A lot of people have questions about the new, cannabis-infused creams, muscle rubs, and balms on the market - the foremost being, "does this stuff actually work?" To be fair, rubbing cannabis into your skin does seem like an unnecessarily convoluted way to commence your chill, although some athletes and other swear by them.
Here's a rundown of how these products work. Up to you to decide whether they're worth your hard-earned cash.
1. They work on your body's CB2 receptors
Found throughout the body, CB2 receptors are activated either by the body's naturally-occurring endocannabinoids or by cannabis compounds known as phytocannabinoids (like THC and CBD found in cannabis)
2. They're a different kind of high (if they get you high)
Even when topical cannabis creams contain THC - and not all of them do - don't expect the same, intense high you get from smoking or eating weed. Cannabinoid topicals can't breach the bloodstream - unless you're using a transdermal patches. Those definitely can have psychoactive effects, provided the THC content is, um, high enough.
3. They're versatile
Topicals are recommended for minor/more serious maladies ranging from from bug bites, to sunburn, arthritis and sore muscles.
4. They work faster than other methods
Eating cannabis or taking THC capsules means the medicine has to be processed via the stomach acids, and broken down by digestive enzymes before getting into the bloodstream. Bypassing the stomach and liver means a much greater percentage of the active ingredient goes straight where it's needed. Transdermal methods also have fewer side effects like stomach upset or drowsiness.
5. They're coming soon to stores near you (maybe)
As Business Wire reports, Washington-based Kush Creams won the Best Product award at the Seattle Cannabis Cup in 2013, and other companies such as Colorado's Mary's Medicinals are also expanding their lines of transdermal cannabis preparations - only in legal states of course. Rub it in, why don't you?