Topicals and tinctures are two words you’re going to start hearing a lot more during your trip to the dispensary. These two products have increased in popularity due to being convenient, discreet and, most importantly, effective.
While flower, concentrates and edibles still produce the greatest revenue across the industry, topicals are gradually gaining steam. According to BDS Analytics, “Sales of topical cannabis products grew rapidly in Colorado, Washington and Oregon during 2016, rising from $14.42 million in 2015 to $26.39 million last year.” That increase in revenue — $12 million — says a lot about where the industry is headed.
If you’re curious about whether these products might work for your everyday aches and pains, here’s a little introduction to both products and why they might be perfect for you.
“Topical” is an umbrella term defining anything from balms, salves, lotions and oils that are absorbed through the skin for localized pain relief: inflammation, muscle soreness, tension, migraines, etc. These products are particularly sought after by patients who would like to treat pain, but do not want the psychoactive effects of cannabis when ingested or inhaled. They offer patients an option that is safe, non-intoxicating and discreet. Topicals work by delivering active cannabinoids through your skin to bind with CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors are found throughout the body and interact with our bodies’ own endocannabinoids–which are natural occurring in humans. The market has expanded immensely, offering consumers anything from specialized anxiety-relieving balms, to intimate lubricants. Oftentimes, topicals are made with cocoa butter and fragrant essential oils such as lavender, frankinscence, and peppermint, creating an aroma-therapeutic, moisturizing and effective medicine.
It should be kept in mind, however, that absorbing THC or CBD through our skin can be a very different experience than ingesting cannabis through inhalatio; if you’re looking for more of a “head change” inhalation or eating cannabinoids may be a better option for you.
Tinctures are another option that are praised for their convenience and effectiveness. Tinctures can be used for a variety of ailments, and may be better than topicals for inducing a “head change,” while also still delivering anti-inflammatory benefits and pain relief. These products were among the very first cannabis-derived medicines to enter the American mainstream in the 19th and pre-prohibition 20th century. They are typically made by extracting cannabinoids with alcohol or glycerin. Topicals are a perfect option for first-time cannabis patients because of their dosing ease. Many products come with a measured dropper, so the person using the medicine is able to see how much medicine they’re ingesting. The medicine is most effectively absorbed sub-lingually (under the tongue); this method allows the medicine to be absorbed into the bloodstream almost immediately. We recommend starting off small (usually 5-10mg of active cannabinoids/dropperful) and going from there, depending on the severity of your ailment. Tinctures have also gained popularity as they are a healthier alternative to smoking, while still having similar effects. Depending on what effects you are seeking, tinctures are available as CBD-only, or with varying ratios of CBD to THC.
Are you interested in learning more about topicals or tinctures? Here at High Mountain Health, we ensure that every patient leaves feeling informed and comfortable with the medicine they purchased. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions you have. — Words by Taylor Haynes