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How to Dose Cannabis Transdermal Patches

woman applying patches to her arm

Cannabis transdermal patches offer long-lasting symptom relief without the need for smoking or vaping.

Dosing THC patches involves applying a patch containing a specific amount of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids to your skin. Cannabinoids are absorbed by the skin and penetrate past the epidermal layers of the skin and then into the bloodstream in a controlled manner over time.

Since they come in prepackaged doses of 10 and 20 mg, it is easy to have a controlled dose. Always start with a low dose, wait, and observe the effects.

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Understanding Transdermal Patches

Transdermal patches have revolutionized the way we deliver various substances into the body. Transdermal delivery (TDD) is an attractive alternative to oral delivery methods like cannabis edibles or smoking. For example, some people would prefer to avoid smoking or vaping for health reasons. Others are “ediblocked” (i.e., unable to feel psychoactive effects from edibles due to unusual variation of a key liver enzyme). Additionally, edible methods are not good for some patients treating symptoms like nausea.

Think about nicotine patches — a common example of how these patches work. Similarly, transdermal cannabis patches provide a controlled and efficient cannabinoid delivery like THC and CBD into your bloodstream through the skin.

How THC Transdermal Patches Work

Transdermal cannabis patches work by adhering to your skin, allowing cannabinoids to gradually permeate through the layers of skin and enter your bloodstream.

This controlled release happens over an extended period, usually up to 12 hours, ensuring a consistent dose of the active ingredient. It’s important to note that while some patches contain THC, they are designed to provide medical benefits without causing intoxicating effects.

These patches typically use specialized technology to control the release of THC, so you can experience pain relief or other therapeutic effects without feeling “high.”

Transdermal Patches vs. Cannabis Topicals

Transdermal patches are distinct from cannabis topicals. While both are applied to the skin, topicals like creams and balms usually stay localized to the application area and do not enter the bloodstream. Topicals do not have a psychoactive effect.

Transdermal patches, on the other hand, are designed to penetrate the skin and deliver cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream for more systemic effects. Patches might be the better choice if you seek a more widespread therapeutic impact.

Transdermals may cause psychoactive effects. However, as the cannabinoids are released steadily into the bloodstream, transdermal patches are not necessarily as powerful as edibles or vaping concentrates.

Both cannabinoid-infused transdermal patches and cannabis topicals have their pros and cons. Topicals are useful for managing acne and skin conditions like eczema but not necessarily for some types of chronic pain. Transdermal patches can be useful for chronic pain and inflammation, but you must keep the area clean and as dry as possible all day for proper efficacy.

Factors Influencing Transdermal Patch Dosage

Cannabis transdermal patches often come with 10mg or 20mg of THC per patch. These transdermal patches offer an excellent way to dose consistently. However, even with a consistent dose, several other factors play a role in determining the appropriate dosage of cannabis transdermal patches for an individual, such as:

  • Individual tolerance and sensitivity: Just like with any cannabis product, individual responses can vary. Factors such as body weight, metabolism, and overall tolerance influence how your body reacts to cannabinoids.
  • The concentration of THC/CBD in the product: The potency of the patch, determined by the concentration of THC or CBD, will affect its overall strength. Start with patches with lower concentrations if you’re new to cannabis or have a low tolerance.
  • Area of application: The location where you apply the patch can influence how quickly cannabinoids are absorbed. Patches applied to areas with thinner skin, such as the wrists or ankles, may lead to faster effects.
  • Desired effect: The reason you’re using the patch matters. Different conditions may require different doses. For instance, someone using a CBD patch for anxiety might require a different dosage than someone using a THC patch for chronic pain.

General Guidelines for Dosing Transdermal Patches

  • Preparation: Clean and dry the skin area before applying the patch. Avoid using moisturizers or oils on the application site.
  • Start small: Begin with a lower-dose patch, especially if you’re new to cannabis. Starting with a low amount of THC allows you to gauge your body’s response to the cannabinoid and avoid any overwhelming effects.
  • Wait for the effects before reapplying: After applying a patch, be patient. It can take up to an hour to feel the effects. Avoid adding any additional patches too soon to prevent overconsumption.
  • Adjust dose as needed: If you find the effects are too mild or too strong, consider adjusting the dosage by trying a patch with a higher or lower concentration.
  • Duration: Most patches last for around 12 hours. Follow the recommended wear time to maintain consistent effects.
  • Importance of consistency: Applying the patch consistently daily ensures a steady release of cannabinoids.
  • Sun exposure: Some patches may need to be covered if you plan to be in direct sunlight for extended periods. Check the patch’s instructions for specific guidelines.
  • Keep transdermal patches dry: Apply them after showering or bathing, and keep them as dry as possible throughout the day to ensure the patch stays on.

The Bottom Line

Cannabis transdermal patches offer a convenient and efficient way to experience the benefits of cannabinoids without the need for smoking or vaping. By considering factors like individual tolerance, concentration, application area, and desired effects, you can tailor your patch usage to meet your specific needs.

Always start with a small dose, be patient for results, and adjust as necessary. With the right approach, transdermal patches can be a valuable addition to your cannabis wellness routine, providing long-lasting relief and support for various conditions.

If you want more personalized dosing recommendations, book a Cannabis Guidance session. You’ll receive customized advice on what ratios, cannabinoids, terpenes, and cannabis products are best for your condition or desired goals.

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