Topical cannabis: low-toxic pain relief without a head-high

Hey folks, I just posted this article on my new cannabis information site  It discusses the safety, efficacy, and benefits of topical cannabis creams, lotions, salves, and oils.  Feel free to click on over and check it out.

Topical cannabisOne of the great benefits of topical cannabis is that patients benefit from low-toxic pain relief without a head high. Cannabis is the least toxic of all pain medications period.

“I feel a physical benefit without any mental side-effects. I don’t feel drugged or impaired in any way, only very happy to have an annoying debilitating symptom disappear!” -Topical cannabis patient

I first learned about the benefits of topical cannabis from several of my patients who are Ultimate fighters who reported reduced recovery time from training and sparring sessions, as well as dramatically faster healing from their epic battles in the ring. I followed these reports up with my own use of topicals to treat my moderate to severe chronic pain that I suffer from due to a devastating LisFranc injury to my foot. I was amazed, after about 20 minutes there was significant pain relief. If you’re an adult in Washington state over the age of 21 you can now legally try it and see for yourself, again without the head-high.

Sore MuscleI then began experimenting with my own personal use of topicals for a long bout I had with kidney stones. Using topical cannabis on dermatomes I was able to manage extremely severe pain both before and after surgery without the use of any opiate medications and without any sedation. Cannabis has been shown to enhance the effectiveness of opiate pain medication; it also reduces the use of opiates by patients for pain, and even reduces opiate withdrawal symptoms. Opiates kill thousands of Americans every year and drug overdose death rates have more than tripled in the U.S. since 1990. This makes cannabis a wonderful, low-toxic option for patients whose pain is not fully controlled by opiates. It is also a wonderful option for patients wishing to reduce or discontinue long-term use of opiate medication for pain.

Jake w Hatch surf photoAfter success with my own severe pain condition, I began using topical cannabis to treat minor pain for my sore muscles from surfing. I am an aging athlete and the topical cannabis helps me recover from strenuous activity even better than when I was ten years younger. I am convinced that my surfing is much better today because of the use of topical cannabis. In Seattle, many surfers and weekend warriors that I know legally use topical cannabis for their sore muscles. I personally use topical cannabis for all types of pain from mild to moderate to severe. I appreciate that there is no head high or sedation and that I am not damaging my stomach, liver or kidneys with over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen or Tylenol.

Pain reliefTopical cannabis enhances circulation and provides patients with wound healing, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and anti-spasmodic benefits. It is also an excellent adjunct to help patients recovering from painful surgery. My patients use topical cannabis to help treat the following conditions listed below. If you are interested in general information about how cannabis can be used to treat any of these conditions, reply in the comment section. I can’t give specific medical advice though will be happy to provide general information.

Neck pain

Migraine headache


Shingles pain

Herpes lesions


Neuropathies including diabetic neuropathy


Skin allergies and diseases of the skin


Menstrual cramps

Intestinal cramps


Insect bites and stings

Poison oak and poison ivy

Crohn’s disease associated cramping

Multiple sclerosis cramps

Wound healing

Tension headache

Back pain

Knee pain

Foot pain

Hand pain

Elbow pain

Opiate withdrawal symptoms

It is always best to get advice from a doctor who is knowledgeable in the area of cannabis therapeutics, as the specifics of how to treat each of these conditions can vary for each individual patient.

IMG_5290-1If you are interested in general information about how cannabis can be used to treat any of these conditions above, reply in the comment section. Again, I cannot give specific medical advice though will be happy to provide general information.

In health,

-Dr. Jake Felice, Naturopathic Physician

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4 Responses to Topical cannabis: low-toxic pain relief without a head-high

  1. Dawn says:

    I was wondering about the use of topical cannabis for osteoarthritis pain. Also, do you know of any physicians in Albuqurque New Mexico with this type of experience.

  2. Erika says:

    Great post, Dr. Felice!

    I just started using cannaoil topically for fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, arthritis and the pain from my degenerating knee. My new massage therapist even has it available for patients who have their medical authorizations. I was skeptical about its efficacy, but it really does ease my pain and inflammation, so I’ve started using it on my husband’s plaque psoriasis lesions as well!

    My question is, have you come across any evidence on why it works topically, or what the ‘active ingredient’ is that makes it work (THC vs. CBD vs. other compounds)? I’ve been taking cannaoil I make from 8% CBD/8% THC bud orally with great results, and primarily using an 8% THC oil I made from much less expensive shake topically. However, I’m considering whether I should focus on the CBD content or the THC content for topical use?

    If you’ve read or heard anything about which compound makes for the most effective topical relief, I’d love to be steered in the right direction. It’s pretty expensive and time consuming to play around with different strains for topical use, you know?

  3. admin says:

    Thanks for your comment Erika. I’ll be blogging more about topical cannabis in another month or two, and will address these questions. Thanks for reading and stay tuned. -Dr. Jake Felice

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