Ask Cheri: Do Topical Marijuana Products Really Work? 

By  Cheri Sicard

 March 12, 2017

Dear Cheri,

Do topical cannabis applications really work?  I find this hard to believe.


It may seem difficult to believe that rubbing or slathering on a cannabis infused lotion, salve, or balm could actually get real tangible pain relieving or anti-inflammatory results, but there is actually solid science behind it.

Topical cannabis, with one exception -- click to read about it here, cannot enter the bloodstream and won’t make you high or a fail a drug test. Nonetheless, it can provide therapeutic benefits by bonding with the CB2 cannabinoid receptors that are abundant in the body’s largest organ, the skin.

Most people use cannabis infused topicals for relief of localized pain, muscle soreness or to reduce inflammation. But new evidence is emerging that they can also be effective for skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis.

Some topicals are made with THC rich decarboxylated cannabis. That means the marijuana has been heated into order to turn the THC-A (or THC acid) in the raw plant into THC, especially effective for sore muscle type pain. However many topicals choose to not decarboxylate preferring to keep the THC in its acidic form, as THC-A is effective for its anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective properties. Choose a THC-A rich topical for inflammatory pain, such as arthritis.

One such brand is Xternal Only products. Writer Cynthia Johnston, seventy-something, loves these topicals so much, she started working for the company!  Johnston says the first time she met Edward Breslin and Brian Walker, proprietors of Making Your Better Brands, the company that produces Xternal Only products, they asked her, "Where is your pain?"  Cynthia held up her gnarly hands and answered, "I'm a writer and it hurts to write!"

Cynthia tried Xternal’s analgesic spray the next morning and said she felt instant relief. She has been singing the praises of Xternal’s products ever since and says, “To say Making Your Better brands changed my life would be a massive understatement!"

Lots of Topical Marijuana Choices

As the market expands, a dizzying array of topical cannabis products are hitting the shelves including balms, salves, lotions, creams, bath soaks, massage oils and more. There are even topical marijuana applications specifically made for pets!

We are not sure if seniors are ahead of the curve when it comes to topical cannabis, or if they just have more reasons to use it, but in interviewing dispensary managers around the country, they all invariably report that topical cannabis products are especially popular with the over 50 crowd.

If you’ve been curious if topical cannabis might work for you, why not give it a try. Like Cynthia Johnston, you might just find relief is closer than you think.

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About the author

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