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Everything You Need To Know About Transdermal CBD Patches

transdermal cbd patches
Written by Steven Bridge

Medicating with transdermal CBD patches isn’t a complete new concept. Transdermal patches were invented and brought to market back in 1979 and has proved itself to be an effective and efficient way to take various medications and compounds.

The first transdermal patch to be approved by the FDA and come to market was called Scopolamine. This patch was used to manage motion sickness suffered by some people when traveling long distances and was successful back in the day. Fast forward to 1991 and Nicorette transdermal nicotine patches were all the rage. These patches helped thousands of tobacco smokers to kick the habit by replacing the nicotine from cigarettes with nicotine from a patch.

Other patches followed, but none were as famous as the smoking cessation ones. Transdermal patches are a great way to get certain compounds or medications into the system. That’s why pharmaceutical companies make transdermal patches of the opioid variety to help people with chronic pain. It was only a matter of time before cannabis (medical and other) were put into transdermal patches, and they are proving themselves to be highly effective.

Transdermal CBD Patches

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 compounds found in cannabis and hemp. CBD patches contain various concentrations of CBD, all contained inside a band-aid-style plaster which is stuck on the skin (usually in a discreet place to avoid questions). Many people use CBD patches to treat chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and insomnia. For some people, CBD patches are a “miracle” cure, and that’s often down to their slow-release mechanism. It’s recommended to place CBD patches on the ankle, arm or somewhere where veins are visible. The heat from the body activates the patches and sends CBD into the bloodstream via the veins. 

How Transdermal Patches Work

transdermal cbd patches

CBD Patches use body heat to activate and spread the medication throughout the body

Firstly, keep in mind that CBD patches won’t get you high or stoned but can leave you feeling relaxed and calm, and in many cases pain-free and ready for a good night’s sleep. When a specially-formulated transdermal patch is applied to the skin, a concentration gradient is essentially set up to allow the CBD to naturally spread out in the immediate area where it’s placed.

The heat from the body causes the active ingredients to permeate into the bloodstream via the capillaries on the skin, offering ongoing relief for many hours. Another reason why some people favor the transdermal delivery of medication is that it bypasses the lungs, liver, and stomach. That means you get much more of the medicinal value of the CBD as it has a more direct route where it counts the most.

Different Types of Transdermal Patches

There are five different types of transdermal patches, although the two main types are known as ‘matrix’ and ‘reservoir.’

  • Single-layer Drug-in-Adhesive – With this patch, the medication is also contained inside the adhesive layer, which makes contact with the skin. This patch releases the medicine from that adhesive layer and from the patch itself, making it an excellent choice for some. (although not necessarily for CBD.)
  • Multi-layer Drug-in-Adhesive – This is similar to the one above, although it differs in that it adds another layer of drug-in-adhesive; usually separated by a membrane. One layer offers immediate release, and the next layer provides slow-controlled release over many hours. 
  • Reservoir System – Reservoir transdermal patches have a separate drug layer. This is contained inside a liquid compartment with a medical solution or suspension which sits behind the adhesive layer. The advantage of this patch and the reason it’s often used to formulate CBD patches is because of the rate-controlling membrane inside. This means the relief comes slowly and is maintained for a long time.
  • Matrix System – The matrix system has a layer of a semisolid matrix containing a drug solution or suspension. The sticky part of this patch surrounds the layer where the CBD is and partially overlays it. The Matrix system is also prevalent for CBD patches as it offers the ideal slow-release of the compound.
  • Vapour Patch – The so-called ‘vapour patch’ differs from the others as the adhesive part of the patch also releases vapor. These patches can release essential oils for up to 6 hours and are often used for sinus and congestion issues. Some vapour patches on the market also claim to improve the quality of sleep.

Advantages of Transdermal CBD Patches

There are several benefits to using transdermal patches. They are also an increasingly popular way for those wanting to take CBD as they’re simple to use, effective and convenient. 

  • transdermal cbd patches

    CBD patches are a discreet way to medicate for multiple hours

    Discreet – Due to the various stigmas surrounding cannabis and even CBD, many people want to take their medication discreetly. When it comes to being discreet when taking CBD, patches are a cut above the rest and can even be hidden (by clothes.) 

  • Slow-Release – One of the main reasons people choose transdermal CBD patches is down to the slow-release mechanism they offer. CBD patches usually last between 4-6 hours, but the effects can stay in the system for some time after that.
  • Targeted Medication – Another great thing about transdermal patches is that they can be formulated to treat various specific medical conditions. For example, some CBD patches contain only 100% pure CBD, while others contain other similar cannabinoids and/or terpenes.
  • Long-Lasting – Many CBD oils, isolates, and vape juices hit hard and fast but don’t last long. Another reason why people choose transdermal patches is that they are long-lasting and offer a sustained and consistent release of CBD.

Transdermal CBD Patches Treat Many Conditions

CBD is known to treat a variety of medical conditions; both physical and mental. While clinical trials on humans are still sadly lacking due to decades of cannabis prohibition, studies on mice and other animals have shown this compound to have some interesting interactions with the human body. CBD has been shown to be effective in the treatment of conditions such as:

This list is only partial as people use CBD for a wide variety of different ailments and conditions. The slow-release transdermal patch option is best for insomnia, pain, and inflammation. People suffering from anxiety or panic attacks will usually favor CBD oil taken sublingually or inside vape juice as the effects come on almost immediately.

