Cannabis Topicals – What Are They?

Posted: December 1, 2016

Guest post by Kristi Etter and Chloe Bouhana

ls_topical-4621Some of the most under-discussed and under-appreciated products in the cannabis industry are cannabis topicals. However, as more states vote to legalize this week, more and more people are going to discover the benefits of these innovative forms of cannabis therapy. Topicals include various types of products like lotions, balms, salves, and oils which are applied to the skin and absorbed directly into the affected area creating localized relief of pain, inflammation, and injury for many, without any “high” effect for the user.

Chloe Bouhana, my friend, and Lead Cannabis Advisor at Lucy Sky Cannabis Boutique in Washington Park, is our resident expert on cannabis topicals. Chloe is currently a student of neuroscience at Metro State University in Denver, and plans to graduate in the fall with a Masters in Clinical Psychology in California. In addition, she has worked in the cannabis industry for more than three years and she is also a patient herself. During a recent class she taught, Chloe provided a few points about topicals:

  • Topicals allow the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC in various formulas) to be absorbed directly into the affected area rather than the whole-body effect that comes from edibles and cannabis flower.
  • Topicals can provide relief with localized pain and inflammation without smoking or consuming edibles.
  • They are non-psychoactive, so they are especially popular among customers and patients that want the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without experiencing the “high”. This is due to the cannabinoids binding just beneath the skin, not in the bloodstream. Human skin has a very low absorption rate for cannabinoids introduced by topical application.

Types of Topicals

Lotions are very common cannabis topicals. Lotions tend to be used more for surface pain, skin irritations, and daily moisturizers. Apothecanna lotions come several different formulas blending various essential oils and extracts depending on the desired outcome.


Apothecanna Extra-Strength Lotion – pain relieving
Contains: Arnica – relieves pain and inflammation
Peppermint – Cooling/anti-inflammatory
Juniper – antiseptic, anti-rheumatic
CBD – anti-inflammatory

**A retired gentleman I know uses Apothecanna Extra-Strength to help relieve chronic pain from Plantar Faciitus.

Apothecanna Everyday – daily care and moisturization
Contains:    Mandarin – antiseptic, antispasmodic
Cedar – anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent
Geranium – antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial
Calendula – analgesic, antibacterial, antiseptic, vulnerary
Sweet Orange – anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, mood-lifting
Cannabis – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory

Salves and balms are similar to lotions in affect, however, they contain carriers that allow the cannabinoids to penetrate deeper into the affected tissue making them more effective for deeper pain and inflammation within muscle, joints, and can even help with nerve pain. Products like Evos Angel Salve can make all the difference for someone suffering from sciatica, or other types of nerve pain. My husband uses the salves to help reduce inflammation in his neck caused by degenerative disc disease. Mary’s Medicinals CBC salve helps on days where weather or changes in temperature cause extra inflammation.

If you are wanting a more intimate experience, cannabinoids are great option as well. As stated earlier, cannabinoids in topicals bind just below the skin’s surface with your endocannabinoid system’s CB2 receptors. These receptors are located all over the body with the majority being in your reproductive system, digestive system, and clustered around the base of your spine where it meets your neck. Women especially, have more CB2 receptors in their genital region, and these receptors are almost solely stimulated by the internal, endocannabinoids. Introducing a new phytocannabinoid (plant-derived) can create a whole new experience, so it’s no wonder why products like Sacred and Evos personal lubricants are a popular item.

The transdermal/topical market of the cannabis industry is also one of the most innovative and rapidly increasing. New products are ever emerging from lotions and oils to bath bombs and personal lubricants. Whether you’re battling a chronic injury, recovering from long hike, or just looking to relax and unwind after all the stress from this year’s Presidential campaign, with all these choices, you’re sure to find just the right products to do the trick. Stop by Lucy Sky Cannabis Boutique today and talk to Chloe or any of other cannabis advisors to find out which products are right for you!