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Mary's Medicinals helps compare topical vs transdermal cannabis

Topical vs Transdermal Cannabis

When it comes to topical vs transdermal cannabis products, many people are often wondering what types of options are available. Topical and transdermal cannabis products are two popular options for self-care, available from great brands like Mary’s Medicinals. As the types of cannabis available and legally available have expanded, so have the types of products and methods of administering them.

Topical cannabis products are applied directly to the skin. They include creams, lotions, balms, salves, and ointments that contain cannabinoids like THC or CBD. These topical products are often used to treat localized pain, inflammation, and other skin irritations. Some may also be used as a treatment for certain medical conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.

Transdermal cannabis products are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Transdermal patches are one type of product in this category that contain cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD).

But what’s the difference between these two increasingly popular products? Keep reading to find out the truth straight from our Turlock dispensary team!

Researching medical cannabis

Defining Topical vs Transdermal Cannabis

When it comes to cannabis products, topical vs transdermal cannabis products exist in two distinct varieties. Topical cannabis products are applied directly onto the skin and are designed for topical, external use only. Some topical cannabis products include lotions, creams, salves and balms.

Transdermal cannabis products on the other hand contain ingredients such as patch-like materials or adhesive-type substances to allow the topical product to penetrate through the skin’s natural barrier into the systemic circulation system or endocannabinoid system.

While topical cannabis indicates topical (on top of) areas of the skin, transdermal refers to traversing (through or across) of certain barriers into a circulatory system within the body. Both topical and transdermal products provide unique options for delivering cannabinoids to specific target areas without a psychoactive response.

Benefits of Topical vs Transdermal Cannabis

Whether you prefer topical vs transdermal cannabis, there are a variety of benefits to be gained from both. Topical cannabis is great for addressing specific pain points in the body due to its topical application and absorption through the skin. Transdermal cannabis, on the other hand, offers users whole-body pain relief due to its ability to pass through the skin’s dermal tissue and enter directly into the bloodstream.

In addition, topical and transdermal cannabis provide many users with an adjustable dose that can be tailored depending on individual needs and preferences as well as amplified bioavailability over other methods of consumption such as ingesting pills or edibles. As more research is conducted, topical and transdermal cannabis products are fast becoming one of the most popular methods for users seeking fast-acting relief from various ailments.

The ease of use is another benefit. Both topical and transdermal cannabis products are simple to use, with no setup or preparation required. This makes them ideal for those who prefer convenience and discretion when medicating.

In general, both topical and transdermal cannabis products offer a safe, effective way of receiving the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids without having to worry about the psychoactive effects associated with smoking or ingesting other forms of cannabis. Whether you’re looking for relief from localized pain or whole-body relief, these two methods can provide users with a unique solution that is tailored to their needs.

Medical cannabis

Comparing and Contrasting Topical vs Transdermal Cannabis

Topical cannabis products are topical applications created from topical or edible oil-based cannabis extracts that are applied externally to the body. These topical formulations involve topical absorption, meaning that their active ingredients penetrate the epidermis and cell membranes and deliver therapeutic effects directly to affected areas.

In contrast, transdermal cannabis products involve absorption into the bloodstream through specialized topical patches, balms, or creams which penetrate deep into the skin and allow the active ingredients to pass directly into the bloodstream where they can be fully assimilated into the body.

This route of application enables cannabinoids to reach beyond topical application sites and offer more far-reaching effects such as pain relief throughout the entire body. Each method of topical versus transdermal cannabis application has its own distinct benefits and drawbacks depending on what therapeutic effects an individual is looking to achieve.

Meanwhile, both topical vs transdermal cannabis avoid the potentially harmful long-term effects of inhaling smoke. While cannabis smoke is much healthier than cigarette smoke due to its lack of tar and other carcinogenic compounds, it is still important to be mindful of the potential risks associated with long-term inhalation. As such, topical and transdermal cannabis applications allow users to achieve their desired therapeutic effects without exposing themselves to any unnecessary harm.

Ultimately, both topical vs transdermal cannabis provide valuable options for individuals seeking localized relief or whole-body relief without having to worry about psychoactive effects.

While there are pros and cons associated with each route of administration, it is important to find the right solution that works best for you in order to maximize your benefits from cannabis. With the wide variety of available products on the market today, finding a product that suits your needs has never been easier.

Which Product to Use for Specific Purposes

When it comes to using topical vs transdermal cannabis products, making the best choice for your specific purposes starts with understanding the differences between these two delivery methods.

Topical cannabis products are applied to the skin and can be particularly helpful for localized issues such as pain or inflammation. Transdermal cannabis products are typically applied to a veinous area such as behind the ear and are designed to be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream for consistent, long-term relief.

Each type of product also offers different formulations, strengths and application methods so it’s important to understand how each product works in order to get the desired effect. It may take some trial and error but consulting with healthcare providers who have experience with cannabinoid therapeutics can provide valuable insights into selecting appropriate options. For example, there may be recommendations based on particular conditions or guidance on managing dosage adjustments over time.

For more on this, check out our webinar on topicals vs transdermals from our Friends of the Farm Lecture Series:

Key Points

Topical and transdermal cannabis products are emerging as an alternative to traditional forms of cannabis consumption. The delivery method for these products involves cannabinoids absorbed through the skin, offering localized relief from symptoms like pain and inflammation, as well as more general physical and mental relaxation benefits. Unlike smoking or ingestion which can take time to be effective, topical and transdermal products have a fast-acting time frame due to their ability to effectively penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream.

Furthermore, neither ingestion nor smoking exposes users to the full active range of cannabinoids that topical and transdermal products can provide.

Transdermal patches commonly consist of multiple components including an adhesive strip or tape, a chosen method of delivering the active ingredients into the body, an absorbent membrane, and a material that both increases consistency in terms of rate of release & protects against environmental exposure which can degrade potency quickly.

Topicals come in various forms such as lotions, salves, balms & creams generally consisting of weed-infused oil like olive or coconut oils combined with beeswax topically applied directly onto trouble spots offering localized relief by targeting particular symptoms for ailments such assore muscles or joint/muscular pain.


Ultimately, topical and transdermal cannabis products offer many benefits over conventional forms of cannabinoid delivery including faster onset times, direct absorption through the skin barrier plus access to more potent combinations with more active cannabinoids making it easier to hit exact effect thresholds desired for specific applications than their non-topically delivered counterparts.

Topical and transdermal cannabis from dispensaries on the Central Coast offer different advantages depending on the purpose for which they are used. In general, topical products are better suited for localized relief while transdermal products provide more generalized relief. Speak with your doctor or a cannabis specialist to determine which type of product is right for you. Thanks for reading!

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