Americans are inundated with choice in the products they buy. Now that natural products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are today’s hot health trend, you can bet that there is now an overwhelming variety of CBD products to choose from. Would you rather eat or vape your CBD? Or perhaps you prefer to just absorb it passively?
With so many different options, how do you know which one is right for you? The answer depends on your specific health needs, as well as the features that different CBD products offer. To help you decide, let’s discuss what sets CBD patches apart from other delivery methods. We will also review the top 10 best CBD patches available on the market.
How are CBD Patches Different from Other Delivery Methods?
There are several methods for getting CBD into your bloodstream. The most common ways are through ingestion or inhalation. Ingested CBD products are eaten or drunk, then pass through your digestive tract where they are absorbed into your blood by your intestines. Inhaled CBD products are breathed into your lungs, where CBD is quickly absorbed into the many capillaries there. Some CBD products you dissolve or hold under your tongue (sublingual), where they can be quickly absorbed into the blood vessels just under the skin of your mouth.
CBD patches provide a means to slowly release controlled amounts of CBD into your bloodstream through your skin. Since it uses a time release formula, a transdermal patch containing CBD administers it in steady amounts throughout the day. This means you don’t have to remember to keep taking doses, and you don’t have to deal with peaks and lows. The small patches are also discreet, so you can use them anytime, anywhere.
The 10 Best CBD Patches
Now that you know what CBD does and how CBD patches work, how do you know which is the best CBD patch for you? Here is our lowdown on the 10 best CBD patches you can find, based on quality, efficacy, and affordability.
Note: not all products are available in all states. Most cannot be ordered online and must be purchased in person from a dispensary.
Mary’s is a leader in plant-based medicines and vegan health care products. They were the first company to market transdermal CBD products, which revolutionized the field. Their transdermal patch has won several national awards for innovation and quality. The company also sells CBD in a variety of other forms, many of which have also won accolades for excellence.
Pure Ratios developed a new kind of transdermal patch called the reservoir patch. This type of patch holds much more CBD than others and is able to gradually release it over a much longer period of time. Their CBD patches last for 3-4 days, unlike the few hours that most others last. This means that you only need to change out your patch a couple of times a week, rather than once or more per day. They also contain aloe and healthy plant oils, for extra skin-soothing benefits.
The CBD patches sold by Binger Labs are also long-lasting, and can last up to 96 hours (4 days). You can buy them in doses ranging from 30mg to 60mg CBD per patch. Since they contain synthetic CBD instead of CBD extracted from plants, there is absolutely no THC in them, not even trace amounts. All of the CBD they use is manufactured in facilities monitored and certified by the FDA.
Manna Molecular uses 3D printing technology to create its transdermal patches. This state-of-the-art technology was designed by researchers at MIT and can release very precise amounts of CBD. The materials used are all latex-free and hypoallergenic.
These patches currently last between 8 and 12 hours and come in a couple of doses, but the company is working on technology to increase their time-release capacity. Likewise, they currently offer doses between 10mg and 30mg CBD per patch, but are developing their printing technology to create many more dosages in the near future.
Most CBD patches take somewhere between half an hour and an hour to start taking effect. However, the RapidCBD Relief Patch from Isodiol kicks in faster and lasts for up to 12 hours. Each patch also contains lidocaine and menthol, so it soothes and cools at the same time. It’s great for sore muscles, joint and tendon pain, and other deep aches. They come in a dose of 25mg per patch.
The Nano CBD+ patches pack a double punch. Each patch contains 120mg CBD, a higher dose than you can get from many other patches. The patches themselves are designed in a way that increases skin absorption over other products. As a bonus, all hemp that the company uses is grown organically without any pesticides.
The CBD in Present Naturals’ transdermal patch is derived entirely from hemp, meaning that it can be shipped to any state in the country. Present Naturals is dedicated to sustainable production and uses environmentally-friendly methods and ingredients, so their patches are healthy for both you and the planet. They come in 12mg and 25mg doses.
Releaf patches from Papa & Barkley come in various mixes of cannabinoids: full-spectrum oils with different CBD:THC ratios, or pure CBD. The CBD:THC combo patches are available in 1:3, 1:1, or 3:1 ratios, depending on how much psychoactivity you’re looking for. Each patch lasts up to 12 hours and also contains menthol for a cool, fresh feeling.
The Elite Patch by Mary’s Nutritionals contains 10mg of hemp extract. Each patch is latex-free and hypoallergenic, and lasts for 8-12 hours. Conveniently, you can buy hemp patches from them in bulk for a discounted price.
At just 10mg CBD per patch, Mary’s Nutritionals offers one of the lowest doses you can find. This makes them great to try out if you are new to CBD or the patch format.
The transdermal patches made by Synergy Skin Worx last a lengthy 24-36 hours each. They contain either a very low dose of THC or a 1:1 CBD:THC combination. The low-THC patch contains 63mg CBD. All of the cannabis used is farm-grown by the company.
How does CBD Work?
The Endocannabinoid System
The cells in your body use many different molecular systems to communicate with each other and their environment. One of these is called the endocannabinoid system. This system controls many important functions in your body, including:
Some cells, such as the neurons in your brain and nerves, have receptors for a group of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are small organic molecules that can easily circulate through your body until they bind to a cannabinoid receptor on a cell. When they bind to this receptor, it sends a signal through the cells to create a biological response.
Your body produces some cannabinoids of its own, called endocannabinoids. Some plants also produce cannabinoids, known as phytocannabinoids. We can also manufacture synthetic cannabinoids in a lab.
CBD vs THC
There are two main cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana products: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC has psychoactive effects on the human brain and is the reason people get high from marijuana. CBD does not have these psychoactive effects, so you can’t get high from taking just CBD.
Hemp and Cannabis in the United States
Hemp and marijuana both are cultivars of the same species of plant: Cannabis sativa, or the cannabis plant. Legally, a plant is considered hemp if it has a THC content of 0.3% or less based on its dry weight. Marijuana plants grown for recreational purposes have a much higher THC content. Industrial hemp contains a few other natural ingredients with health effects, including vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, healthy fats, terpenes, and trace amounts of cannabinol (CBN).
Legal Status of Hemp and CBD
CBD is regulated somewhat differently from marijuana. In states that have recently legalized recreational marijuana use, starting with Colorado and Washington in 2012, CBD from any source can be purchased. In some states with medical marijuana laws, you can buy CBD products with either a prescription or a recommendation from a doctor.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD can now be obtained in any state from hemp products containing 0.3% THC or less. A few medicinal products containing CBD are also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat specific types of seizures. These can be used anywhere if you have a prescription.
A Note on Hemp Oil
Not all hemp oil is the same. Sometimes it refers to full spectrum oil which is extracted from the whole plant. Other times it refers to hempseed oil, derived from just hemp seeds. For the best health benefits, look for full spectrum CBD oil since only a trace amount of CBD can be found in hemp seeds.
Uses of CBD
Doctors and scientists don’t fully know yet all of the health effects that CBD has. What we do know now, however, is that CBD is effective for epileptic seizures. Its anti-inflammatory properties and neurological effects show considerable promise for pain relief and for managing other conditions.
CBD affects the body’s functions controlled by the endocannabinoid system. Results from early studies show that CBD can help with a number of illnesses and conditions, and can be used for:
- Neuropathic and chronic pain
- Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety
- Psychological disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia
- Childhood epilepsy and seizures, such as Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes
- Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
- Malignant brain tumors
- Opioid withdrawal
Side effects of CBD
CBD is very safe to use, especially when compared to the safety profiles of other drugs used for seizures and other neurological conditions. It does have a few possible side effects, including: