This past winter, I seemed to be sick non-stop. As a result, my normal exercise regime was not an option. So now that I have started back up with early morning boot camp and daily hikes, my muscles have been screaming. After my first few days back at it, I can barely walk, feel hobbled and the aching muscles leave me seriously cranky. Could a cannabis topical balm help relieve my tired sore muscles? The answer is, as you may have guessed, ‘Yes’.

What are Cannabis Balms

Cannabis topicals can come as a salve, a cream or even an oil. They are meant to be applied to the skin and provide localized relief for pain. Pain may be from nerves, arthritis, inflammation, and general soreness, among other conditions. The benefit of a topical, to many patients, is that a topical can provide pain relief without creating a sense of being high or stoned.

Cannabis infused balms work by being absorbed through the skin and binding to our CB2 receptors, which are found throughout the body. THC and CBD along with other cannabinoids will have an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect on the body once they come into contact with these receptors. In general, topicals will not get into the blood stream, which is one of the reasons you do not get high. Transdermal patches are another way of medicinal administration and transdermals actually do get into the blood stream, so they are somewhat different to topicals.

My Top 4 Cannabis Topicals

Cannabis salves are said to help with sore muscles, back pain, arthritis and many other aches and pains. I have used different balms to help me with acute lower back pain, sore muscles, tendonitis and bursitis in my hips. Many cannabis topicals on the market today carry some of the same ingredients found within drugstore muscle creams, including eucalyptus, camphor, menthol and others. There are a couple of downsides to using topicals; many smell like cannabis and they can often feel greasy due to their carrier oils. Although there is little to no research done on topicals, anecdotally I have found that people who use cannabis topicals seem to uniformly like or love them.