On The Cutting Edge of Cannabis: Transdermal Patches

If newfangled cannabis products like concentrates, edibles, and extracts already make your head spin, get ready for transdermal patches. They’re a whole new way to get the gentle, long-lasting and effective relief of cannabis medicine: no smoking, vaping, drops or measuring required!

You may already be familiar with topicals. They’re the class of cannabis-infused balms, salves, oils, and liniments that apply the cannabis plant’s anti-inflammatory and other healing properties to sore and aching muscles and skin. Transdermal patches are similar, but there are some important differences to be aware of. We’ll explain them in detail, and suggest some instances in which you might want to try transdermal patches and others in which you might want to stick with topicals. 

Transdermal Patches: How They Work

While cannabis topicals are designed to apply the cannabis plant’s “active ingredients”—the dozens of cannabinoids and terpenes that work in concert on our bodies and minds—directly to the site of aches and pains, transdermal patches use the same approach for a very different result.

Transdermal Patches on skin

While transdermal patches are applied directly to the skin just like topicals, they’re typically designed to allow specific cannabinoids to pass through the skin and from there into the bloodstream. By comparison, the active ingredients in topicals don’t typically reach the bloodstream.

One useful way to think about transdermal patches vs topicals is that while topicals deliver cannabis medicine directly where they’re applied through your skin, transdermal patches deliver cannabis medicine to your entire body through your skin. 

Transdermal Patches: What You Need to Know

Because transdermal patches allow cannabis medicine to reach the bloodstream, products containing the cannabinoid THC will be psychoactive (meaning they will make you feel “high”).

Transdermal Patches examples
Source: Manna Molecular

That said, many users report that the nature of this psychoactivity is different from that experienced with smoked or vaped cannabis, and especially from the often stronger psychoactivity associated cannabis-infused edibles. Think of the effect of transdermal patches as a gentle, time-release approach to cannabis medicine and you’ll begin to get the idea. 

There are other distinctions between transdermal patches and other administration methods. For one thing, the patches typically deliver a very specific cannabinoid or combination of cannabinoids, not the “full-spectrum” we receive through many other approaches. Nor do they deliver terpenes, the non-psychoactive compounds that give strains of cannabis (and many other natural substances) their characteristic aromas and flavors. 

Transdermal Patches: Targeted Medicine for Specific Results

While there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that terpenes are medically useful, the fact that transdermal patches deliver only carefully targeted cannabinoids is deliberate. It allows manufacturers to design patches with very specific outcomes and goals in mind. Remedy Columbia currently stocks transdermal patches made to fight muscle spasms, insomnia, inflammation, and a host of other conditions. 

Transdermal Patch package
Source: Leafly

In addition to patches containing CBD, THC and a blend of the two, we’re excited to be carrying products containing CBN. This cannabinoid is only now stepping into the spotlight, but its demonstrated effects include mild sedation, pain relief, and anti-inflammatory action. It’s likely you’ll hear a lot more about this cannabinoid in the months and years to come.

We’d love to tell you more about transdermal patches and the specific ways they might help you find relief from symptoms and chronic conditions. Stop by our dispensary or drop us a line; we’d love to help!