THC & Topicals[email protected]
By:Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D.
You’ve heard of CBD but you may be asking: why is there THC in my topical?
As Mitch Earleywine Ph.D. puts it, “research reveals that cannabinoids can help pain and inflammation. Generally, THC might have the edge for most types of pain while CBD may be better for some kinds of inflammation.” Data reveal that both THC and CBD have both analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Nevertheless, THC is likely the better analgesic and CBD likely the better anti-inflammatory. Evidence for CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects is reviewed here. A stellar review of cannabinoids’ impact on inflammation is here. Relevant to arthritis, this animal study shows the effects of CBD for both inflammation and pain.
Cannabis Entourage Effect
The entourage effect likely applies for topicals as well, meaning that different types of cannabinoids and terpenes working together is ideal. However, relevant data is not published yet. We do get terpene absorption from a topical, but the research is behind the curve for which terpenes penetrate best.
Will THC Topicals Get Me High?
It’s possible that a low-tolerance or inexperienced user could notice subjective effects of a local, topical application above 15mg THC, but most of these are pleasant and non-impairing. In addition, the other active ingredients have delightful “aromatherapy” effects, so application near the nose is bound to create some relaxation or cognitive enhancement. (Our own peppermint-containing products have the potential to perk folks up and even improve clerical tasks.)
CBD & THC Medical Research
We can confirm transdermal absorption for both THC and CBD, as well as the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects for both, but no one has pitted them against each other in humans in a transdermal experiment. Two of the seminal studies of transdermal THC are referenced below; they emphasize it really depends on the carrier—the other substances in the balm or patch. Our products have multiple substances that contribute to analgesia and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, our other components (peppermint, in particular) also contribute, as mentioned above.