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Peel and Stick: Derma patches offer new option for pain relief

While transdermal patches have been worn for medicinal use since the late 1970s, they have recently been introduced as a means to administer cannabis.  (Getty Images)
While transdermal patches have been worn for medicinal use since the late 1970s, they have recently been introduced as a means to administer cannabis. (Getty Images)
Renee Sande EVERCANNABIS Correspondent
What if a night of solid and relaxing REM sleep or relief from anxiety was as simple to achieve as a two-step process of peel and stick? These benefits are what advocates of transdermal patches offer the cannabis community. While patches have been worn for medicinal use since the late 1970s, they have recently been introduced as a means to administer cannabis. Infused single-dose patches offer 10-20 mg amounts of CBD, THC, CBN or a mixture. These are all specific cannabinoids, or natural compounds in the cannabis plant that provide varying mental and physical effects, from general good feelings to better sleep to reduced inflammation. Patches are believed to be effective because they allow for immediate infusion into the bloodstream via the skin. Smoking, eating or drinking requires the cannabis be metabolized in the lungs, liver or stomach, which all can delay the process and sometimes reduce overall effectiveness. Plus, smoking can include other compounds or ingredients, while patches only have those specified compounds. “The patch is a fairly benign way to administer a drug for someone who may be averse to taking a pill, to vaporizing, to those kinds of things,” said Dr. Noel Palmer, chief scientist of Mary’s Medicinals, which created the first and award-winning Transdermal Cannabis Patch. Mary’s Medical is one of the industry’s most well-known patch developers, with a specialization in plant properties. “It’s more akin to a very, very slow smoke, and that’s with any patch – not just a THC patch. I think the patches offer a very safe way for people who might not want to try cannabis [traditionally], to try it,” Palmer said. Based in Colorado, Mary’s Medicinals also has created a patented transdermal gel pen technology, as well as award-winning topicals. Its products are sold at several Washington cannabis retailers, including Sativa Sisters, Cinder, Lucky Leaf and Toker Friendly. Present Naturals is another cannabis patch brand available in Washington and can be found at The Peaceful Choice in Spokane. Like Mary’s Medicinals, Present Naturals is committed to providing an all-natural product and does not use chemical enhancers, butane or CO2. The Peaceful Choice owner Victoria Robinson recommends Present Naturals’ patches that utilize THCa, a non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant. Robinson said that the combination of a patch plus smoking can enhance pain-relieving effects. “If you’re wearing a patch and then take a hit off a joint, it’s only going to accentuate it,” she said. “For maximum pain relief, a 1-to-1 CBD-to-THC ratio is going to be your best option.” Another bonus of transdermal patches is that the slow release of cannabinoids can provide whole-body relief over 8-12 hours, depending on body composition, metabolism, cannabis use and pain levels. Smoking or eating may have a strong effect at first that wears off quickly. While cannabis patches aren’t considered a viable method for someone looking to get high recreationally, due to the patches’ slow release, they can be considered a great go-to for those who are solely looking for the medicinal effects of cannabis. Take note that even CBD/CBN varieties can include trace amounts of THC, so individuals subject to drug testing should refrain from use to prevent a potential positive test for cannabis, or disclose your use of CBD/CBN patches prior to testing.
Renee Sande has been a freelance writer for 12 years, covering the gamut from real estate to bridal to travel and now cannabis. A Spokane native, Renee has two kids and loves to explore, travel, run, read and write.
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