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Everything You Need to Know About THC Transdermal Patches

By Danyal Swan September 25, 2021

There are many different ways to get medicinal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) into your system, including smoking, vaping, eating soft chews, and more. But did you know that you can get your daily dosage needs from a THC patch? THC transdermal patches offer a few distinct advantages. For those with chronic pain and other ailments that THC has proven to assist in treating or managing, patches could be an excellent option — or at least an alternative method to have on your radar. This guide will cover everything you should know about this innovative THC delivery method. 

Where Did Transdermal Patches Come From?

The technology of the transdermal patch has been around for more than 40 years. The first prescription medications to get approved for transdermal release by the FDA were for motion sickness and heart problems. Years later, the most well-known patch came into circulation in the early 90s — nicotine patches used to quit or reduce smoking. Other well-known forms of transdermal release that many people are familiar with are fentanyl patches and the various contraceptive patches that are on the market. All of these products share a route of absorption with THC transdermal patches, as well as the commonality of convenience for the user. 

There are two different types of patches, which differ in how the active ingredient is administered:

Matrix Patch

Matrix patches are formulated with the cannabinoids infused into the adhesive of the patch. A reaction occurs when the concentrate is applied to your skin, allowing the THC to be released into the skin.

Reservoir Patches

This name is rather self-explanatory - the cannabinoids and a gel are stored in a reservoir. This cannabinoid/gel mixture is then released steadily in controlled doses; this film design is known as the patch membrane.

Benefits of Using A THC Patch

There are many benefits of using a cannabis patch. Here are just a few of our favorites: 

  1. They are discreet. No need to carry around soft chews, take a smoke break, hold a strong-tasting tincture beneath your tongue for several minutes, or slather yourself with creams. You can just stick on a cannabis patch and go about your day while benefiting from both privacy and relief. 
  2. They are effective. THC transdermal patches get into your bloodstream effectively and efficiently. They also have a controllable dose and can be removed at any time. 
  3. You don’t really get “high.” If avoiding that “high” feeling is a perk for you, cannabis patches could be a perfect treatment for you. That is because the body absorbs the THC much more slowly throughout the day or night, over a longer period of hours. This varies starkly from taking a soft chew or smoking, which creates a noticeable and more immediate sensation, especially depending on the type of marijuana. Opting for a transdermal patch could allow an individual suffering from something such as chronic pain or nausea to go about their day as normally as possible while still reaping the benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol.
  4. They are a great stacking product. Wearing a patch during the day is a great way to manage symptoms without having to think about adding doses. But, when breakthrough symptoms occur, adding a dose of a vape, transdermal gel or oral spray on top of the patch gives your body an extra boost of THC.

What Is THC?

Yes, it may be an obvious question. You likely already have some idea of what THC is and does. Technically speaking, though, it stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is just one of the chemical compounds (called cannabinoids) present in the cannabis plant. The plant itself comes in several different forms, including Sativa, ruderalis, and indica. 

What Does THC Do and What Does It Treat?

Though THC is very well known for creating a feeling of a “high”, and other psychedelic effects, you likely know it has been proven by both quantitative and qualitative research to have incredible medicinal applications. These include but are not limited to — reducing chronic pain (injury, fibromyalgia, generalized chronic pain conditions), reducing inflammation, stimulating appetite and reducing nausea and vomiting (sometimes associated with other medical treatments, like chemotherapy), and aiding in the treatment of mental health conditions such as PTSD and anxiety disorder. 

What Does a THC Patch Look Like?

Reservoir patches store the medication in a reservoir, visible here.

The THC patch looks and feels a lot like a band-aid. It’s thin and has a strong adhesive coating surrounding a layer that is coated with THC. 

Where Do You Wear a THC Patch?

It’s entirely up to the user where to put the patch. However, areas where there is easy access to your veins, such as the underside of your wrist, may help the THC to be absorbed more effectively into the bloodstream. Some patches can be worn in more discreet locations, like underneath clothing. Applying the patch on areas of thicker layers of skin, like the arm or back, will provide more localized pain relief.

How Is the Patch Different From a Topical?

