Cannabis topicals are a great way to enjoy the benefits of THC and CBD without consuming cannabis. They’re useful for a variety of people because they offer localized relief from minor aches and pains without the heady, psychoactive effects of smoking or ingesting the flower.
Topicals come in a variety of forms. Some are moisturizing lotions made for everyday use while others are balms, salves, liniments, or ointments designed to produce hot or cold sensations alongside their beneficial botanical and cannabis chemistry. Choosing the right cannabis topical is up to you, but here’s a set of best practices for applying your cannabis-infused topical of choice.
1. Determine Where to Apply Your Topical
Before applying your cannabis ointment, consider where your pain is coming from. This might sound like an obvious statement, but what I mean is, “Are you getting a headache from your head or the tension in your neck?” We inadvertently put a lot of stress on our bodies, and finding the “why” of our pain will help define a way to subdue it and, in this case, where to apply the topical.
If you don’t have any specific nagging areas to focus on, try adding some topical relief to these common sore spots (or, better yet, get your significant other to massage them for you):
TemplesNeckElbows, knees, and other jointsWristsSoles of your feet Back of the heel/footShoulders
2. Clean the Area
We come into contact with a whole world of unseen bacteria and contaminants that can adhere to our skin. Before applying a dollop of cannabis-infused lotion/topical to your hands, feet, elbows, etc, give yourself a quick rinse. You don’t have to get in the shower and do the Hokey-Pokey, just grab a moist washcloth or paper towel and scrub the applicable area to remove any unwanted particulates from your skin, then dry the area prior to application.
3. Be Generous and Vigorous
After you’ve sufficiently cleaned and dried the affected area, generously apply your cannabis topical. You don’t need to bathe in it, but doing a second or third application is not uncommon. With every application, vigorously massage and rub the topical into your skin. Do not apply too much pressure as to exacerbate your discomfort, but be firm and don’t be shy about a second pass.
4. Wash Your Hands!
After applying your topical, wash your hands well. Many topicals have touches of citrus, capsaicin (pepper), or mint, and none of those compounds feel very good in a nostril, eye, or butt crack. Just trust me. Wash your darn hands!5. Adjust Your Expectations
Cannabis is not a panacea, but it can be quite helpful. Don’t expect a lifetime of arthritis to suddenly feel like nothing, or for old war wounds to subside entirely. Rather, prepare for subtle, innocuous relief alongside other sensations depending on the concentration of other soothing ingredients in your topical. Just like a heating pad or IcyHot, cannabis topicals don’t necessarily cure our ailments, they simply make them more bearable.