You may have heard of transdermal patches being used to deliver hormone replacement therapy, birth control, or even to help with smoking cessation, but how about the benefits of cannabis? Cannabis transdermal patches are a popular alternative to smoking medical cannabis or eating cannabis-infused edibles, providing the same medicinal benefits or therapeutic benefits simply by placing a patch on your body.
You could technically classify transdermal cannabis patches as topicals, since they are applied to your skin. But patches are a unique method of delivery that merits its own description. Transdermal cannabis patches are infused patches that deliver a consistent supply of cannabis’ active ingredients. They can be infused with a variety of isolated cannabinoids, such as THC, CBD, and CBN. There are also “split ratio” patches, such as 1:1 CBD:THC. Patients select the patch that addresses their specific problem or provides the desired effects.
Patches generally last for 8-12 hours. This can vary by the person based on their body composition, metabolism, cannabis use, and level of pain.
The patch is applied to any venous area of the skin, making it easy for the patch to deliver the cannabinoids down into the bloodstream. The patch has a carrier substance on it that enables the cannabinoids to transfer more easily from the patch onto the skin and down into the bloodstream. These are called permeation enhancers and their job is to get the transdermal product through the defenses of the epidermis, which is adept at warding off invaders such as toxins. While the patch is on, it can provide pain relief, relaxation, and other benefits throughout the body. Some patches also provide a mood lift through THC, although the effects are usually less intense than when smoking cannabis or eating infused edibles.
Different patches provide different relief. For instance, many people use CBN patches to help with insomnia. CBD patches are effective for reducing inflammation.