Simply put, THC transdermal patches treat the whole body, while topicals (creams, lotions, oils) only spot-treat a specific area. That is because they only absorb through the first few layers of the skin. Topicals do not make it to the bloodstream, and therefore can’t circulate throughout the entire body. 

Can You Use the Patch at Night?

Yes, the transdermal patch can be used during the nighttime. If symptoms are manageable throughout the day, this is one way some users avoid feeling any of the impacts of THC. Some patches are meant to be worn 72 hours or longer, so if you wear the patch consistently, naturally, you will sleep while wearing this type. 

Are There Side Effects, Even if It Doesn’t Get You High?

Potentially, there are some side effects, but these physical or neurological impacts are not typically disruptive to daily life. You may experience increased hunger and a heightened sense of smell, as well as some other symptoms associated with a marijuana high. However, it’s important to reiterate that these symptoms are typically much more muted and mild because of the slow and steady rate of absorption of a transdermal route in general.

The Marijuana Pain Patch: Transdermals and Pain Management

Chronic pain is one of the most common uses for THC, CBD, and cannabis products in general. If you are looking for a cannabis patch for fibromyalgia or chronic pain, transdermals are a great option. Many people experience more generalized chronic pain or recurring pain from an old injury. A cannabis pain patch is certainly something to speak to a professional about, as it has been proven to help — and keep you feeling fairly normal throughout the duration of use. 

The 72-Hour THC Transdermal Patch From MÜV

MÜV THC Transdermal Patch is like cannabis with an "off" button, allowing patients new to cannabis to ease into their alternative medicine routine.

With all of this in mind, let’s discuss a specific product offered by MÜV as an example of a reputable patch on the market — the 72 Hour THC Transdermal Patch from MÜV. The Transdermal Patch provides a consistent microdose of 0.24 mg THC per hour over 72 hours. It’s ideal for people seeking smoke-free pain relief. Users of the patch are those experiencing chronic pain, muscle spasticity, nausea, and more. It does not frequently result in a stereotypical “high” but typically provides the general euphoric feeling associated with cannabis. It can be worn underneath clothes, so the user is not limited to wearing it in one specific location, such as the underside of the wrist. As it is worn for 72 hours, the user can sleep and shower with it on. It will not lose its adhesive from typical showering over the course of three days. It is one in the line of several MÜV EnCaps™ Transdermal Patches, which utilize our patented EnCaps encapsulated technology

One of the unique features appealing to newcomers of cannabis is that, after removing the  Transdermal Patch, effects subside within 30 minutes, making it cannabis with an “off” button. Patients can re-adhere the Patch to its original plastic packaging and reapply when needed, making it an ideal sleep aid. 

Important Takeaways

  • THC transdermal patches are worn like band-aids on the body and are a discreet, effective way to treat conditions frequently managed with cannabis. 
  • Common conditions addressed with the use of transdermal patches include but are not limited to chronic pain, fibromyalgia, nausea, loss of appetite, and muscle spasticity. 
  • Transdermals are great for people who want to use a full-strength THC product but do not want to feel “high.”
  • Though THC patches do not produce a stereotypical high for most people the way that edibles or smoking do, they do still produce side effects, including hunger and euphoria. The impacts are often more muted and easier to work through, as the release is gradual. 
  • The transdermal route differs from topicals as it goes into the bloodstream. Topicals only “spot-treat” by going into the first several layers of skin. 
  • Patches vary, but many can be worn for several days, placed under clothing, slept in, and even showered in.

Trying THC Transdermal Patches

MÜV Transdermal Patches are available in CBD, 1:1 THC/CBD and THC formulations.

The only way to know if transdermal patches are right for you is to try them. Remember that they are different from other methods of absorbing or ingesting cannabis but may produce similar results. If you are looking for a great patch, check out the MÜV Transdermal 72 Hour THC Patch. We also carry 72 Hour THC/CBD 1:1 Transdermal Patches and 72 Hour CBD Transdermal Patches.

There are many great ways to use cannabis, but for patients seeking smoke-free, steady-release medical cannabis, patches may just be the best route for you! 

Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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