How do Topicals Work?

Conveniently located to serve the areas of Modesto, Merced, Atwater, Fresno and the Central Valley

Topical cannabis-derived products are a way to gain targeted relief from aches and pains. It is an good alternative to smoking, or using cannabis in other forms, because it can be placed in precisely the right location to deal with discomfort quickly and effectively. Cannabidiol (CBD) has long been used as a natural healing remedy. It’s a strong anti-inflammatory that can be used in the treatment of chronic pain, which is hugely beneficial for people dealing with conditions that affect their quality of life. What’s more, it can also be used if you’ve over-exerted yourself at the gym or if you have a troublesome recurring issue with muscle tenderness.

The therapeutic properties of cannabinoids have been known for centuries. Today, topicals are available as balms, salves, patches, and even gel pens, and your options are always expanding. And excitingly, it’s not just CBD getting the topical treatment! Now, indica-dominant, sativa-dominant, and cannabinol (CBN)-dominant products are commonplace at high-end dispensaries, allowing people to choose the ratio that suits their needs best. But how do they work? And what makes them so effective?

Serving Modesto, Fresno, Waterford, and Merced, Medallion Wellness is a provider of premium topicals, flower, pre-rolls, edibles, and more for pickup and delivery. Find the best topical cannabis products and order them online at Central California’s leading cannabis dispensary.  Shop our extensive online menu, or call (888) 354-0139 if you have a specific question. And don’t forget to sign up for specials and promos by filling out our contact form.

About Topicals

Remarkably, the topical use of cannabis dates back over 3500 years to Ancient Egyptian civilization. An ancient manuscript known as the Ebers papyrus details its topical application for inflammation in 1500 BC. (1) Though the Ancient Egyptians could not have known why cannabis was so effective, they knew it worked. And today’s science confirms its therapeutic effects. Data shows a clinically significant reduction in symptoms in adults with chronic pain who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids. (2) Additionally, cannabis-derived medications have been used in the treatment of many other conditions, including sleep disorders, PTSD, epilepsy, and chemotherapy-induced nausea. (1)

Therapeutic Benefits of CBD

CBD is a non-psychoactive, non-intoxicating cannabinoid that makes up 40% of raw cannabis extract. (3) It has a diverse range of therapeutic effects, including the following.

  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Relieves Pain
  • Suppresses Muscle Spasms
  • Supports Healthy Bone Growth
  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial
  • Promotes Sleep
  • Reduces Anxiety
  • Provides Immune Support

One of the most effective ways to treat pain throughout the body is topical application through the skin. And now, there are many ways to do so!

The Science of Topicals

Topicals are medicated liquids of varied viscosities that are applied directly to the area of the body you want to treat. With creams and balms, it’s simply a case of scooping up a suitably dosed amount and massaging it into the skin manually. Other methods include spray and roll-on application, which may need to be spread manually after initial skin contact. Additionally, there are now convenient transdermal patches you can place onto areas of discomfort, leave on the skin, and wait for the effects to be felt. 

The Endocannabinoid System

Discovered relatively recently in the 1990s, the endocannabinoid system is a complex biological network of cells in the human body. Composed of specialized neurons, it transports chemical messengers to maintain homeostasis, the balanced state that keeps us healthy. This system transmits the body’s naturally-produced cannabinoids. Through two receptors, CB1 and CB2, it controls many processes, including:

  • Pain Perception
  • Motor Coordination
  • Motor Activity
  • Immune Response
  • Appetite
  • Memory & Thinking
  • Organ Function (4)

Through the Skin

The skin is a protective but permeable barrier. The epidermis is the outermost layer that contains pores, through which the topical cannabis product permeates to reach local blood vessels and the endocannabinoid system. When cannabis products are used topically CBD, THC and other cannabinoids absorb through the skin, into the bloodstream, and bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system for the desired therapeutic effects.

