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Targeted relief and wellness comes in a jar. THC lotion and other topicals are a favorite among skincare enthusiasts, grandmas with sore hands, and gym aficionados who love to feel the burn. Sink into the world of cannabis self-care with a THC lotion. Join us on a journey to learn how these lotions and other cannabis topicals work.



Text written in white and turquoise on a black background states: "WHAT'S IN A THC TOPICAL?". A list of ingredients follows stating: "Cannabinoids, Terpenes, Carrier oils, Hydrating ingredients". The list uses turquoise stars as bullet points.



What are cannabis topicals?

Cannabis topicals refer to products like gels, balms, and lotions infused with cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD). These products are applied topically, meaning you put them directly onto your skin.

Unlike other methods of cannabis consumption that involve lighting a joint or eating an edible, cannabis topicals are non-intoxicating when used as directed. That means you won’t feel the heady effects of THC — or the heady effects of any cannabinoid in your product.


THC topicals vs. CBD topicals

Two prominent players take the stage in the realm of cannabis-infused topicals: THC and CBD. Some studies have shown that high-CBD topicals are ideal for newbies seeking mild relief. In contrast, high-THC topicals can effectively manage mild to moderate soreness and discomfort. Many topical cannabis users find that products containing equal amounts of THC and CBD are great for pain relief. Either option is a welcome addition to your next massage.


What does THC lotion do?

THC topicals work by interacting with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is present throughout your body from head to toe, including in every inch of skin. When you apply an infused topical, the cannabinoids it contains immediately get to work influencing the ECS receptors in your skin. This has a “domino effect,” influencing how your body feels and how your skin looks.


Types of THC topicals

No spa night at home is complete without a THC topical to help you unwind. From soothing balms to revitalizing creams, the choice is yours. The options you may find on a dispensary menu include:


Infused lotions and creams: Topical lotions and creams are designed for easy application and leave your skin feeling silky-smooth.

Infused balms and salves: Generally, balms and salves are thicker and offer a higher concentration of ingredients than their lotion counterparts. If you want to take your topical on the go, a balm tin is a great option.

Infused oils: Whether massage oils or serums, infused oils can be applied directly to your skin for relaxation, hydrating your skin, or relieving sore muscles. Don’t get these oils mixed up with tinctures, though — tinctures are meant to take under your tongue and not to put on your skin.

Patches: These adhesive squares are infused with cannabinoids and are applied to your skin for slow, controlled release over time. These are great for long-lasting, discreet applications. You’ll generally find patches in a “transdermal” formula — more on that a bit later in this guide.

Infused bath soaks: Sink back into luxurious warmth and soothing suds with a THC-infused bath soak or bath bomb. They’re often infused with essential oils or terpenes for an added aromatic, body-melting, and mind-soothing effect.

Infused roll-ons: Roll-on products are easy to apply and sometimes infused with other soothing ingredients like aloe or menthol. These are great for on-the-go relief or muscle tension reduction.


How to use a THC topical

To use a THC topical effectively, begin with clean, dry skin where you’d like to apply your product. It’s a good idea to perform a spot test first to ensure your skin is happy with your chosen product. Put a small amount of product in an inconspicuous spot and wait a few minutes to see how you feel and how your skin looks. If all is good to go, it’s time to fully indulge. Gently massage the appropriate amount into your skin until the product’s fully absorbed. Check the package of your topical to get more information about serving sizes.

Remember to wash your hands after applying your topical. Avoid contact with your eyes or any cuts that may be present on your skin. Wait anywhere between 15 minutes and 1 hour to feel the effects of your topical. And if you need more, it’s OK to apply a bit more.


What’s in a THC topical?

THC topicals typically contain a combination of ingredients that soothe and hydrate your skin and muscles. These ingredients can vary depending on the manufacturer, the specific product, and its intended use. Here’s an overview of what you might find in a THC topical:

Cannabinoids: The primary active compound found in a THC topical is, of course, THC. Known for its potential anti-inflammatory properties, THC topicals are great for these purposes.

