Optimum cellular performance. Multi-botanical, multi-extract. A few of the many phrases that are music to our ears here at DOPE when we study topicals.
When lost in a sea of endless topicals, what should you be looking for? DOPE asked the experts and here’s the lowdown.
Leslie Reyes Weddington, a board member and registered nurse with the American Cannabis Nurses Association explained the good, the bad and the ugly. “There are both salves and rubs,” she told DOPE. “A salve helps heal cuts, rashes and sores, while a rub works to mitigate muscle, neuropathic and arthritic pain.” As for what goes into them, Reyes goes on to share, “Regarding ingredients, coconut oil, almond oil and any oil is okay, but some may add polysorbate 80 as a preservative, which is not good.” Topicals made from full cannabis extractions are often viewed as a better alternative to hemp extractions, as they carry more medicinal properties.
Weddington added that ensuring your hemp extractions come from food grade hemp is crucial. Non-food grade hemp may contain contaminants from pesticides. Dr. Louie Yu, chiropractor and leader of orthomolecular medicine added, “Topicals can be very effective for pain control and arthritis-related joint issues. You need to avoid cannabis extractions using heavy chemicals, especially butane.”
Although there are numerous topical companies in the medical marijuana industry, three companies stand out as leaders of producing products that are reliable, healthy, sustainable, chemical-free and natural. The elements patients seek.
Sweet ReLeaf founder Didi Davis refers to her topicals as “intelligent medicine.” She invented them out of necessity—after meeting a seriously injured person. Following the conception of her product, she said it aims at healing the acute need, “even if one is not aware of what that is.”
Those seeking pure, chemical-free pain relief seek out topicals produced in the industry of medical cannabis. The deeply soothing body butter and pain relieving cream produced by Sweet ReLeaf in California are infused with cannabis trichomes—the resin glands where the production of cannabinoids like CBD and THC occur. The team of female testers understands these to be the most potent extracts. The healing occurs through their blend of cannabis strains, allowing for a mixture of cannabinoids and terpenes. “The pure crystals are infused into the coconut oil and then mixed with the other ingredients in their purest form,” Davis described.
Sweet ReLeaf’s organic base ingredients include coconut oil, coconut butter, cacao butter and shea butter, which are then blended with essential oils. These topicals include natural ingredients, unlike mainstream store-bought lotions that are often loaded with unpronounceable chemicals.
Founder and CEO of Cannabis Basics, Ah Warner, described the foundation of her products as, “organic hempseed oil sourced from the seed, not to be confused with CBD.” The products are rich in Omega-6 and -3, “They are the perfect balance of essential fatty acids that humans need for optimum cellular performance,” Warner explained of the ingredients. Her site describes hempseed oil as, “the optimal nutrition and moisture protection for the layers of the skin, our largest organ. It is a polyunsaturated fat, with long molecule chains that enable it to penetrate the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous layers of the skin, and deliver local therapy.”
About four years ago, Warner further studied the science of cannabis, and the benefits of adding cannabinoids and terpenoids to her products. “The products are sophisticated because they are multi-botanical and multi-extract,” Warner added. “We are talking tea tree oil, arnica, Vitamin E, aloe…it’s about the entourage of these elements, not just about the hemp or marijuana.”
What is this entourage effect? Scientists believe the combination of CBD and THC produces results that greatly supersede those of single cannabinoids—another topical featuring this effect is produced by Lord Jones, available in Los Angeles.
Lord Jones founder Robert Rosenheck described the important link between thorough research and developing a topical. “We have studied all the research we can get our hands on out of Israel. We are big believers in science and research. We base our formulations on this research and we brought this research back to the American market.”
Topical companies in the medical marijuana industry are also focusing on the delivery of accurate dosage, while stating exact ingredients. The patient trusts the company, products and ingredients. For example, Lord Jones Pain and Wellness Formulas are available in two forms. The full-spectrum cannabis blends are available in two different dosages—a 5:1 CBD:THC ratio and a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio. The formulas are packaged as one dose per pump body lotions, assuring correct dosage. “Knowing what is in the product, feeling confident of its contents and trusting that it is safe to use is very important to us,” Rosenheck told DOPE. “I wanted to create a brand that stood for transparency, reliability, safety and efficacy.”
Rosenheck discovered the importance of topicals and their healing affects following the relief of an ankle injury he sustained. An instant believer, he set out to establish Lord Jones. “When someone tells me they don’t believe in the healing benefits of marijuana or its medical benefit, I don’t tell them to try an edible, I tell them to try a topical,” Rosenheck added. “Now we have an incredible health and wellness opportunity to help others.”