisturizing benefits of their own. But CBD hemp oil is rich in essential fatty acids that naturally make the skin more supple.  

Alleviates Symptoms Related to Neurological Disorders

The phytocannabinoids in cannabis topicals have neuroprotective properties that can benefit people with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia and other conditions that lead to memory loss.  Researchers have cited CBD as especially relevant in the treatment of neurological disorders, as the cannabinoid causes very few side effects. 

Increases Sexual Pleasure

Whether smoked or smoothed onto the skin, cannabis in general is evidenced to enhance sexual pleasure. Cannabis topicals (notably oils) provide an added benefit of lubrication which plays a significant role in sexual experiences. 

Aids in Wound Healing

Marijuana topicals have proven to help with wound healing, including associated pain. One study reported that patients consumed fewer opioids when using topical cannabis for pain relief related to wounds. 

Finding the Right Cannabis Topicals

Just as cannabis topicals benefit a wide variety of conditions, they are available in many different forms, such as creams, lotions and balms. Here are five of the most effective types of marijuana topicals:

    • CBD Oil: The most well-known of all topical CBD products, oil may be applied directly to the skin or ingested orally like weed edibles. CBD oil is the gold standard topical and prized for its ability to relieve pain and inflammation
    • Transdermal Patches: Perhaps the most potent type of cannabis topical, transdermal patches are affixed to the skin for several hours or days to treat deep muscle soreness and even neuropathic pain
    • Cooling Cannabis Gels: Ease headaches, arthritis and other joint pain with refreshing gels packed with active compounds from the cannabis plant. 
    • Cannabis Butters: Body butter made with deeply moisturizing ingredients like almond oil, aloe vera, and beeswax are among the best cannabis beauty treatments available. 
    • Cannabis Salves: Topical salves from other sources have a long history of wound healing, and cannabis salves may offer the same benefit. 

cannabis topicals

CBD vs. THC Topicals

The main difference between CBD and THC topicals is that any THC product is potentially psychoactive. The intoxicating effects of topical THC will likely be mild but could still be a concern for some, especially anyone with anxiety which the cannabinoid can exacerbate.

Both CBD and THC bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in full-spectrum products. Products containing only CBD do not offer the same beneficial combination of cannabinoids and terpenes that the ECS needs for optimal functioning. In this sense, topicals with both CBD and THC as ingredients may be preferable, but the choice is always individual. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for cannabis topicals to work? 

The effects of cannabis topicals can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour to settle into the bloodstream. The average time is about 30 minutes but depends on your body chemistry and your goals in using the topical. You may need to reapply the topical several times throughout the day to maintain any therapeutic effects. 

Are cannabis topicals safe? 

Yes, cannabis topicals are among the safest marijuana ingestion methods. While mild side effects (like dry mouth and skin irritation) may occur, weed topicals are overall safe and well-tolerated among the general population. 

Do I need a medical card to purchase cannabis topicals?

In most places, you do not need a medical card to purchase CBD topicals. However, if you purchase a topical containing THC, you will need a medical marijuana card unless recreational cannabis is legal in your state or region.

Leafwell’s experienced physicians simplify the process of applying for a medical marijuana card. Reach out today and book an appointment with a doctor in our online clinic. 

Written by
Tina Magrabi
Tina Magrabi

Tina Magrabi is a writer and editor specializing in holistic health. She has written hundreds of articles for Weedmaps where she spearheaded the Ailments series on cannabis medicine. In addition, she has written extensively for the women's health blog, SafeBirthProject, as well as print publications including Destinations Magazine and Vero's Voice. Tina is a Yale University alumna and certified yoga instructor with a passion for the outdoors.

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