CBD comes in all shapes and sizes, and as the market continues to grow so do the available options. The most popular forms are usually tinctures, edibles, capsules, oils, or vape but a new form has hit the market: CBD patches.
While not a new way of consuming medicinal products, CBD patches are a unique way to medicate and may prove themselves particularly beneficial to a wide variety of people. CBD patches offer some benefits other CBD consumption methods can’t get close to. With their ease of use, incredible accuracy and effectiveness, CBD patches just may be the next big thing in CBD.
What Are CBD Patches?
CBD patches — also known as transdermal patches — are a new edition to the world of cannabis, but have been around for years in other industries. Many people are familiar with them for their use in fighting tobacco addiction, but they’ve historically been used for a great number of medical purposes. From nicotine patches to birth control, these devices have been a popular way to deliver medication quickly into the bloodstream.
Each patch contains a precisely measured dose of cannabidiol molecules infused in some sort of solution, like a gel or oil. Like other patches, it must also have an added carrier or permeation enhancer to help the contents of the patch pass through the skin and into the blood. While the patch will naturally pass the CBD through the skin due to the high concentration of CBD in the patch versus the low concentration on the skin’s surface, it’s still necessary to have something to ensure the process is thorough and efficient.
How Are CBD Patches Made?
There are currently two different types of CBD patches available on the market. The matrix patch and reservoir patch. While they are similar products, it is important to know the difference between the two since one may be better suited to your needs than the other.
- Matrix Patches: These products usually contain five layers. The first layer peels off and its sole purpose is just to protect the CBD. Then there’s the actual “matrix” layer, which is infused with the CBD molecules. Next is a separating layer, an adhesive layer, and a protective backing layer. The adhesive layer is what’s used to hold the CBD matrix level against the skin, allowing the CBD molecules to move from the patch and into the skin’s capillaries and ultimately, the bloodstream.
- Reservoir Patches: These products have a peel-off layer, an adhesive layer, and a protective backing, but the CBD reservoir’s membrane is permeable and fine-tuned to control the CBD delivery rate. This process makes it easier to control the release of CBD ensuring a steadier and more controlled pace compared to a tapered release that comes from the matrix patch.
How Do They Work?
When a CBD patch is placed on the skin it passes CBD directly into the skin cell cannabinoids via the molecules found in the patch. Human cells are made of lipids, the same as cannabinoids, making it easier for them to diffuse through our own cells and into our blood vessels.
In general, transdermal delivery of any medication can be slow and inefficient because human skin is exceptional at keeping toxins or other unknown substances out. This is why CBD patches need additives like permeation enhancers to help the molecules pass through the skin more effectively. These enhancers come in a variety of forms, ranging from chemical solutions to physical options like microneedles. Terpenes and essentials oils can also be used as natural permeation enhancers, making them nice complements to cannabis products.
Overall the patch makes it easy for CBD and other cannabinoids to be delivered directly into the bloodstream via the skin, where it continues on to the endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid System
It’s important to understand how CBD and other cannabinoids work with the body. Cannabinoids have a very specific effect on the human system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) functions as a way to stabilize the body and return to homeostasis when trauma or danger are introduced. If some sort of disruption is introduced in the body, the ECS will activate and control the situation to make sure all systems it controls remain at an optimal level. This is a fundamental function of human physiology because all the internal systems need to be in a state of equilibrium to work effectively.
There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system:
- Endocannabinoids: Compounds that are produced by the body, but are very similar to the chemical compounds in cannabis.
- Cannabinoid Receptors: Receptors found on the surface of cells throughout the body. Any endocannabinoids or ingested cannabinoids will bind to these receptors. The action of binding allows them to communicate with different systems in the body, helping the ECS maintain an equilibrium in each of the specific systems.
- Enzymes: After endocannabinoids attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors and the ECS has maintained stabilization, enzymes break down the endocannabinoids to prevent overcorrection. Each type of endocannabinoid has a specific enzyme that works at breaking it down effectively.
The endocannabinoid system maintains equilibrium in the immune, digestive, and nervous systems. Because cannabinoids can so easily interact with the ECS they are able to have an effect on any number of issues that may arise within those systems, making them potentially powerful tools to use when battling certain conditions and diseases.
Benefits of CBD Patches
In the never ending quest to find the most effective CBD solution, CBD patches are an extremely efficient cannabinoid delivery method that provides the body with about 50 percent of the applied CBD into the bloodstream. That number is without the added benefits of permeation enhancer, so with their addition that number can be even higher. Typically, when CBD is inhaled or ingested there is less of a guarantee that the molecules will eventually reach the blood vessels. When inhaled the number can get up to 50 percent because the lungs are excellent at absorbing CBD, however that can vary from person to person and there are many people who choose not to smoke or vape for health reasons. Ingesting CBD means it has to pass through the digestive system and many other systems before making its way into the blood.
Because CBD patches don’t need to be delayed by lung absorption or internal processes of the digestive system, the molecules make it quickly into the bloodstream and provide more immediate relief to whatever ails the user. Additionally, these patches can be especially helpful to people who are using CBD for skin disorder issues. The patch will allow the problem to be directly addressed.
Another feature that is often overlooked is how discrete CBD patches can be. Wearing a CBD patch means a person doesn’t need to remember to take their pills or carry around a bottle of capsules or oil in order to dose throughout the day. The patch is easily concealable and also provides steady or tapered dosing throughout the day.
One final benefit of CBD patches is the lack of taste or smell that goes along with them. Many people are turned off by the way CBD smells and tastes. Using a patch eliminates that issue, making it much easier for sensitive people to get the help they need.
How To Use Them
Using a CBD patch is basically as simple as pulling off the protective backing and applying the patch directly to your skin in a comfortable place. The packaging will often tell you how long it is recommended the patch be worn, which can range anywhere from 6-12 hours, with some being worn for more than 90 hours.
There are some general tips for wearing patches, however. First, it’s best to wear the CBD patch on the venous part of the body where it will have better access to blood vessels and capillaries. Most people prefer to wear them on their wrists, ankles, upper arms, shoulders, or the back of the neck.
If you’re using CBD for a targeted issue, like specific pain or inflammation, it’s often better to apply the patch as close to the affected area as possible. No matter where the patch is applied, it’s important to make sure the skin is clean and dry before application. If there is excess dirt or oils on the skin, it can get in the way of the molecular absorption into the skin.
CBD patches are easy to experiment with and may work well for your needs. Give them a try if you’re curious about the potential. If they aren’t for you, there are still plenty of other CBD methods available to you, all with their own benefits. It’s important to try a few different methods to see which works best for your needs and lifestyle.