Talking Ratios

Topicals are formulated at varying concentrations of cannabinoids, depending on their intended use. It’s important to have a good basic understanding of topical ratios if you’re seeking a product for a specific purpose, for example relief from muscle aches. Product labeling shows the ratio of CBD to THC, and it’s generally understood that THC consumed transdermally is non-psychoactive, meaning you won’t get “high” like you do when you smoke. However, when they are combined in therapeutic topicals, they can produce what is known as the Entourage Effect.

What is the Entourage Effect?

In a now famous study, A Tale of Two Cannabinoids, researchers found that the combined effects of multiple cannabinoids, the most prominent of which were THC and CBD, led to more powerful therapeutic effects. (5) Known as the Entourage Effect, this theory states that the full spectrum of cannabinoids used together may be more beneficial to users than CBD alone. In a 2010 study, cancer patients who were given equally ratioed THC and CBD experienced less pain than those given pure CBD. (6) So, if you see topicals with ratios of CBD and THC content, or even topicals with a combination of the “big two” and other cannabinoids like CBN, that’s why!

How Much is Enough?

To ensure you get the most out of your topical cannabis product, and to make sure you don’t use more than the recommended amount at once, it’s important to read the directions on the product label. Ratios and concentrations may vary greatly from product to product, so don’t skip checking the directions for use if you’re applying a product for the first time. There may also be product-specific guidance on how to massage the topical into your skin, and for how long. In some cases, there might be a novel application method, such as the increasingly popular gel pen range. These allow for accurate dosing and guarantee you’ll get the best longevity from your topical!

Topicals at Medallion Wellness

Balms, Salves, & Creams

CBD and THC-rich balms, salves, and creams can feel rich and luxurious as well as having therapeutic benefits. Incorporate into your skin care regimen, or apply on-the-go with our portable topical products.

Transdermal Patches

For super convenient, long-lasting relief, try a transdermal patch, available in high THC, high CBN, or equally ratioed THC, CBD, and CBN formulations.

Gel Pens

For targeted, fast-acting pain relief and accurate dosage, gel pens are incredibly straightforward to use. Mary’s patented gel pens are the most unique way to get the most out of your topical!

Please Note: Full location-specific topical selections are available online. Not all topical products are available at every location. Please check our location-specific menus to ensure the product you want is in stock.

Cost of Topicals in Modesto, CA

Place your order online for your favorite topicals and other premium quality cannabis products for delivery with Medallion Wellness! Delivery hours are 8AM-9PM, 7 days a week! Delivery fee minimums depend on your location. If you’d rather call in your order for delivery, please contact our Modesto location at (209) 222-3110. Our budtenders are here to help, so if you need a run-down on the most effective topicals for specific ailments, please get in touch with us by calling (888) 354-0139 or come into one of our locations and we’ll be happy to show you in person!

Check out the Medallion Wellness blog for more information about cannabinoids, flower, terpenes, edibles and more! You can also like and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


  1. Crocq MA. History of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids. 2020;22(3):223-228. doi:10.31887/dcns.2020.22.3/mcrocq,Egypt%20in%20about%201500%20bc
  2. National Academies of Sciences E, Division H and M, Practice B on PH and PH, Agenda C on the HE of MAER and R. Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids. National Academies Press (US); 2017. Accessed October 11, 2022. 
  3. Campos AC, Moreira FA, Gomes FV, Del Bel EA, Guimarães FS. Multiple mechanisms involved in the large-spectrum therapeutic potential of cannabidiol in psychiatric disorders. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2012;367(1607):3364-3378. doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0389
  4. Lu HC, Mackie K. An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System. Biological Psychiatry. 2016;79(7):516-525. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.07.028 
  5. Russo E, Guy GW. A tale of two cannabinoids: the therapeutic rationale for combining tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Medical hypotheses. 2006;66(2):234-246. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2005.08.026 
  6. Johnson JR, Burnell-Nugent M, Lossignol D, Ganae-Motan ED, Potts R, Fallon MT. Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients with Intractable Cancer-Related Pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2010;39(2):167-179. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.06.008 
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