CBD Patches are Efficient and Effective

  • When CBD is taken via the stomach, sublingually, or inside vape juice, it needs to travel a treacherous path. The stomach and lungs are excellent at preventing unwanted chemicals and substances from entering the bloodstream. That’s why only a percentage of the CBD taken will enter into the system, and it can take up to three hours for that to happen. When CBD is taken transdermally, it enters directly into the bloodstream through the skin. 
  • CBD patches work effectively and efficiently to get the active compound into your system fast. And if you don’t like how you’re feeling or want a break from the medication, it’s as easy as peeling off the patch (which can be reapplied later.) 
  • Another critical factor is dosing when it comes to CBD. When taking CBD oil, vape juice or edibles, it’s almost to get the dose precisely right due to a myriad of factors. With CBD patches, you get an accurate dose of the CBD concentration you’ve chosen with no room for deviation. 
  • CBD patches are also legal in many states and across the world and can be purchased online. If your local cannabis dispensary doesn’t sell them, you’re bound to find some great products online, and there’s no need to worry about shipping, even across state lines (in most cases.)

Best Strains For CBD Patches

When buying CBD patches, you need to do your homework and make sure you’re purchasing the right product for your needs. The first thing you’ll want to do is confirm that the CBD patches that interest you don’t contain THC. If you end up sticking the THC variety to your skin, you’ll likely be getting very high.

transdermal cbd patches

Make sure to check what strain extract is used in the CBD patch of your choosing

Trace amounts of THC (up to around 0.8%) are acceptable as long as you aren’t having a drug test anytime soon; however, THC at those levels will have no effect. Secondly, always ensure you’re buying good quality CBD, which is organic and contains no additives or nasty chemicals.

Here are three of the most common CBD cannabis strains used in the production of CBD patches:

  • Charlotte’s Web – This world-renowned strain was named after Charlotte Figi, a little girl suffering from a rare form of epilepsy who used CBD successfully to treat her seizures. This strain contains up to 20% CBD and almost no THC. Charlotte’s Web is often used in the production of CBD oils specifically for this reason.
  • Harle-Tsu – This is a strain for people wanting potent and sustained relief from pain but without the high. There are some CBD patches on the market made with Harle-Tsu for this reason. This is an Indica-dominant hybrid strain which is also used for insomnia. With up to 22% of CBD, this is a natural choice for many CBD patches.
  • Harlequin – Perhaps the second most famous CBD variety of cannabis, Harlequin is Sativa-dominant and contains around 10-15% CBD. You need to be careful as some Harlequin varieties contain THC, but the strain used to produce CBD patches will always contain less than a percent of THC.

Popular CBD Patch Brands

Just to be clear, this is not a promotional article nor a marketing piece. However, we wanted to draw to your attention three of the most popular and best-reviewed CBD patches available online to give you some direction.

  • CBD+: Nano 101 CBD Patches – Nano 101 CBD patches from CBD+ contain 120mg of CBD each. All of their CBD comes backed by third-party lab results confirming their product is organic and pesticide-free. A single Nano 101 patch provides up to 14 hours relief with a slow-release and consistent CBD delivery. People use these patches to treat insomnia, chronic pain, and to reduce inflammation.
  • Upstate Elevator Company: Transdermal CBD Patch – This company has a solid reputation within the CBD industry. They produce and sell a wide range of CBD products but their 100 mg Transdermal CBD Patch is one of their most popular items. This patch uses “freeze-dried nano-encapsulation technology” according to their website, and they claim this creates a “delivery system that amplifies the potency of the CBD compound for continual relief of up to 72 hours.” They do have some great online reviews, but that lofty claim does need to be substantiated.
  • Trio by Surrender Solutions: Full Spectrum Hemp Patches – Trio claims these patches are special as they offer special ‘time-release technology’ allowing 100mg of finest hemp extract to be absorbed into the body over ten hours. This patch can be chopped in half for a lower dosage and is 100% natural, organic and vegan. 

Are Transdermal CBD Patches the Right Choice for You?

It all depends on what you’re using it for is the short answer. CBD patches are great for novices and those wanting to dip their toes into the wonderful world of CBD. On the other hand, the CBD patches on the market containing higher doses of CBD could be a potential issue for some people. It’s not that CBD patches have any nasty side effects associated with them. The issue is more to do with the fact they’re so easy to use and inconspicuous that some folks forget they’re even wearing them and even apply two by mistake. As long as you know what you’re doing when it comes to basic CBD dosing,

Transdermal CBD patches are the perfect choice for people who want minimum hassle but maximum effect. CBD patches are also recommended for those who are interested in a more slow-release delivery system than an instant one. Especially when it comes to pain and insomnia, CBD patches have helped tens of thousands of people to overcome their symptoms or, at the very least, to manage them better. Always make sure you do your due diligence and purchase CBD patches from a reputable brand, ensuring the product is organic, additive-free, and tested by an independent third-party lab. 

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1 Comment

  • Transdermal patches for CBD as a food supplement are unlawful in the UK and EU as they are considered a medical device. Only a licensed medicine may be delivered by a transdermal patch.

About the author

Steven Bridge

Having been a cannabis and CBD aficionado for many years, Steven spends much of his time opposite a shiny MacBook, researching, exploring, understanding and creating interesting reading for people interested in knowing more about CBD, Vaping, Cannabis Strains and Delivery Methods, and just about anything related to magical green herbs that help people with anything from sleepless nights to pain.