Cannabis was once only known for its psychoactive properties but today it’s also used medicinally and recreationally. Topical applications are becoming more popular because they allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without having to smoke it. Cannabis plants produce two main types of cannabinoids: THC (the psychoactive ingredient), and CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabinoid). These compounds act differently depending on their application method.

For example, applying CBD cream directly onto the skin allows the compound to penetrate the epidermis and dermis layers of the skin. This makes it easier for the body to absorb the substance into the bloodstream. In contrast, smoking marijuana delivers CBD through the lungs, where it circulates throughout the entire body. Topical applications are effective at delivering therapeutic doses of CBD to specific areas of the body, such as the joints, muscles, bones, and scalp. They can provide relief from pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, insomnia, and other conditions. Cannabinoids work well together with essential oils, herbs, and vitamins to create synergistic combinations.

What is a cannabis topical?

A cannabis topical is an alternative medicine that uses cannabis products. Cannabis topicals include things like cannabis oils, marijuana creams, ointments, lotions, gels, patches, pills, sprays, tinctures, suppositories, and vaporizers. They're becoming increasingly popular because they are easy to use, discreet, provide relief without having to deal with smoke or smell, and pose no risk of adverse effects on your psyche.

The most common topicals you'll find in dispensaries are cannabis-infused creams or balms, which offer additional skincare benefits. However, in recent years, cannabis entrepreneurs have been introducing cannabis body oils, sexual lube, bath salts, bath bombs, sprays, and even transdermal patches to meet the demand for topical solutions.

What are the different kinds of cannabis topicals?

Topicals come in a variety of forms, including salves, balms, oils, ointments, liquids, gels, sprays, roll-ons, sticks, pads, patches, and powders. 

Creams and lotion

Cannabis cream is just what it sounds like, a topical application of cannabis oil mixed into a carrier oil. A cannabis lotion is similar except it contains no alcohol, making it suitable for sensitive skin types. Both products contain cannabinoids, naturally occurring compounds found in marijuana plants. Cannabinoids work in many ways to treat conditions including pain relief, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.


Cannabis and CBD oils are versatile. You may apply them topically, ingest them orally, or use them both ways together. A small amount of cannabis under the tongue or a tablespoonful can complement topical application while a dropper full of CBD oil can help treat insomnia or anxiety.


Cannabis salves are extremely similar to lotions and creams but are said to have additional healing benefits. Just like other salves, cannabis salves contain beeswax which makes them softer and more pleasant to apply. This makes them popular among individuals suffering from skin conditions. 

How do cannabis topicals work?

Topicals are a relatively recent addition to the cannabis market. Unlike edibles, they don't require cooking or baking. Instead, topical products are simply massaged onto the skin and absorbed by the epidermis. This process allows consumers to enjoy the full spectrum of therapeutic properties offered by cannabinoids without having to worry about the psychoactive side effects associated with inhaling marijuana.

How are topicals used?

Topical marijuana is one of the easiest cannabis products to use. You simply have to apply it or rub it on your body where you feel the itchiest or sorest. Some people use topical marijuana for localized pain relief, while others use them for general wellness. Most topical marijuana contains amounts of THC and CBD.

Many people apply topicals to localized areas for pain or inflammation relief, such as arthritis, muscle aches, cramps, and joint stiffness. Others use them to reduce stress and anxiety, treat insomnia, and relieve headaches. Using topical marijuana after a shower or bath seems to increase effectiveness because the skin's moisture and openness of pores increase absorption. However, there is no scientific evidence proving this. 

Health benefits of cannabis topicals 

Treat pain and inflammation

Topical cannabis products like creams, lotions, oils, and patches are used increasingly to treat pain and inflammation. A recent study suggests that topical cannabinoid use could help people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and neuropathy.

Treat skin conditions

Cannabis compounds are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and researchers say that topical application of THC help treats a wide range of skin conditions. Clinical studies have found that topical cannabis oil has significant anti-proliferative effects on melanoma cells and that topical CBD could reduce inflammation and itchiness associated with psoriasis. 

Treat headaches

Cannabis cream or lotion can help relieve headaches. A recent clinical study found that people who used cannabis creams had fewer migraines over six months compared to those who didn’t use them. Researchers believe that cannabinoids like THC and CBD work together to reduce inflammation and pain signals. In addition, cannabidiol (CBD), which doesn’t produce the psychoactive effects of marijuana, seems to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Migraine sufferers often turn to prescription drugs, which come with side effects. Many people find that hemp oil products provide relief without causing drowsiness and unlike pharmaceuticals, there aren’t reports of serious adverse events linked to topical cannabis use.

Improve sexual pleasure 

Topical cannabis use is becoming increasingly popular among people looking for ways to enhance their sexual experience. Topicals are applied directly onto the surface of the body where it penetrates quickly entering the bloodstream. They are generally used during foreplay, intercourse, masturbation, and even postcoital cuddles. The most common forms of topical application include oils, lotions, creams, gels, sprays, patches, balms, salves, and suppositories. Some people prefer to apply cannabis oil directly to their partner’s genitals for added stimulation.

Shop for topicals online

Are there side effects to topical CBD?

Cannabis topicals aren’t just great for pain relief, some people use them to treat acne, eczema, psoriasis, and even arthritis. While there are no known serious side effects, it’s important to understand how cannabis interacts with the body.

Here are some possible side effects or adverse reactions you might experience during topical application:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Skin allergic reaction
  • Mild skin irritation
  • Tingling

Shop for cannabis topicals

If you’re interested in trying out topicals, Seed and stone sells a wide variety of cannabis products to meet your needs. We are an owner operated non-medical cannabis retail brand with various marijuana stores in Canada. You can pick up your oder from one of our stores or have it directly delivered to your house for greater convenience. 

Here is a list of the cannabis products we sell: 

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