Alternate Ways to Consume 

Instead of smoking cannabis, some people are turning to topical and transdermal products nowadays as they can provide fast-acting relief from pain and inflammation. Many studies show that cannabis topicals are very helpful in treating different skin conditions and a variety of other health issues. But how do cannabis topicals and transdermals differ? Let’s dive in.

Topicals vs. Transdermals

Topical products provide a localized effect, which is why they are most effective when applied directly to the area where someone is experiencing pain or inflammation. These products are often most helpful with surface-level inflammation and pain. Since they don’t penetrate past the dermis (or the top layer of skin), topicals aren’t always the best choice for pain that’s deep in the muscle. However, this also means that cannabis topicals cannot cause any sort of intoxication, regardless of their THC content! Instead of entering the bloodstream, they stay at the surface where they are applied and produce the effects. This works because cannabis receptors are spread throughout the entire body, with a concentration of CB2 receptors located in the outer layer of the skin.

Transdermal products, on the other hand, can move throughout the different layers of your skin and are able to make their way into the bloodstream. As a result, the effects of transdermal cannabis don’t remain local. Instead, the cannabinoids are delivered to the other parts of your body through the bloodstream. For example, if you’re experiencing pain in your foot and apply a cannabis topical, effects might be felt up through part of the leg as well.

Trandermals are typically preferred for pain that occurs in much deeper layers of your body tissues. Transdermal products are also usually non-intoxicating, but if the THC goes inside your bloodstream in sufficient doses, you may experience a mild high. 

Different Forms of Cannabis Topicals and Transdermals

A large number of topical and transdermal products have popped up in the market in the past few years – particularly, CBD-rich options. Some of the most common topical products include oil, salves or balms, gels, lotions, and creams. You’ll also find transdermal patches in some areas that may be more powerful than topicals. Fairwinds, our wellness brand, has multiple award-winning options available! Check out their FLOW products for your topical and transdermal needs.

Why are Topicals Non-Intoxicating?

Topical products such as ointments and lotions are applied directly to the skin. These products are fast-acting and can provide near-instant relief from pain. However, topical products do not have the capability to pass through the layers of skin. Thus, these topicals do not reach the bloodstream. No amount of cannabinoids becomes a part of your blood circulation. No matter how much THC a topical product contains, it won’t cause intoxication. This is helpful for many consumers as it allows people to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without getting euphoric or feeling “high” when using topical cannabis products. 

Final Verdict

The studies and evidence regarding the benefits of cannabis topicals and transdermals are currently very limited, just like all cannabis research. Still, we have heard some incredible positive reviews from Fairwinds customers and patients across the state who have made these products a part of their lives. Nonetheless, the effects of cannabis topicals and transdermals can be felt within minutes, and they’re often far better than many other methods. You can get rid of most kinds of pain quickly by applying any topical or transdermal product directly to the affected area!

Thanks for reading,


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