If you’re interested in how CBD and THC can help us manage muscle discomfort, you may have stumbled upon the topic of cannabis patches, one of the newest and most unexpected ways to access the benefits of these all-natural medications. If you’ve had lingering questions—how do transdermal patches work? how long does a CBD patch last?—then today’s post should provide all the information you need!

How Do Transdermal Patches Work? An Introduction

“Transdermal” means “entering through the skin,” and the idea of dispensing medications in this way has actually been around a few decades. In 1979, the FDA approved a Scopolamine transdermal patch to fight motion sickness. Not long afterward, the nicotine patch went on to become one of the most popular smoking cessation tools in history.

So, what separates a cannabis pain patch from a nicotine patch? From a delivery standpoint: Not all that much, as it turns out. While a nicotine patch delivers nicotine, a cannabis patch typically contains the cannabinoids THC and CBD: the major “active ingredients” that lend cannabis such effective healing power.

While topicals such as our classic Releaf Balm address site-specific symptoms such as strained muscles, cannabis patches are designed to allow the active cannabinoids to actually enter the bloodstream. This means that a THC transdermal patch can impart a psychoactive high, although its slower rate of absorption means it’s typically less intense than with a cannabis ingestible.

Why use a cannabis transdermal patch? Because they dispense their cannabinoids so slowly—often up to 12 hours or even more—they’re great for tackling chronic symptoms like muscle discomfort. What’s more, the cannabinoids address symptoms in different ways. Studies suggest that THC can fight pain and potentially help reduce normal stress. By comparison, CBD has been linked to a number of benefits such as reduced stress, relief of pain, soothing sore muscles, and potentially helping us get a better night’s rest.