Topicals are a hot topic these days. Unfortunately, the cannabis-infused creams, lotions, salves and bath products won’t be available for legal purchase until new amendments to the Cannabis Act take effect in October 2019. Until then, it’s perfectly legal to turn your favourite cannabis oil into a simple do-it-yourself cream by following the recipe below.
Why use topicals?
Fans of cannabis-infused creams, or topicals, say they are great for soothing painful cramps, relieving localized pain and reducing inflammation.
Currently, Health Canada does not permit the sale of cannabis creams, although some licensed producers (LPs) sell pre-made creams that can be mixed with their oils for legal home use.
Will topicals get me high?
In most cases, even if a topical contains THC, it’s unlikely to induce the intoxicating effects you’d expect from swallowing or inhaling an equivalent amount. This is because the cannabinoids can’t breach the bloodstream through the skin. (It’s worth noting that some transdermal patches can deliver cannabinoids into the bloodstream and induce intoxicating effects, but these products are not yet legally available in Canada).
What symptoms do topicals treat?
Anecdotally, topicals are useful for localized pain relief, soreness, inflammation and more. Recent studies indicate they may be useful in treating inflammatory and neuropathic pain, skin allergies, psoriasis, dermatitis, arthritis, mild skin irritations and more. Many people are also using topicals in the form of lubricants for enhanced sexual pleasure.
Recipe for homemade topicals
The simplest topical is the one you already have in your medicine cabinet. Simply take your favourite cannabis oil and apply to it the area that hurts, avoiding the ears, eyes and genital areas . “Apply liberally and massage it in well, like you would any other pain-relieving cream, such as A535,” says Natural Care nurse Karen Newell.
To extend value and save money, some people prefer to mix their cannabis oil with an existing cream, lotion or oil, such as coconut, olive or almond oil. Once mixed, follow the same process as above, applying liberally and massaging well.