If you’ve ever applied a medicated patch, salve or body butter to your skin, you’ve already experienced how transdermals work. Now imagine that effect with the added benefits of THC and CBD and the type of relief one may feel when using these delivery methods. 

One thing to note is the difference between transdermals and topicals. While both are applied to the skin, transdermal products such as patches, go deeper than topicals (such as salve and body butter) and are designed to penetrate through the skin layer and exert their effects on deeper or more distant tissues. 

In this blog post, we’re going to discuss how you can use transdermals – products that allow you to target specific body areas and get symptom relief almost immediately.

Vaporization: What you need to know


Take, for example, this story reported in Weedmaps about the former mother-in-law of Jeremy Riggle, the chief operating scientist at Mary’s Brands, which includes Mary’s Nutritionals, Mary’s Medicinals and Mary’s Whole Pet. He said that several years ago she’d broken her ankle and after trying everything to relieve the debilitating pain, she scheduled ankle-replacement surgery as a last resort. Before the surgery, Riggle persuaded her to try a Mary’s Nutritional Elite Transdermal Patch. The outcome? The surgery was canceled and her anti-cannabis stance changed to talking nonstop about the patches as they changed her life.

These types of patches are not new; many people are familiar with nicotine patches and the pharmaceutical industry has been using them for years for various treatments. This delivery method for cannabis is easy and straightforward – the patch is simply applied to the skin and the CBD and THC seeps into the bloodstream.

There’s a slower, prolonged delivery with a patch, which allows the endocannabinoid system to function optimally rather than getting a high dose right away that forces the body to metabolize quickly. Patch wearers also bypass any side effects of smoking and vaping and the ill-effects on the lungs. Transdermal patches also offer a key benefit over consuming tinctures, edibles or sublingual sprays, strips or drops, says Weedmaps. “Consuming cannabis orally is what’s known in pharmacology as ‘first-pass metabolism.’ That means the active ingredient passes through your digestive system and then your liver before it reaches its intended destination. As a result of that first pass, potency is greatly reduced. Transdermal patches sidestep that dilution.”

Sublinguals: What you need to know

Salve and Body Butter

Similar to patches, salves and body butter can target a specific area of tension, pain and inflammation when applied to the skin. Simply, put the product on your troubled part of your body and the ointment will seep directly into your skin and muscles within a matter of minutes. Reapply as necessary. Leafly reported that THC is a painkiller and also has strong anti-itch components, which is useful in a topical, while CBD is great for addressing inflammation in the skin. Used together, the entourage effect can increase potency depending on your choice of product and its ingredients.

Onset And Ease of Use

When using transdermals, it’s as simple as applying your product directly to the skin. Typically the onset will be 15 minutes, whether you are using a patch or topical.


Many patches will last for a certain amount of time – some will work for up to 24 hours. Be sure to check the product’s label before you purchase and start using. Talk with your member liaison if you have any questions or concerns. For salves and body butter, the lasting effect can be two to four hours. Apply the topical on the affected area and reapply as needed.

Potency and Psychoactive Effect

Transdermals are not typically psychoactive and should not be consumed orally. Using patches as this form of ingestion method allows for the cannabis to go directly into the bloodstream so the individual reaps the benefits of the medicine but will not feel the euphoric effect. One exception, a patch high in THC may induce a buzz, especially for new cannabis users, so keep that in mind and remember to start low and go slow. Using a topical won’t have a psychoactive effect as it remains at the skin and muscle level.

Symptom Relief

Patches, salves and body butter may help with chronic muscle pain, arthritis, and inflammation. Patches may also help with anxiety and insomnia.

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