In my years immersed in the cannabis industry my most favorite products to recommend are still topicals. Topical cannabis products include bath bombs and salts, lotions, salves and balms; essentially anything that we can rub onto our skin. There are topical cannabis brands all around the nation because CBD only products are federally legal, but each brand offers their own spin on the pain relieving balms, salves and lotions.

Doc Green’s is a topical company based out of Berkeley and serving medical dispensaries in the California Bay Area and have been in operation for about seven years. Over in Colorado Dixie Elixirs is responsible for putting out a pretty legendary drinkable and edible line along with their healing topicals, the goal for Dixie is to be “the future of cannabis” which is apparent by their branding alone. On a completely opposite playing field Maggie Murphy, owner and founder of Moon Rore Organics utilizes age old traditions of herbology and crystal magic to infuse special order topicals with super charged healing powers.

Each of these topical brands has a slightly different mission but they all have one thing in common; they want to help people understand the immense powers of cannabis in the realm of topical healing

How Do Topicals Work?

Ramona Rubin, avid adventure seeker and co-founder of Doc Greens out of the California Bay Area eloquently informed us that, “Topicals work because we have cannabinoid receptors on lots of different cell types. So there’s CB1 and CB2 receptors … and the cannabinoids as well as endocannabinoids that are our body’s own endogenous neurotransmitter signal” Topical cannabis doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier to the CB1 receptors located there which is why it has no “high” or psychoactive effects involved with application. What topicals can do is interrupt pain signals and break up the inflammation that is causing the pain. These fantastic qualities make topicals a top choice for anyone dealing with chronic pain that can’t be mentally altered while adulting.

Topicals and Headaches

There are various types of headaches that can plague us and they can strike at any time of the day. People suffer from chronic headaches of all kinds and in this post we explored how to relieve or even prevent stress & tension headaches as well as migraines with cannabis topicals.

Stress & Tension Headaches

Personally, I get horrific tension headaches that start at the base of my skull right where it meets my neck. On these days I will always put copious amounts of cannabis topical balm onto my neck and shoulders than plop on the foam roller for what is probably too long. Joe Hodas, PR guru at Dixie Brands and lover of all things Colorado, told us that Dixie has gotten quite a bit of positive feedback regarding their Relaxing Bath Soak in relieving stress and tension headaches since they offer all around topical pain relief, but he was sure to add, “sometimes for women it can actually have a psychoactive effect versus men, just to be cognizant of that compared to other topicals.”

Adding on to that wisdom Rubin let us in on where to apply cannabis topicals to get rid of stress headaches, “On the neck and even on the scalp … try to just get the cream onto the fingertips and then get the fingertips through the hair so that you can just rub it into your scalp as close to the (pain emanating from the) headache as you possibly can.” Maggie Murphy also recommends applying the cannabis lotion to the temples along with CBD strains or even “a heavy Indica loaded in a Pax or other type of vaporizers. The effects are faster than if eaten through an edible.”

Chronic Migraines

While tension headaches are horrible in their own right, migraines tend to be more intense, more painful and just downright worse to deal with. Almost all people that suffer from migraines are aware of the signs that the storm is coming, and if cannabis is used right at these warnings then sometimes we can stop the migraine from even coming on. Dixie Brands edible line includes Synergy mints with a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio that is ideal for headaches and pain. If it is already too late, then topicals should be the go-to and sometimes it takes multiple applications.

In an attempt to beat a migraine with topicals use the same technique Ramona Rubin mentioned above, rubbing the topical directly through the hair into the scalp, except repeat the process three times every 5-10 minutes. Expert advice from Rubin lets us in on how to “chase” a headache when the pain seems to evade our efforts. She stated, “it will take three applications to remove a headache. It’s not because it doesn’t work the first time, it’s because it works so well the first time.” The cannabis topical expert continued that after the first application “the headache runs and the area where you applied the pressure feels better, but everything around there now becomes the focal point of the headache.”

The reason that a migraine can run away from us is because the topical will relax the tissues and blood vessels where our headache is located and improves the circulation of the affected area but the relief causes the areas just outside of the healing reach of the cannabinoids hyper aware of that same constriction. Three healthy doses of balm or lotions applied directly to the scalp where the headache is giving us trouble will really get rid of a headache that has staying power.

Aside from helping to cure a painful headache, topicals can also help with arthritis, muscle and joint pain, cramps, minor burns & sunburns and as Rubin so adorably put it “all the stingy, bitey, waspy things”. They’re a valuable investment to have in the medicine cabinet or first aid kit and I personally don’t go camping or rock climbing without them. Check out these amazing brands for more information about the specific herbs and energies that are infused in their lotions for even more added healing.