Light cream colored patch on a pink background

What are Transdermal THC & CBD Patches?

Transdermal THC and CBD patches are becoming more popular as cannabis enthusiasts look for new ways to consume their cannabis. For those who prefer the convenience of set-it-and-forget-it methods, the transdermal cannabis patch could be the perfect answer. In this guide, we’ll share everything we know about these unique patches, including:

  • What is a THC Patch?
  • What is a CBD Patch?
  • How Do THC & CBD Patches Work?
  • How Do You Use Transdermal THC or CBD Patches?
  • Do THC Patches Have Psychoactive Effects?
  • How Are THC Patches Different From THC Topicals?
  • FAQs About THC & CBD Patches

What is a THC Patch?

The THC patch, also called a transdermal cannabis patch, is an innovative way to consume cannabis. You simply apply a patch to an area on your body and allow the cannabinoid, THC, to seep through the skin and into the bloodstream. Many cannabis enthusiasts enjoy THC patches because they can last all day or all night thanks to the slow release of the active cannabinoid or cannabinoids in the patch. It can also be popular among cannabis consumers who prefer a more discrete way to consume their cannabis.

Interested in other discreet ways to enjoy cannabis? Check out our guides to sublingual THC and cannabis tinctures

What is a CBD Patch?

Like a THC patch, a CBD patch simply swaps the active cannabinoid in the transdermal patch to CBD. CBD patches work the same as THC patches, except they don’t provide any psychoactive side effects. 

How Do THC & CBD Patches Work?

THC and CBD patches both work the same way. The active cannabinoid in the patch is combined with a permeation enhancer and carrier. These additives are key to a cannabinoid patch because our skin is so effective at keeping out toxins, bacteria, environmental contaminants and more. In order to pass through the skin, the cannabinoid is paired with the permeation enhancer—to help it sink through the skin—and a carrier—to carry the cannabinoid into the bloodstream. 

How Do You Use Transdermal THC or CBD Patches?

Transdermal patches are popular ways of administering treatments, including birth control, pain relief, and more. Transdermal THC or CBD patches apply the same mechanics. You peel the wax paper from the back of the patch, exposing the adhesive side, similar to how you would open a Band-Aid. Then, stick the patch to a veinous area of the body. Typically, the patch is placed somewhere discreet on the body that would be hidden by clothing, like the shoulder, back of the knee, or even the top of your foot.

Do THC Patches Have Psychoactive Effects?

Kind of. If you’re looking to experience psychoactive effects similar to smoking or vaping, THC patches may disappoint you. This is because, despite the permeation enhancers, transdermal THC still has a tough road from patch to bloodstream. Ultimately, like most cannabis products, the effects of the transdermal THC patch depend largely on you and your endocannabinoid system, tolerance levels, skin thickness—you get the point. If you’re unsure how a THC patch would affect you, or it’s your first time trying a THC patch, make sure you start low and go slow. 

How Are THC Patches Different From THC Topicals?

There is one key difference between a THC transdermal patch and a THC topical—absorption. THC topicals are designed to have a localized effect on the skin and the general area the cannabis topical is applied. THC patches are designed to help cannabinoids transfer through the skin and into the bloodstream. In short, THC patches have cannabinoids that are meant to be absorbed into your circulatory system, while THC topicals are not. 

Answering FAQs About THC & CBD Patches

THC & CBD patches are relatively new products that not many cannabis enthusiasts know about. Because of this, we’re always answering questions about them like these:

What is the best place to put a transdermal THC patch? 
The best place to put a transdermal THC patch is in an area with thinner skin and more veins, such as the wrist, back of the knee, or top of your foot. Of course, you can try other areas and decide if the effects you feel warrant new placement. 

Do CBD patches work?
CBD patches do work in that they facilitate the transdermal transfer of CBD into your bloodstream. Plus, they are said to be as effective as oral CBD. Like THC patches, though, your ability to feel the effects of the CBD patch depend on your body.

How long do THC patches take to work?
Once you apply the THC patch, it typically takes about 15 minutes for the effects to be felt. From there, depending on the potency of the patch, they can last up to 12 hours. Always follow the instructions that come with your THC patch to know how long to keep the patch on.

Purchasing Cannabis Patches

Ready to give a cannabis patch a try? Visit your local dispensary to see if they carry THC patches. Your budtender can show you the products they have available and help you make the right decision for you. 

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.