Terpenes: Your products smell like a fresh lemon, a lavender field, or a bundle of mint leaves because of terpenes. These aromatic compounds elevate your experience by adding aromas, and in many cases, relaxing benefits to your THC topical. Common terpenes in THC topical include the fruity myrcene, citrus-y limonene, and floral linalool, which may enhance calming properties.

Carrier oils: THC and other cannabinoids are fat-soluble, so carrier oils must be used to facilitate their absorption into your skin. Common carrier oils in THC topicals include coconut oil, jojoba oil, and hemp seed oil.

Hydrating ingredients: Surround yourself in softness with THC lotion ingredients designed to hydrate your skin. This can include ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, and beeswax.


The top questions we get about THC topicals

Whether you’re new to THC topicals or looking to deepen your understanding, these are some of the most frequently asked questions about THC topicals.

What’s the difference between a regular topical and a transdermal topical?

A typical topical does not enter your bloodstream, but a transdermal topical does enter your bloodstream. You’ll feel the effects of a transdermal topical throughout your body. This means that there’s a chance you may feel the heady effects of THC when you apply a transdermal topical. Try these products in smaller amounts and in a safe environment until you know how your body reacts to them.

How long does topical THC last in your system?

Topical THC applications are designed for localized relief and, therefore, don’t enter your system at all. For this reason, topical THC does not cause intoxication. Unlike ingested or inhaled THC, the effects of THC topicals also tend to be temporary and limited to the area where the product was applied.


How long do topicals take to work?

You can expect to feel the effects of your topical within half an hour of applying it.

Will topical THC show on a test?

Topical THC applications like creams and balms are unlikely to trigger positive results on most standard drug tests. This is because topical products interact with cannabinoid receptors in the skin and do not enter the bloodstream. Use your best judgment before deciding if THC topicals are the right choice for you.

Do cannabis topical creams get you high?

Topical THC creams and balms do not give you a “high.” While THC does interact with cannabinoid receptors in our skin to provide therapeutic benefits, the compound does not enter your bloodstream to produce the sensations typically associated with THC. The only exception would be transdermal products, which can enter your bloodstream. Always be sure to check the product label to confirm if it’s a transdermal product before use.

What is topical THC good for?

THC topicals offer a valuable option for those seeking targeted relief or just want a soothing way to quietly unwind. These products have been used to address issues like joint pain, inflammation, and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Athletes and those leading active lifestyles often use THC topicals to soothe muscle tension and aid post-workout recovery.

As with any cannabis product, individual responses can vary, so it’s best to start with a small amount and adjust based on your needs and reactions.

What’s the difference between a THC topical and a CBD topical?

In principle, THC topicals and CBD topicals are the same. CBD products, however, primarily contain CBD. They may contain other cannabinoids, depending.

Why does THC lotion work?

Your skin is home to many endocannabinoid receptors, just like the ones in your brain, immune system, nervous system, and other places throughout your body. And just like the THC you inhale or eat, the THC applied to your skin interacts with these receptors and causes its effects. Read our guide to how the endocannabinoid system works.

What are the side effects of THC lotion?

Generally, you shouldn’t expect any side effects when trying THC lotion, as you won’t feel “high” when you use these products. It’s always a good idea, however, to read the product’s ingredients and ensure you’re not allergic to any of its other ingredients.

In the mood for something else?

If you prefer to send your head into the clouds, another type of cannabis product may be right for you. Try an inhaled or ingestible product from The Travel Agency, like:


Unplugging with THC lotion and topicals from USQTA

You don’t have to travel far to find THC lotion. The Travel Agency offers cannabis-infused topicals, your getaway to a new and more relaxing space. You’ll find our Union Square location right around the corner from the 4/5/6 and N/Q/R/W lines, and our Downtown Brooklyn location down the block from Barclays Center. Or skip the line altogether and enjoy cannabis from the comfort of your couch with our delivery service. Peruse our menu and place an order for pickup or delivery, seven days a week.



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